OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 22

Panama Covid-19 update – it was reported yesterday that Panamanians who have completed the complete vaccinationscheme against Covid-19 (i.e. 2 doses) will be granted the digital vaccination certificate of the EU.

Meanwhile, today saw a small rise of 8 in the number of active cases – 2,324; despite the numbers of those in hospital and hospital-hotels (presumably the more seriously affected) all falling. There were 193 new cases and 3 new fatalities reported, with 33 patients in ICU and 156 in other wards.

22 OCTOBER 2021

US: LARGEST-EVER PAYMENT MADE BY CFTC TO WHISTLEBLOWER

On 21 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission had made a $200 million award to a whitleblower whose information helped US and UK regulators investigate manipulation of global interest-rate benchmarks by Deutsche Bank AG.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cftc-issues-its-largest-whistleblower-award-of-nearly-200-million-11634837176

US ISSUED IN EXPORT LICENCES WORTH $100 BILLION TO SUPPLIERS OF HUAWEI AND SMIC

On 21 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Commerce Department issued more than $100 billion worth of export licences for semiconductors and other products to suppliers of Huawei Technologies and another blacklisted Chinese tech company, as a global chip shortage started to bite.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-issues-100-billion-in-export-licenses-to-suppliers-of-huawei-smic-11634869839

THE NEW ICC TRADE FINANCE DIGITAL TRANSACTION RULES

On 20 October, an article from CETINKAYA in Turkey said that the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has published the Uniform Rules for Digital Trade Transactions (URDTT), which constitute the international laws of trade financing practice, and came into force on 1 October. Work on the URDTT began in December 2018 following the realisation that there was a lack of rules for digital transactions. URDTT is a comprehensive set of rules designed to cover all parties of digital commerce transactions.  Its core mandate is to pave the way for commercial transactions in compliance with the UNCITRAL Model Law.

https://www.cetinkaya.com/insights/the-new-icc-digital-transaction-rules

The Rules are available at –

https://2go.iccwbo.org/uniform-rules-for-digital-trade-transactions-urdtt-version-1.html

US: REPORT TO CONGRESS ON EMERGING MILITARY TECHNOLOGIES

On 22 October, USNI News made available a report to the US Congress from the Congressional Research Service which provides an overview of selected emerging military technologies in the US, China, and Russia – including AI-based, biotechnology, directed-energy (laser) weaponry and hypersonic.

https://news.usni.org/2021/10/22/report-to-congress-on-emerging-military-technologies-3

US: NEW RULES GOVERNING EXPORT OF HACKING AND CYBERDEFENCE TOOLS

On 21 October, ZD Net reported on the new US export controls from the Commerce Department designed to stop companies from selling hacking tools to China, Russia and other countries that may use them for nefarious purposes. Companies would be barred from selling some technology to certain countries without a specific licence.

https://www.zdnet.com/article/us-rolls-out-new-rules-governing-export-of-hacking-cyberdefense-tools/

AUSTRALIA DEFENCE EXPORT CONTROLS – RED FLAGS FOR DEFENCE INDUSTRY

On 22 October, Australia Defence Magazine published an article listing a number of  Red Flag checks which it is said will reduce the likelihood of an inadvertent breach of export controls.  It is said that these simple checks are easily applied and should be completed as part of an initial licence or agreement screening programme.

https://www.australiandefence.com.au/news/defence-export-controls-red-flags-for-defence-industry

ARTWORKS SEIZED OR IMPOUNDED BY CUSTOMS AUTHORITIES

On 20 October, as part of an article on the detention of an “artist robot” and its artwork from Egypt, the Guardian detailed other instances of artworks seized or detained by various countries’ authorities in recent years.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/20/egypt-detains-artist-robot-ai-da-before-historic-pyramid-show

2 SOUTH KOREAN COMPANIES TO SUPPLY ENGINES FOR TURKEY’S ALTAY TANK

On 22 October, Defense World reported that the 2 companies had signed contracts to supply engine and transmission mechanisms for the Altay battle tank.  The programme had suffered a setback due to Turkey’s political differences with Germany, where the engines were originally sourced, due to an arms embargo on Turkey, imposed for its involvement in the Syrian Civil War.

https://www.defenseworld.net/news/30650/Two_South_Korean_Companies_to_Supply_Engines_for_Turkey_s_Altay_Tank#.YXKrYfrMKM8

AUSTRALIAN LOBSTER SMUGGLING TO HONG KONG LABELLED A ‘NATIONAL SECURITY RISK’

On 22 October, the Sydney Morning Herald and others reported that Australia’s $80-million-a-month access into the Chinese lobster market may shut after the lobsters were identified as a national security risk by Hong Kong’s new customs chief.  Australia’s monthly exports to Hong Kong have boomed by 2000% since China banned the lobsters from the mainland in October 2020.  Rampant smuggling of Australian rock lobsters into mainland China has now been described as a national security threat, and the new head of customs has vowed to crack down on the trade.

https://www.smh.com.au/world/asia/national-security-risk-australian-lobster-smuggling-rocks-hong-kong-20211022-p592a9.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/22/smuggling-australian-rock-lobsters-into-china-a-national-security-threat-hong-kong-customs-chief-says

INDIA: EXPORTER TRIED TO SMUGGLE IDOL THROUGH BENGALURU AIRPORT

On 22 October, the Times of India reported that a Delhi-based exporter attempted to smuggle to Japan an antique stone statue last year and that he has now been arrested.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bengaluru/exporter-trying-to-smuggle-idol-through-kia-cargo-held/articleshow/87192484.cms

BULGARIA SEIZES OVER 40 KG OF SMUGGLED GOLD ITEMS AT BORDER

On 22 October, the Big News Network reported that Bulgarian customs inspectors have seized 41.6 kg of smuggled gold jewellery at Danube Bridge checkpoint near Vidin at the border with Romania, the largest shipment in 17 years.  It was found in a car with German registration, driven by Bulgarians, and which was traveling from Bulgaria to Germany.

https://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/271549828/bulgaria-seizes-over-40-kg-of-smuggled-gold-items-at-border

MONEYVAL COMMENCES EVALUATION PROCESS OF NORTH MACEDONIA AND ROMANIA

On 19 October, the Council of Europe reported that MONEYVAL has commenced its 5th round mutual evaluation process of North Macedonia and Romania with a high-level exchange.  Training was provided by the MONEYVAL Secretariat, which takes place approximately 1 year in advance of the onsite visit. 

https://www.coe.int/en/web/moneyval/-/moneyval-commences-evaluation-process-of-north-macedonia-and-romania

PROSECUTORS IN DETROIT UNCOVER MASSIVE MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATION BETWEEN US AND DUBAI

On 22 October, the Detroit Free Press reported that federal prosecutors in Detroit have seized about $12 million in cash they allege was part of a massive money laundering operation, called “The Shadow Exchange,” operating between the US and UAE.  It is also alleged that some of the laundered money was used to buy armoured vehicles for an illegal drug trafficking operation based in Michigan.  The shell companies involved in the scheme, mostly located in Dubai in UAE, used fake invoices and other methods to disguise the origins of money.

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/detroit/2021/10/22/feds-detroit-seize-12-m-international-money-laundering/6126386001/

CHINESE TAX AGENCY INVESTIGATING HIGH-PROFILE DEVELOPER

On 22 October, Mail Online reported that the Chinese government has said that it is investigating possible tax evasion by a subsidiary of high-profile real estate developer SOHO China Ltd.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-10120377/Chinese-tax-agency-investigating-high-profile-developer.html

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/business/beijing-tax-authority-probe-soho-china-unit-suspected-tax-evasion-2262471

UK: ICAEW BACKS THE ACCOUNTANCY SECTOR FRAUD CHARTER

On 22 October, Accountancy Magazine reported that the charter which is supported by the accountancy profession, government and law enforcement agencies sets out a set of actions to close in on potential vulnerabilities that fraudsters may exploit.

https://www.accountancytoday.co.uk/2021/10/22/icaew-backs-the-accountancy-sector-fraud-charter/

UK: NEW CAMPAIGN APPEALS TO LORRY DRIVERS IN CRACKDOWN ON PEOPLE SMUGGLING

On 22 October, an NCA news release said that lorry drivers across Britain are being urged to lock their vehicles and report any suspicious activity that could be linked to people smuggling, in a joint appeal being led by the NCA and Border Force.  The campaign will target freight drivers across England, Scotland and Wales with messaging at service stations and ports.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/new-campaign-appeals-to-lorry-drivers-in-crackdown-on-people-smuggling

AGREEMENT REACHED AT OECD TO END EXPORT CREDIT SUPPORT FOR UNABATED COAL-FIRED POWER PLANTS

On 22 October, a news release from the OECD advised that the ban will come into effect once Participants complete their formal internal decision-making processes, which are expected by the end of October 2021.  The Participants to the Arrangement are Australia, Canada, EU, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland, Turkey, UK, and US.

https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/agreement-reached-at-oecd-to-end-export-credit-support-for-unabated-coal-fired-power-plants.htm

LUXEMBOURG FIRST IN EUROPE TO LEGALISE GROWING AND USING CANNABIS

On 22 October, the Guardian reported that adults will be permitted to grow up to 4 cannabis plants in their homes or gardens under laws that will make it the first country in Europe to legalise production and consumption of the drug.  Luxembourg will join Canada, Uruguay and 11 US states in flouting a UN convention on the control of narcotic drugs, which commits signatories to limit “exclusively for medical and scientific purposes the production, manufacture, export, import distribution, trade, employment and possession of drugs” including cannabis.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/oct/22/luxembourg-first-in-europe-to-legalise-growing-and-using-cannabis

INDICTMENT OF SAAB PARTNERS DETAILS VAST VENEZUELA AID KICKBACK SCHEME

On 22 October, Insight Crime reported that 5 business partners of Álex Saab – an accused money launderer and ally of Venezuela President Nicolás Maduro – have been indicted by US prosecutors on charges of being part of a multi-million dollar graft scheme in which Venezuelan officials got kickbacks for overpriced food and medicine contracts.

https://insightcrime.org/news/indictment-saab-partners-details-vast-venezuela-aid-kickback-scheme/

PRIVY COUNCIL CLARIFIES JURISDICTION OF FREEZING ORDERS IN KEY BVI CASE

On 22 October, an article from out-Law advised that the Privy Council has ruled that courts have the power to grant a freezing injunction against a party to help the enforcement of a prospective or existing foreign judgment.  However, it is said that the introduction of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (Virgin Islands) (Amendment) Act 2020 had limited the impact of the Privy Council’s judgment on BVI law, but that nevertheless it will avoid the BVI being used as a jurisdiction by parties who want to avoid the enforcement of foreign judgments

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/privy-council-clarifies-jurisdiction-of-freezing-orders-in-key-bvi-case

MOZAMBIQUE’S TUNA BONDS SCANDAL: YES, IT’S ABOUT MONEY, BUT MORE THAN THAT – IT’S ABOUT HUMAN LIVES

On 21 October, an article from the Basel Institute on Governance reminds one that 20 people are facing corruption and money laundering charges in the country. Swiss bank Credit Suisse has agreed to pay $475 million in fines and write off $200 million in debt owed by Mozambique as part of a series of settlements with regulators in the US, UK and Switzerland for its role in the affair.

https://baselgovernance.org/blog/mozambiques-tuna-bonds-scandal-yes-its-about-money-more-its-about-human-lives

SOME NFT ARE PROBABLY ILLEGAL. DOES THE SEC CARE?

On 20 October, Coindesk said that the US Government still doesn’t really know how to regulate the $2.5 trillion crypto market.  It’s not that the laws don’t exist, or that Congress is uninterested in digital assets – it’s more that there’s a lack of consensus on how to apply existing regulations to an industry that seems to mutate every few weeks.

https://www.coindesk.com/policy/2021/10/20/some-nfts-are-probably-illegal-does-the-sec-care/

SANDILE SHEZI: SOUTH AFRICA’S YOUNGEST MILLIONAIRE ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED FRAUD

On 20 October, The South African reported that the flamboyant Bitcoin trader, 23, and youngest millionaire businessman has been arrested for fraud charges.

https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/sandile-shezi-arrested-police-bitcoin-trader-fraud-youngest-millionaire-durban/

OFAC AMENDS 1 ENTRY ON ITS SDN SANCTIONS LIST

On 22 October, OFAC advised that the entry for alleged drug trafficker Jaime GONZALEZ HIGUERA (aka EL TUNCO; TUNCO) has been amended.  It formerly referred to Jaime Huberto GONZALEZ HIGUERA.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20211022

US: FORMER FEDEX GROUND SENIOR MANAGER SENTENCED IN $3.25 MILLION STOLEN-GOODS SCHEME

On 22 October, Freightwaves reported that a former senior manager of a FedEx Ground facility in Delaware has been sentenced to more than 3 years in prison and ordered to pay back more than $1.1 million and forfeit over $1.8 million in property for his involvement in a decadelong stolen-goods scheme 2009-19.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/former-fedex-ground-senior-manager-sentenced-in-325m-stolen-goods-scheme

IAEA GUIDANCE ON COMPUTER SECURITY FOR NUCLEAR SECURITY

On 21 October, the International Atomic Energy Authority advised that it had issued guidance to support experts worldwide in implementing computer security measures to strengthen their national nuclear security regimes.

https://www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/now-available-iaea-guidance-on-computer-security-for-nuclear-security

https://www.iaea.org/publications/13629/computer-security-for-nuclear-security

HOW TO APPLY TO BE A FREEPORT CUSTOMS SITE OPERATOR

On 22 October, HMRC issued updated guidance to find out who can be a Freeport customs site operator and what you’ll need to apply and get authorised.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-to-be-a-freeport-customs-site-operator

US OFFERS REWARD FOR ANOTHER ASSOCIATE OF VENEZUELA’S PRESIDENT MADURO

On 22 October, IBT Times reported that the US has offered a $10 million reward for the arrest on money laundering charges of Alvaro Pulido, who is Colombian and an associate of businessman Alex Saab, whose extradition infuriated Nicolas Maduro.  He has been indicted alongside Alex Saab on allegations they ran a network that exploited food aid destined for impoverished Venezuelans and moved $350 million into foreign accounts.

https://www.ibtimes.com/us-offers-reward-another-associate-venezuelas-maduro-3322683

EL PASO MAN ACCUSED OF $3.9 MILLION FRAUD INVOLVING STOCKS, CRYPTOCURRENCIES INVESTMENTS

On 22 October, the El Paso Times reported that he is accused of stealing more than $3.9 million in a Ponzi-like scheme that involved fraudulently promising clients his company would invest their money in stocks and cryptocurrencies.  The Commodity Futures Trading Commission officials filed a civil compliant against Abner Alejandro Tinoco and his investment company, Kikit & Mess Investments LLC.

https://www.elpasotimes.com/story/news/crime/2021/10/22/el-paso-man-abner-alejandro-tinoco-accused-nearly-4-million-dollar-fraud-ponzi-like-scheme/6137162001/

AMERICANS TRICKED OUT OF MORE THAN $586 MILLION IN COVID-RELATED SCAMS

On 20 October, The News Tribune reported that scammers have bilked American consumers out of more than $586 million through fraud schemes inspired by the global COVID-19 pandemic between October 2020 and October 2021.  Americans filed more than 269,000 fraud complaints related to coronavirus.

https://www.thenewstribune.com/news/nation-world/article255157717.html#storylink=mainstage_card

CYPRUS-BASED COMPANY AND SOUTH AFRICAN LAW FIRM HAVE AGREED TO GIVE UP NEARLY £29 MILLION THAT WAS ALLEGEDLY LINKED TO MONEY LAUNDERING

On 22 October, AOL reported that City of London Police said they had reached an agreement with the 2 companies that would see them give up the €34 million from 2 bank accounts.  The report said that there were no responses from representatives of Xiperias and Du Toit & Co.

https://www.aol.co.uk/money/companies-agree-forfeit-29m-allegedly-153201841.html

UK LAW COMMISSION’S RECENT PROPOSALS FOR THE REFORM OF ENGLISH LAW REGARDING POSSESSION OF ELECTRONIC TRADE DOCUMENTS

On 22 October, an article from Hellenic Shipping News explained proposals and the accompanying draft legislation from the Law Commission which suggest that more universal digitisation of electronic bills of lading and other trade documents will soon be a reality.  It says that the proposals herald a far-sighted and welcome modernisation of English law to reflect the new digital world; and 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.hellenicshippingnews.com/a-question-of-possession/

DRUG BUST ON BOARD THAI BULK CARRIER IN NIGERIA RAISES EYEBROWS

On 21 October, Insurance Marine News reported that the Thai bulk carrier Chayanee Naree, which had been in Nigerian waters south of Lagos since arrival from Santos, Brazil, on 1 October was seized on 9 October.  The Nigerian authorities said that agencies were alerted by Nigerian Interpol, and an intelligence report received from the UK Border Force.  It is said that that a bag was found with 30 packages of cocaine inside weighing 32.9kg and that the crew of 22 Thai nationals were arrested.  The article poses questions about the events, including the time taken to search the ship and uncover the drugs.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/drug-bust-on-board-thai-bulk-carrier-in-nigeria-raises-eyebrows/

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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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