Panama Covid-19 update – it is reported that 2022 will see country fairs go ahead, but that entry to such events will be subject to proving one is fully vaccinated.
Meanwhile, one “industry” seemingly unaffected by the pandemic is drugs trafficking, as it is reported that security forces in Panama have seized a record 98 tons of drugs so far this year – more than in the whole of 2020 (84.8 tons). 2019 saw 90 tons seized and 2018 75 tons.
Today has seen another 150 new cases repoirted, and 1 new fatality. Active cases shows a significant drop in numbers, to 2,277; with 31 in ICU and 166 in other wards.
23 OCTOBER 2021
CLARIFYING TERRORISM FINANCING RISK IN EUROPEAN CROWDFUNDING
This briefing from RUSI says that a new financial technology (fintech) highlighted as a potential avenue for terrorism financing (TF) is crowdfunding: collecting funds online from many sources, in order to finance a project, business, loan or other endeavour. This is said to have enjoyed a recent burst of exposure because of its reported significance to extreme right-wing (XRW) groups. This is not a new concern, FATF listed crowdfunding among its emerging global TF risks in 2015. After looking at the theoretical and practical risks, the paper considers the implications for counterterrorist financing.
GERMAN INTERIOR MINISTER WARNS IRAQI OFFICIALS OVER PARTICIPATION IN OPERATIONS TO TRANSPORT REFUGEES TO THE EU VIA BELARUS
On 23 October, Republic World reported that the interior minister has warned Iraqi officials that their participation in operations to transport refugees to the EU via Belarus might result in criminal consequences and a review of airline licences.
ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE 5.2 MILLION CAPTAGON PILLS INTO SAUDI ARABIA THWARTED
On 22 October, Zawya reported that Saudi Arabia Customs has prevented an attempt to smuggle the Captagon amphetamine pills into the country, “crushed” and hidden in a consignment of “carbonate powder” bags.
MALTA-BASED BANK FINED OVER €300,000 FOR MONEY LAUNDERING PRACTICES
On 23 October, Lovin Malta reported that NBG Bank has been fined €337,422 for money laundering regulations breaches by the FIAU – including weak oversight of a “very well-known” businessman’s multi-million US dollar transactions. NBG bank was formerly known as Finansbank Malta and has been in Malta since 2005, mainly working with high net-worth clients and corporations.
OVERSEAS SATELLITE COLLEGES RAKE IN MILLIONS TAX-FREE FOR UK PRIVATE SCHOOLS
On 18 October, The Times reported that private schools are exploiting their charitable status to claim back millions in tax on income from satellite campuses in Abu Dhabi, China, Egypt and Kazakhstan. Dulwich, Harrow, Marlborough and Repton are said to be among 20 exclusive schools that used the legal loophole to recoup an estimated £13 million in tax.
EXPERTS WARN OF INCREASING CYBER SECURITY THREATS FOR THE AFRICAN MARITIME INDUSTRY
On 22 October, Defence Web reported that the number of cyber attacks around the world continues to grow and this includes those targeted at the maritime sector. It cites an attack on Transnet, a major South African rail, port and pipeline company, which handles 60% of the country’s container traffic in its Durban port. It was hit with a ransomware attack which caused massive disruptions and container terminals had to switch to manual processing of cargo until IT systems were restored. It says that ports are attractive targets that are vulnerable to cyber attacks. It reports on a webinar from the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) held in September which centred around maritime cyber security in Africa.
ICAEW BACKS NEW ACCOUNTANCY SECTOR FRAUD CHARTER
On 21 October, the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales said that, developed in conjunction with the Home Office, the charter has 4 main actions to be delivered in collaboration between the accountancy profession, government and law enforcement agencies. It is said that it is important for ICAEW to work with the government to improve understanding of the fraud threat across the sector and help strengthen trust in the profession.
WHY ARE US AUTHORITIES TRYING TO CURB THE RISE OF DELTA8 THC?
Are 22 October, Jurist reported that a decision by Texan authorities to make theirs the latest state to ban Delta-8 THC has highlighted the growing tension surrounding this federally legal, but increasingly scrutinized marijuana-derived compound. A little-known hemp by-product, Delta-8 has proliferated in recent years. The article considers Delta-8 and its precarious legal status in the US.
IRELAND: GENERAL SCHEME OF THE GAMBLING REGULATION BILL
On 21 October, Irish law firm McCann Fitzgerald published a report saying that the Bill takes into consideration a number of expert reports including the Interdepartmental Working Group On Future of Licensing and Regulation of Gambling 2019. It would introduce a new independent Gambling Regulatory Authority of Ireland, changes to licensing and enforcement etc.
WHAT ARE THE LEGAL ISSUES AROUND NFT?
On 14 October, Osborne Clarke published an article about the legal issues raised by the growing commercial activity around non-fungible tokens (NFT).
OFAC VIOLATIONS FROM SALES THROUGH DISTRIBUTORS AND SALES AGENTS
On 13 October, Williams Mullen published an article saying that one of the most common methods of exporting is sales through overseas distributors, sales representatives and marketing agents. However, this also is one of the greatest areas of export compliance risk – if your distributor sells to a prohibited country or prohibited party, your company can have liability in many instances. Reflecting on a recent US case, it says that sales through third party intermediaries can be a valuable strategy for international sales – but a sale to a third-party intermediary, by itself, does not get you off the hook if your product winds up in the hands of a bad guy or in a bad country.
PANDORA LEAKS SHOW KLEPTOCRACY IS FLOURISHING IN THE UK
A commentary from Chatham House on 21 October pointed out that, in response to the recent revelations of the Pandora Papers, the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer claimed the UK is one of the best in the world at tackling money laundering – a debatable claim given, while the UK laws are robust, enforcement of them is often lacking. However, it says that this misses the main issue anyway, because the majority of the Pandora stories are not about money laundering – the transference of illicit funds – but the proceeds of grand corruption or ‘kleptocracy’.
NEW DATA TOOL EXPLORING CRIMES COMMITTED BY US QANON OFFENDERS
On 24 September, National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) published a new data tool, which users can interact with to explore criminal offenses committed in the United States that were motivated by the QAnon and PizzaGate conspiracy theories, going back to 2016.
NEW ZEALAND: POLICE DISMANTLE SOPHISTICATED DRUG DEALING AND MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATION
On 22 October, the New Zealand Herald reported that assets totalling around $3.5 million have been seized by police in a series of raids executed on a New Zealand drug and money laundering network. The restrained assets include 6 properties, a catamaran, a yacht, a leisure boat, a jet ski, a motorbike and classic cars. It involved a 10-month-long investigation into the sale and supply of methamphetamine and associated offending.
BOSS OF FAILED BOSTON IndyCar RACE PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING
On 22 October, Autosport reported that a former CFO of the Boston Grand Prix organisation which was trying to bring an IndyCar race to the city was indicted in September 2020 for channelling funds for his own personal gain and laundering the proceeds of the scheme, which he failed to report as income. John Casey pleaded guilty to “23 counts of wire fraud, 3 counts of aggravated identity theft, 4 counts of money laundering and 3 counts of filing false tax returns”.
AUSTRALIAN ART DEALER ADMITS TO MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR FRAUDS OVER BACON AND BASQUIAT PAINTINGS
On 23 October, WA Today reported that a globe-trotting Australian art dealer has admitted to frauds involving multimillion-dollar artworks in a case in the Channel Islands. Andy Valmorbida, 42, was described as “serially dishonest” in a judgment last month in a civil case in Jersey. He is a member of the Valmorbida family who made hundreds of millions of dollars importing Italian goods into Australia in the 1950s. Valmorbida was being sued by tycoon and former hedge fund manager Christian Hore over unpaid debts and had admitted during cross-examination to a series of frauds involving multimillion-dollar artworks.
IRISH SIBLINGS FOUND GUILTY OF FRAUD FACE UP TO 20 YEARS IN US JAIL
On 23 October, the Irish Examiner reported that 3 executives of a large US construction company, Navillus Contracting, which was founded by a Kerry family face up to 20 years in jail after being found guilty of fraud. Donal O’Sullivan, 60, and his sister Helen O’Sullivan, 61, together with Padraig Naughton, 49, faced charges in New York. They are said to have devised a fraudulent scheme to avoid making required contributions to union benefits funds on behalf of Navillus’ workers, in order to deprive the workers of benefits they had earned and deserved.
PROSECUTORS IN DETROIT UNCOVER MASSIVE MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATION BETWEEN US AND DUBAI
On 23 October, the Miami Herald 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. Shell companies involved in the scheme, mostly located in Dubai, used fake invoices and other methods to disguise the origins of money, sent to banks — including major US banks. It is said to have provided services to persons seeking to transfer US dollars in a manner calculated to avoid anti-money laundering measures of the financial system and the scrutiny of international law enforcement.
SHADOW INFLATION: SHIPPING COSTS ARE UP WAY MORE THAN YOU THINK
On 22 October, American Shipper published an article saying that costs are not just about freight rates. As service quality plummets, effective inflation goes even higher. As rates have skyrocketed, delivery reliability has collapsed amid historic port congestion. Ocean cargo shippers are paying more than they ever have before for the worst service they’ve ever experienced. A consultancy recently predicted that global container rates will increase by an average 126% this year versus 2020, including both spot and contract rates across all trade lanes. Service metrics have sunk as rates have risen.
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