OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 7

Panama Covid-19 update – neighbouring Costa Rica has become the first nation in the world to make Covid-19 vaccination mandatory for children. Parents face sanctions – and potentially, forced jabbing of their kids – if they don’t comply.

Meanwhile, in Panama, 113 new cases and 4 new fatalities have been reported, with 1,634 active cases – 26 in ICU and 118 in other wards.

7 NOVEMBER 2021

HONG KONG POLICE SEIZED SOUPED-UP SPEEDBOATS AND OUTBOARD ENGINES FROM SEABORNE SMUGGLERS

On 7 November, the South China Morning Post reported that 10 speedboats and another 57 engines were discovered in a warehouse.  They are believed to be used by smugglers and for illegally ferrying passengers across the border into China.  It is said that 7 of the boats were already modified and 3 were in the process of being modified.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3155179/hong-kong-police-seized-souped-speedboats-outboard

PARAGUAY HOPES TO REVERSE OBSERVATIONS OF THE GAFILAT AML/CFT REPORT

On 7 November, Ultima hora reported that Paraguay has until 26 November to answer observations of the first draft of a Mutual Evaluation Report (MER) from FATF-style regional body, GAFILAT. The head ofSecretariat for the Prevention of Money or Property Laundering (Seprelad) is said to be confident that he could reverse some of the findings.  It is said that representatives were working hard to respond to the first draft of the MER prepared by the evaluators.

https://www.ultimahora.com/seprelad-confia-revertir-observaciones-del-primer-informe-n2970396.html

STRENGHTS AND WEAKNESSES: MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGIME (MTCR) AND THE HAGUE CODE OF CONDUCT AGAINST BALLISTIC MISSILE PROLIFERATION (HCOC)

A paper from the International Institute for Strategic Studies highlights the MTCR and HCoC respective strengths and weaknesses and threats to their credibility and future, including the recommendation to create a new and more radical global system for missile control.  They are the 2 most important multilateral frameworks for curbing the spread of uninhabited aerial systems (missiles and UAV) capable of delivering large conventional payloads and WMD.  It urges radical reform, but also provides suggested incremental changes that should be enacted immediately. It includes analysis of several specific regional security issues and related action–reaction defence-modernisation trends. 

https://www.iiss.org/blogs/research-paper/2021/11/revitalising-arms-control-the-mtcr-and-the-hcoc

4 ARRESTS AND SEIZURES WORTH €23 MILLION IN CZECHIA, ROMANIA, SLOVAKIA

The European Public Prosecutor’s Office reported on 4 November that the main suspects organised a so-called VAT carousel, which involved the repeated circulation of platinum coins through the same companies.  The estimated tax loss in Germany from these criminal activities is at least €23 million, and the core of the criminal activity was located in Hamburg, and the money laundering was primarily organised in Czechia and Slovakia, with important links in Romania.

https://www.eppo.europa.eu/en/news/four-arrests-and-seizures-worth-eu23-million-czechia-romania-slovakia

EUROPEAN MANHUNT FOR A MAN ACCUSED OF ONE OF THE BIGGEST BURGLARIES IN ENGLISH LEGAL HISTORY

On 4 November, the BBC reported that Alfredo Lindley, 40, a Peruvian national, believed to be in Belgrade, is said to have led a series of burglaries on the luxury homes of 3 celebrities in December 2019 – including a £25 million raid on the home of Formula 1 heiress Tamara Ecclestone. Italian authorities also accuse Lindley of raiding the home of Patrick Vieira, now Crystal Palace manager, in 2009.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-london-59049960

OPTIONS FOR ENHANCING OPERATIONAL INSTRUMENTS IN THE AREA OF FIREARMS TRAFFICKING

On 5 November, Transcrime, the Joint Research Centre on Transnational Crime in Milan published a report from Project ECOFIT, a research project co-funded by the EU.  ECOFIT aims to enhance operational cooperation between law enforcement agencies in the fight against firearms trafficking across the 27 EU Member States and 7 non-EU states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey).  The study analyses 5 operational instruments that have been selected as indicators of international cooperation, namely: mechanisms for data collection, mechanisms for data sharing, National Firearms Focal Points (NFP), joint criminal investigations and controlled delivery procedures. Based on the findings of the Project, it provides recommendations for the EU and guidelines for law enforcement agencies concerning how to better put into action these instruments and how to more effectively reduce, prevent and tackle illicit trafficking of firearms offences.

https://www.transcrime.it/en/publications/ecofit/

https://www.transcrime.it/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/EcofitFinalReport.pdf

ANOTHER ABANDONED DRUG SMUGGLING FOUND GUATEMALA

This time what seems to be a Piper PA.31 Navajo twin-engine light business transport, has been found abandoned near during the early hours of 7 November. It was bearing a fake Venezuelan registration.

https://twitter.com/The_LAAHS

REPORT ON THE INAUGURAL ROUND OF THE INTERNATIONAL SURVEY ON CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATION (ISOCA)

On 4 November, the WCO released this report which includes illustrative analysis, using aggregates for groups of Customs administrations, pertaining to the performance, profiles, practices and structural foundations of Customs administrations.  The survey covered all aspects of customs administration, including governance and management arrangements, revenue collection, compliance management and law enforcement, supply chain security, societal protection, trade facilitation and economic competitiveness and others.  A Customs administration’s participation in this survey is voluntary.

http://www.wcoomd.org/-/media/wco/public/global/pdf/about-us/partners/publications/isoca-twg-report_en.pdf?db=web

CYPRUS REGULATORS HAD NO IDEA THAT AN ISRAELI RESIDENT INVOLVED IN THE FOREX SECTOR WAS SUSPECTED OF FRAUD BEFORE HIS ARREST IN OCTOBER

On 7 November, the Cyprus Mail reported that 2 companies the suspect owns in Cyprus had customer complaints against them, but these were for aggressive marketing not a massive fraudulent cold call network.  The Cyprus Securities and Exchange Commission (CySEC) has suspended the operation of the 2 investment firms, Maxiflex and Maxigrid.  The arrest was in connection with a cross-border trading fraud investigation involving Europol and police forces in 5 European countries. On the same day in a joint operation with the FBI, Israeli police arrested 26 people in Tel Aviv on suspicion of involvement in alleged massive fraud and money-laundering offences related to digital forex trading.  The criminal network connected to a company, based in Ukraine, set up call centres in Bulgaria.

https://cyprus-mail.com/2021/11/07/cyprus-in-the-dark-over-forex-fraud

FRENCH PROSECUTORS PROBE SANJEEV GUPTA’S BUSINESS EMPIRE 

On 7 November, FX Empire reported that French authorities are said to have opened an investigation into Sanjeev Gupta’s business empire over allegations of “misuse of corporate assets” and “money laundering”.

https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/french-prosecutors-probe-sanjeev-guptas-business-empire-ft-800321

 

 

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INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT LOANS FUND CHINESE FIRMS WITH XINJIANG OPERATIONS

On 4 November, Kharon reported that Chinese companies with operations in Xinjiang and ties to a sanctioned paramilitary group accused of benefiting from forced labour have received subsidies in recent years from international development banks, in part to expand their operations in the region.  For example, in March, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, approved a $150 million loan to a company which claims on its website to be the world’s largest manufacturer of health protective gloves to help expand its medical glove production capacity. Kharon reports that this company purchases raw materials from a subsidiary of the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), a group sanctioned by the US for its alleged ties to human rights abuses in the region.  Kharon says that, in recent years, IFC has provided hundreds of millions of dollars of loans to several companies in China with connections to Xinjiang.  Companies operating in Xinjiang near, or within the confines of, internment camps or prisons are at increased risk of forced labour, according to a US Government advisory.

https://brief.kharon.com/updates/international-development-loans-fund-chinese-firms-with-xinjiang-operations/

 

 

 

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REPORT URGES G20 TO STRENGTHEN GLOBAL POLICY ON ILLICIT ANTIQUITIES TRADE

On 28 October, the Antiquities Collection reported that an international coalition of experts have released Safeguarding Cultural Heritage in Conflict Zones: A Roadmap for the G20 to Combat the Illicit Trade in Cultural Objects.  This evidenced-based report puts forward 9 specific recommendations to strengthen global policy against the looting and trafficking of cultural objects, a transnational crime closely linked to war and terrorism.  The $50 billion international art market is said to be the largest unregulated market in the world.

https://theantiquitiescoalition.org/recommendations-urge-g20-to-strengthen-global-policy-on-illicit-antiquities-trade/

https://theantiquitiescoalition.org/developing-implementing-solutions/a-roadmap-for-the-g20/

 

 

 

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CANADIAN APPAREL COMPANY CANCELS ITS CONTRACT WITH A CHINESE COMPANY OVER CLAIMS OF THE USE OF FORCED NORTH KOREAN LABOUR

On 7 November, the Hindustan Times reported that a CBC TV report in Canada had claimed that Dandong Huayang Textiles was using forced North Korean labour.  CBC said that it might be in violation of 2017 UN sanctions which ban employment of North Koreans to fund North Korea’s WMD programme.  The Canadian company, Reitmans, said that it will remove all remaining inventory which originated from this supplier and give it to charity. 

https://www.hindustantimes.com/videos/world-news/china-firm-violating-un-sanctions-canada-s-reitmans-scraps-deal-over-north-korea-forced-labour-news-101636282329416.html

GERMAN ENGINES POWERING CHINA’S WARSHIPS AS EU ARMS BAN TORPEDOED BY DUAL-USE TECH

On 7 November, The Week carried an article saying that, in 1989, the EU imposed an arms embargo on China in the wake of the Tiananmen Square massacre.  Nevertheless the Chinese military has been able to obtain equipment from European nations.  Now German media has published results of an investigation that claimed several types of Chinese warships were using engines of German origin.  The engines were supplied by MTU and the French branch of MAN, a subsidiary of Volkswagen. Both companies are renowned suppliers of marine diesel engines. 

https://www.theweek.in/news/world/2021/11/07/german-engines-powering-china-warships-eu-arms-ban-torpedoed-by-dual-use-tech.html

 

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.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y