OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 9

Panama Covid-19 update – Newsroom Panama carries a headline announcing “Life returns to Panama  tourism  as cruise season opens”, as the first of the huge cruise liners docks at Colón on 8 November

Meanwhile, another 196 new cases have been reported (106 yesterday) and 2 new fatalities (6 yesterday); with 1,627 active cases, with 27 in ICU and 117 in other wards.

9 NOVEMBER 2021

THE INTERNATIONAL SEABED AUTHORITY AND DEEP-SEA MINING

On 8 November, Pass Blue (which covers the UN) published an article about the emerging industry of deep-sea mining of the ocean floor which contains myriad metals that miners say are needed for a global eco-transition.  The International Seabed Authority is an autonomous organisation based in Jamaica that critics say has little public oversight, and was established in 1982 under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).  This article follows that on 29 September on Sept. 29, which focussed on the efforts by Nauru to trigger deep-sea mining licences. The Authority has so far sold 31 licences for companies and governments to explore the bottom of the high seas and is being pressured by Nauru to authorise the beginning of mining operations within 2 years.

https://www.passblue.com/2021/11/08/the-obscure-organization-powering-a-race-to-mine-the-bottom-of-the-seas/

The first article about the ISA is at –

https://www.passblue.com/2021/09/29/pressure-builds-to-mine-international-waters-amid-questions-about-ecosystems-and-profit-sharing/

URUGUAY TOPS RULE OF LAW INDEX IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN

On 3 November, the Rio Times reported that the 2021 Rule of Law Index, compiled by the World Justice Project, showed Uruguay is the Latin American and Caribbean country with the best performance this year, which on a global level, coming between Latvia and Portugal in the list.  Denmark, Norway and Finland topped the Index

https://www.riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-politics/uruguay-tops-rule-of-law-index-in-latin-america-and-the-caribbean

The Rules of Law Index is at –

https://worldjusticeproject.org/our-work/research-and-data/wjp-rule-law-index-2021#:~:text=The%202021%20edition%20of%20the%20WJP%20Rule%20of,WJP%20Rule%20of%20Law%20Index%20rankings%20in%202021

A SIMPLE GUIDE TO THE LAW ON CONFISCATION AND RESTRAINT UNDER THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002

On 4 November, Mondaq published an article from BCL Solicitors LLP which set out to explain some of the basic terms and concepts in the Act.

https://www.mondaq.com/uk/wealth-asset-management/1127992/a-simple-guide-to-the-law-on-confiscation-and-restraint-under-the-proceeds-of-crime-act-2002

COMMON CORRUPTION RISKS INVOLVING CLIENT RELATIONSHIPS

On 8 November, Nyman Gibson Miralis in Australia published an article based on advice provided by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of New South Wales and the conduct of public officials in the NSW public sector.

https://ngm.com.au/clients-and-corruption-common-risks/

https://www.icac.nsw.gov.au/prevention/corruption-prevention-advice-topics/client-relationships

PANAMA: JULY/AUGUST 2022 HEARING DATE FOR 62 PEOPLE ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING, EMBEZZLEMENT, AND CORRUPTION INVOLVING ALLEGED BIRBERY BY ODEBRECHT

On 8 November, Newsroom Panama reported that a date for preliminary hearings had been set in the trial of the 62 individuals in a corruption case in which it is alleged that Brazilian company Odebrecht (of “Car Wash” notoriety) established an intricate structure of public limited companies and moved more than $100 million in bribes through national and foreign banks to pay for infrastructure works concessions.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/july-2022-hearing-for-62-in-the-odebrecht-case

LOS ANGELES-BASED CARD ROOM BICYCLE CASINO TO PAY A SETTLEMENT OF $500,000 AND UNDERGO AN ENHANCED REVIEW AFTER DOJ INVESTIGATION INTO POTENTIAL AML FAILINGS

On 8 November, iGB reported that, according to a non-prosecution agreement (NPA), the breaches took place after Bicycle Casino failed to appropriately file reports on a Chinese individual who conducted millions of dollars’ worth of cash transactions in 2016.

https://igamingbusiness.com/bicycle-casino-pays-500000-settlement-after-aml-investigation

LITHUANIAN SUPREME COURT FINDS GAMBLING “DANGEROUS TO SOCIETY”

On 8 November, iGB reported that Lithuania’s Supreme Court has ruled in favour of a defendant in a case about poker training, finding the training programme a form of gambling promotion, which it said is not in the public interest as gambling is “dangerous to society”.

https://igamingbusiness.com/lithuanian-court-finds-gambling-dangerous-to-society

MALAYSIA: MONEY LAUNDERING, TERRORISM FINANCING, PROLIFERATION FINANCING ON THE RISE

On 9 November, The Star reported that Bank Negara Malaysia Deputy Governor Marzunisham Omar said that despite these challenges, the authorities remain vigilant in the fight against money laundering, terrorism financing and proliferation funding. 

https://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2021/11/09/money-laundering-terrorism-financing-proliferation-financing-on-the-rise-says-bank-negara

2 NORTH KOREAN WORKERS STUCK IN QATAR NEARLY 2 YEARS AFTER UN SANCTIONS DEADLINE -BUT MANY MORE IN CHINA AND RUSSIA

On 9 November, NK News reported that 2 North Koreans are still in Qatar awaiting deportation nearly 2 years after UN sanctions made it illegal for DPRK citizens to work abroad.  The delay in deportations appears to be a result of North Korea’s strict border controls re Covid-19.  It is also said that thousands of North Korean workers remained in Russia and China after the UN-imposed repatriation deadline of 22 December 2019. Reports have emerged that many of these DPRK nationals have received visa workarounds or encountered issues because North Korean authorities would not let them back into the country.

https://www.nknews.org/2021/11/north-korean-workers-stuck-in-qatar-nearly-2-years-after-un-sanctions-deadline/

PORTUGUESE UN PEACEKEEPERS IN THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC (CAR) ACCUSED OF USING MILITARY PLANES TO SMUGGLE GOLD, DIAMONDS AND DRUGS

On 8 November, WIN 98.5 reported that Portuguese police have clamped down on a crime ring and more than 300 officers raided nearly 100 homes across the country to collect evidence.  Hundreds of Portuguese military have been deployed to CAR over the last few years in peacekeeping missions.

https://wincountry.com/2021/11/08/gold-diamonds-and-drugs-portuguese-peacekeepers-suspected-of-smuggling/

IRELAND: DETENTION OF SUSPECTS AND THE CONTINUATION OF THE EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT REGIME IN RESPECT OF THE UK

An Advocate General Opinion for the Court of Justice of the European Union on 9 November said that the Withdrawal Agreement and the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, which provide for the continuation of the European arrest warrant regime in respect of the UK, are binding on Ireland.  This followed an application by 2 persons detained in Ireland in 2020 under European arrest warrants issued by the UK.  The CJEU is not bound to follow the Opinion.

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2021-11/cp210196en.pdf

INDIA: CENTRAL BOARD OF INDIRECT TAXES AND CUSTOMS (CBIC) SAYS TIGHTER ENFORCEMENT NEEDED TO CHECK FALSE INVOICING

On 9 November, Mint reported that the proposed move to step up regulatory oversight to check irregularities in invoicing comes following a series of fake invoicing cases coming to light in recent months.  This is according to an update on indirect tax administration from CBIC to field officers.

https://www.livemint.com/news/india/tighter-enforcement-needed-to-check-fake-invoicing-cbic-11636447537057.html

UK: UNPAID TAXES – THE TAX GAP

On 9 November, a House of Lords Library briefing paper explaining that the tax gap is the difference between the amount of tax that should, in theory, be paid to HMRC, and what is actually paid. It does not take account of taxes and charges administered by bodies other than HMRC.

https://lordslibrary.parliament.uk/unpaid-taxes-the-tax-gap/

CHILE: LOWER HOUSE APPROVES PRESIDENT PINERA IMPEACHMENT TRIAL

On 9 November, Al Jazeera reported that the lower house of Chile’s Congress has approved an impeachment trial of President Sebastian Pinera over corruption allegations stemming from Pandora Papers leaks.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/11/9/chile-lower-house-approves-pinera-impeachment-trial

On 9 November, the MoJ published its response to the consultation that ran to 10 May, and says that the present position, under which providers may elect either to have their bills assessed by HMCTS or the LAA, should be continued for a further period of time, so as to enable the comparative merits of each route to be monitored, and to enable further data to be collected.  The intention is to maintain the current position on an interim basis until November 2022, at which point it will consider the further information, experience and data which it has been possible to collect, and then launch a further consultation 

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/civil-legal-aid-bills-consultation

HACKERS STEAL DATA FROM UK JEWELLER, DEMAND RANSOM AND THEN APOLOGISE

On 9 November, OCCRP reported that Russian-based cyber gang, Conti, stole the data of some 11,000 customers of the high society jewellery shop Graff.  The group has already leaked nearly 70,000 documents and is demanding a multimillion-dollar ransom in exchange for the rest.  It then made an unexpected apology earlier to the several Arab royal families whose data was included in the leak. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15453-hackers-steal-data-from-uk-jeweller-demand-ransom-then-apologize

BELIZE – THE GATEKEEPER FOR CONTRABAND TOBACCO FLOWING INTO MEXICO

On 9 November, an article from Insight Crime says that while contraband cigarettes are a mainstay across Latin America, Belize has confirmed its status as a major port of entry for illegal tobacco into Mexico.

https://insightcrime.org/news/belize-the-gatekeeper-for-contraband-tobacco-flowing-into-mexico/

SOUTH AFRICAN LAW FIRM WITH UK PRESENCE SUBJECT TO UK’S BIGGEST EVER PROCEEDS OF CRIME FORFEITURE

On 9 November, Legal Futures reported that a law firm, Du Toit & Co, is at the heart of the largest ever proceeds of crime forfeiture in the UK after an investigation spanning 3 continents.  It and Cypriot-registered Xiperias Ltd, which claimed ownership of the bulk of the funds, both agreed to forfeit €34 million, to settle litigation alleging that the funds in 2 bank accounts were from unlawful conduct carried out by others, of which they had neither knowledge nor suspicion.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/law-firm-subject-to-uks-biggest-ever-proceeds-of-crime-forfeiture

UAE TO AUDIT ALL GOLD REFINERIES IN CRACKDOWN ON ILLICIT TRADE

On 8 November, Reuters reported that the UAE is to require all gold refineries to undergo annual audits to ensure their suppliers are responsible in an effort to combat illicit trading.

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/exclusive-uae-audit-all-gold-refineries-crackdown-illicit-trade-2021-11-08/

CAMBODIA: 10,000 DRUG ARRESTS AND A TONNE OF DRUGS SEIZED

On 8 November, the Khmer Times reported that Cambodia arrested more than 10,000 drug suspects, including 277 foreigners, in the first 9 months of this year and confiscated more than 1,049 kg of drugs.

https://www.khmertimeskh.com/50966389/10k-drug-arrests-a-tonne-seized/

DRC WANTS END TO GLENCORE EXPORT OF RAW COBALT

On 6 November, Swissinfo reported that the Deputy Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has told Swiss delegates at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow that her country will no longer accept the export of its raw materials, notably cobalt, by commodities giant Glencore.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/drc-wants-end-to-glencore-export-of-raw-cobalt/47089566

MALAYSIA: GOVERNMENT FAILS COURT BID TO FORFEIT LUXURY ITEMS BELONGING TO NAJIB, ROSMAH AND FAMILY

On 8 November, the Malay Mail reported that the Malaysian government has failed to forfeit assets it believes were bought with 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) money that had been seized in 2018 from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor and their children.

https://www.malaymail.com/news/malaysia/2021/11/08/govt-fails-court-bid-to-forfeit-luxury-items-belonging-to-najib-rosmah-and/2019238

KILO OF GOLD BULLION SEIZED FROM A PASSENGER AT SPANISH AIRPORT

On 8 November, Euro Weekly reported that officers from the Guardia Civil seized a kilo of gold bullion at Palma airport in Mallorca. The passenger had not declared the gold at Customs and was carrying a staggering €47,000 worth of gold.  He was discovered to have 45 gold bars in his luggage.

https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2021/11/08/kilo-of-gold-bullion-seized-from-a-passenger-at-spanish-airport/

CHINA’S WEALTHY SEEK NEW WAYS TO MOVE MONEY OUT OF COUNTRY

On 8 November, Fox News reported that the need to move money within the country and to do so legally has seen the adoption of three primary methods: invest more in offshore trusts; diversify holdings into green technology and foreign companies; and hire underground money changers to move money when necessary. 

https://www.foxnews.com/world/chinas-rich-seek-ways-to-avoid-ji-xinpings-common-prosperity

Q&A: TRADE-BASED MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATIONS

In its December edition, Financier Worldwide carried an article containing a discussion with Adil Raza and Toni Weirauch at BDO.  They consider the extent, harm, threats and vulnerabilities relating to TBML.  They also discuss how AI could help.

https://www.financierworldwide.com/qa-trade-based-money-laundering-investigations#.YYqXSk7MKM8

NORTH KOREA STILL OPERATING KEY URANIUM PLANT

On 9 November, the Korea Herald reported that, according to a US think tank, North Korea has continued operation and production at its key uranium plant, highlighting the regime’s pursuit of weapon advances amid the stalled talks with the US.  The source is Beyond Parallel, a website specialising in North Korean matters run by the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). 

http://www.koreaherald.com/view.php?ud=20211109000770

US ADDS ETHIOPIA TO LIST OF PROSCRIBED COUNTRIES AND UPDATES RESTRICTIONS APPLIED TO ERITREA

On 9 November, a post from Crowell Moring advised that the US Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) had issued a final rule adding Ethiopia to the Proscribed Country List found in the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and also updating the existing restrictions on Eritrea.  A policy of denial now applies to licences (or other approvals) for exports of defence articles or defence services. 

https://www.cmtradelaw.com/2021/11/ddtc-adds-ethiopia-to-list-of-proscribed-countries-and-updates-restrictions-applied-to-eritrea

CHINA: TRAVEL BANS ON TAIWANES PREMIER, FOREIGN MINISTER AND LEGISLATIVE YUAN PRESIDENT, AND MEMBERS OF THEIR FAMILIES

On 9 November, the EU Sanctions blog reported that those affected are prohibited from entering mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau, and will be subject to restrictions on their cooperation with Chinese people and entities.  They have been designated over their support of Taiwan independence.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/11/china-imposes-travel-bans-on-3-taiwan-officials/

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THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 8

Once again the “Other Things…” post for a day vanised… May be my fauly or a bug, I’m not sure. Anyway, here are all the entries for 8 November, including those also posted individually.

  8 NOVEMBER 2021

SECRET ISRAELI DOCUMENT OFFERS NO PROOF TO JUSTIFY TERROR LABEL FOR PALESTINIAN GROUPS

  An article in The Intercept on 3 November says that a document distributed by Israel to justify its terrorist designations of 6 prominent Palestinian human rights groups shows no concrete evidence of involvement in violent activities by any of the groups.

https://theintercept.com/2021/11/04/secret-israel-dossier-palestinian-rights-terrorist

HOW IS THE ART MARKET NAVIGATING THE AML REGULATIONS?

An article from Boodle Hatfield on 3 November said that one of the key topics discussed at The Art Business Conference was the recent application of AML regulations to the art world, and how the market is navigating the issues that those regulations have introduced.  The article highlights what are said to be the key takeaways from the discussions.  For example, a risk assessment is a really key document. Having one in place that is only 3 lines long and very vague is not enough. The assessment, and policies in place, should be bespoke.  One interesting point was that the definition of ‘art’ is similar in the UK and Germany, but very different in Italy (which focuses on old masters, not contemporary art), and this can lead to confusion about what is required where, and so specialist advice should be sought.

https://insights.boodlehatfield.com/post/102ha23/the-art-business-conference-how-is-the-art-market-navigating-the-anti-money-lau

THE EUROPEAN CROWDFUNDING SERVICE PROVIDER REGULATION (ECSPR) – AML OBLIGATIONS OF CROWDFUNDING SERVICE PROVIDERS

On 4 November, an article from Bird & Bird was one of a series on the implications of EU regulation 2020/1503/EU, which enters into force on 10 November.  This article addresses the question of which obligations under money laundering law apply to a crowdfunding service provider.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/germany/ecspr-anti-money-laundering-obligations-of-crowdfunding-service-providers

US: APPEALS COURT REINSTATES CONVICTIONS OF PLATINUM PARTNERS HEDGE FUND EXECUTIVES

On 5 November, the Wall Street Journal reported that a federal appeals court in New York had restored securities fraud convictions of 2 executives of defunct hedge fund Platinum Partners.  It sent the case back to the district court judge, who is expected to reinstate the convictions and sentence the 2 men – founder Mark Nordlicht, and the fund’s co-chief investment officer, David Levy.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/appeals-court-reinstates-convictions-of-platinum-partners-executives-11636136854

ECOWAS IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON MALI OVER DELAY IN CONDUCTING ELECTIONS

On 8 November, Journal du Cameroun and others reported that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has imposed sanctions on the transition authorities in Mali for failure to restore democratic rule in Mali.  The sanctions include a travel ban and a freeze on financial assets.  It also directed the President of the ECOWAS Commission to consider and propose additional sanctions at its next Ordinary Session on 12 December should the situation persist.

https://www.journalducameroun.com/en/ecowas-imposes-sanctions-on-mali-over-delay-in-conducting-elections/

https://www.socialnews.xyz/2021/11/08/sanctions-imposed-on-malian-transitional-authorities/

US SANCTIONS ON ETHIOPIA TO BE EFFECTIVE FROM 1 JANUARY

On 8 November, Fibre 2 Fashion reported that President Biden recently announced his decision to omit Ethiopia as a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade programme, paving the way for further sanctions against the East African nation over its failure to end a nearly year-long war in the Tigray region, leading to ‘gross violations’ of human rights.  Along with Ethiopia, Guinea and Mali will also be removed from the AGOA on 1 January.

https://www.fibre2fashion.com/news/apparel-news/us-sanctions-on-ethiopia-to-be-effective-from-january-1-277244-newsdetails.htm

HONG KONG: AROUND 14,000 HAIRY CRABS SEIZED IN ANTI-SMUGGLING OPERATION

On 8 November, The Standard reported that about 14,000 hairy crabs and about 1,000 kg of chilled food had been in an anti-smuggling operation.  Customs officers intercepted 3 incoming goods vehicles at the 2 control points from China, and found the crabs and frozen meat hidden among the properly declared goods in the vehicles.

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/4/182602/Around-14,000-hairy-crabs-seized-in-anti-smuggling-operation

PROPERTY FRAUD: WHY CHECKING PHOTO ID IS CRUCIAL

On 8 November, Property Reporter published an article in the wake of news that someone’s house in the UK has been sold from underneath them by property fraudsters.  It says that most online Conveyancers have been in the business of checking client ID remotely for a very long time and the importance of rigorous ID checks is completely ingrained in the culture.  Checking the photo ID documentation against a photo or video of the client with the use of biometric technology is absolutely vital.  HMRC is proposing that cryptographic data contained within the identity chip of a passport is also used to provide additional “Safe Harbour” assurance for conveyancers and that a very welcome next step would be for HM Land Registry to keep an encrypted copy of the ID so that conveyancers can re-verify that the seller is their client in accordance with the ID provided.

https://www.propertyreporter.co.uk/property/property-fraud-why-checking-photo-id-is-crucial.html

UK: ONS FRAUD STATISTICS

On 8 November, Professional Security Magazine Online reported that the latest Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) shows a 12% increase in total crime, driven by a 43% increase in fraud and computer misuse for the year ending June 2021 compared with the pre-COVID year ending June 2019.

https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/case-studies/ons-fraud-statistics/

The report from ONS can be found at –

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/bulletins/crimeinenglandandwales/yearendingjune2021

UK: MIDLANDS TRIO LAUNCHED MAIL ORDER GUN SERVICE

On 5 November, a news release from NCA advised that 3 men have been convicted for importing illegal firearms and ammunition into the UK in the post, before trying to sell them to organised criminals.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/midlands-trio-launched-mail-order-gun-service

THE DIRTY TRUTH ABOUT CLEAN TECHNOLOGIES

On 4 November, an article from Der Spiegel said that the poor South is being exploited so that the rich North can transition to environmental sustainability. Entire swaths of land are being destroyed to secure the resources needed to produce wind turbines and solar cells.  It uses wind turbines as an example.  Each unit requires cement, sand, steel, zinc and aluminium. And tons of copper: for the generator, for the gearbox, for the transformer station and for the endless strands of cable. Around 67 tons of copper can be found in a medium-sized offshore turbine. To extract this amount of copper, miners have to move almost 50,000 tons of earth and rock, around 5 times the weight of the Eiffel Tower. The ore is shredded, ground, watered and leached. The bottom line: a lot of nature destroyed for a little bit of green power.

https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/mining-the-planet-to-death-the-dirty-truth-about-clean-technologies-a-696d7adf-35db-4844-80be-dbd1ab698fa3

UN GRANTS SANCTIONS EXEMPTION FOR PYONGYANG HOSPITAL PROJECT

On 6 November, KBS World reported that the UN Security Council’s North Korea Sanctions Committee has approved a request by a South Korean civic group to allow the delivery of materials and equipment to North Korea to build a hospital in Pyongyang.

http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm?lang=e&Seq_Code=165391

MOSCOW CONFIRMS ARREST OF RUSSIAN CRYPTO ENTREPRENEUR IN AMSTERDAM

On 6 November, Bitcoin.com reported that Denis Dubnikov, co-founder of cryptocurrency exchange platforms Coyote Crypto and Eggchange, has been arrested in Amsterdam.  The Russian citizen was initially held and placed in an isolation ward at an airport in Mexico City.  He was then put on a flight to the Netherlands where he was arrested by Dutch authorities, allegedly on a request submitted by the FBI.

https://news.bitcoin.com/moscow-confirms-arrest-of-russian-crypto-entrepreneur-in-amsterdam-report-mentions-fbi/

FBI WARNS OF FRAUDULENT SCHEMES LEVERAGING CRYPTOCURRENCY ATM AND QR CODES TO FACILITATE PAYMENT

A news release from the FBI on 4 November said that it had seen an increase in scammers directing victims to use physical cryptocurrency ATM and digital QR codes to complete payment transactions.

https://www.ic3.gov/Media/Y2021/PSA211104

DIGEST OF CASES OF INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN CRIMINAL MATTERS INVOLVING THE UN CONVENTION AGAINST TRANSNATIONAL ORGANIZED CRIME AS A LEGAL BASIS

This 172-page report is from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and cases of international cooperation in criminal matters involving the UN Convention as a legal basis are presented and analysed – with 104 cases from 34 jurisdictions.  It examines the types of international cooperation involved, geographical differences between regions and states, the facts and types of offences that gave rise to the need for international cooperation, and the relationship between the Convention and relevant bilateral and multilateral cooperation treaties in cases of international cooperation.

https://www.unodc.org/documents/organized-crime/tools_and_publications/Digest_Cases_International_Cooperation_UNTOC_Legal_Basis.pdf

MADURO’S DARK OPERATIONS IN MEXICO

On 4 November, The Yucatan Times reported on an investigation by journalists of “Mexicans Against Corruption and Impunity”. It tells the story of a plot surrounding the shipment of food supplies to Venezuela.  It is said that between 2019 and 2020, 8 Mexican companies used a structure of at least 13 importers created in Hong Kong, Panama, Uruguay, and the BVI to send food to Venezuela for an amount of $64 million. 

https://www.theyucatantimes.com/2021/11/maduros-dark-operations-in-mexico/

THIRD COUNTRIES ALLIGN WITH EU SANCTIONS RE ISIL/AL-QAIDA

On 8 November, a news release from the EU advised that North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia and Georgia will align themselves with Council Decision 1825/CFSP which extends the existing restrictive measures until 31 October 2022.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/11/08/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-concerning-restrictive-measures-against-isil-da-esh-and-al-qaeda-and-persons-groups-undertakings-and-entities-associated-with-them/#

US TREASURY SANCTIONS RELATED TO RANSOMWARE PLUS FinCEN ADVISORY ON RANSOMWARE AND THE USE OF THE FINANCIAL SYSTEM TO FACILITATE RANSOM PAYMENTS

On 8 November, OFAC announced sanctions on 2 ransomware operators and a virtual currency exchange network for a recent incident and laundering cyber ransoms.  At the same time, FinCEN issued an Advisory, which included the following illustration of the role of a convertible currency exchange (CVC) –

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0471

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20211108

https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/advisory/2021-11-08/FinCEN%20Ransomware%20Advisory_FINAL_508_.pdf

FATF: SRI LANKA AML/CFT ASSESSMENT FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 8 November, FATF published the 6th follow-up report on Sri Lanka by FATF-style regional body APG.  As is normal, the report does not analyse any progress Sri Lanka has made to improve its effectiveness, only its technical compliance with the FATF 40 Recommendations since the 2015 mutual evaluation (MER). Overall, Sri Lanka has made some progress in addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified in its MER and has been re-rated on Recommendation 32 (re physical cross-border transportation of currency and bearer negotiable instruments).  Sri Lanka now has 32 Recommendations rated C/LC and will remain in enhanced follow-up, and will continue to report back to the APG on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures. Its 7th progress report is due 1 June 2022.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/APG-Follow-Up-Report-Sri-Lanka-2021.pdf

FATF UPDATED CONSOLIDATED AML/CFT ASSESSMENT RATINGS

On 8 November, following publication of the follow-up report on Sri Lanka, FATF issued an updated consolidated schedule of all ratings to date.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/4th-Round-Ratings.pdf

NIGERIA: FORMER CHAIRMAN OF PENSION REFORMS TASK TEAM SENTENCED TO 8 YEARS FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

On 8 November, Business hallmark reported that the former chairman of now-defunct Pension Reforms Task Team, Abdulrasheed Maina, has been sentenced to 61 years imprisonment but to run concurrently for 8 years.  The court had found him guilty of inducing staff of Fidelity Bank to open bank accounts for him without conducting due diligence and money laundering; and concealing his true identity as signatory to accounts opened in UBA and Fidelity Bank by using the identity of his family members without their knowledge.

https://hallmarknews.com/court-jails-maina-for-8-years-for-money-laundering

US: 2 FOREIGN NATIONALS ARRESTED FOR TRAFFICKING IVORY AND RHINOCEROS HORN IN INTERNATIONAL OPERATION WITH THE DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

A news release from US DoJ on 8 November advised that Herdade Lokua, 23, and Jospin Mujangi, 31, of Kinshasa, DRC, had been arrested outside of Seattle.  They have been indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy, money laundering, smuggling and Lacey Act violations for trafficking elephant ivory and white rhinoceros horn from DRC to Seattle.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-foreign-nationals-arrested-trafficking-ivory-and-rhinoceros-horn

US: FORMER METALLURGIST LAB DIRECTOR PLEADS GUILTY TO MAJOR FRAUD INVOLVING THE STRENGTH OF METAL USED FOR SUBMARINE PARTS

A news release from US DoJ on 8 November advised that Elaine Thomas, 67, of Auburn, Washington, the former Director of Metallurgy at Bradken Inc had pleaded guilty to defrauding the US by falsifying test results that measure the strength and toughness of steel used in US Navy submarines. 

https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdwa/pr/former-metallurgist-lab-director-pleads-guilty-major-fraud-usa

DUTCH AUTHORITIES SEIZE $29 MILLION WORTH OF CRYPTO

On 8 November, U Today reported that Dutch law enforcement seized €25 million worth of cryptocurrencies over the past few months as a result of separate money laundering investigations.  The authorities seized €303 million in 2020, with cryptocurrencies accounting only for a small share of the whole sum (around $9.9 million).

https://u.today/dutch-authorities-seize-29-million-worth-of-crypto

THE CRIMINAL ACTORS PROFITING FROM ILLICIT TRADE IN PLASTIC WASTE

The Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime has published a report which traces illicit plastic waste flows, supply chains and actors.  It says that shipping of different types of waste from Western countries to Asia and Africa has been an ongoing phenomenon since the 1970s.  This has highlighted a great power imbalance in what has been labelled ‘waste colonialism.  China banned such imports in 2018.  Now, it says, SE Asia has become by far the largest recipient of waste from Europe and North America as well as from Australia. In addition, the role of African countries as receiving destinations is growing for both the North American and European waste trade, often coinciding with well-established electronic waste (e-waste) flows, which encompasses products such as computers, televisions and mobile phones.  The report finds that although legitimate business operators represent the majority of the culprits, there is evidence of organised criminal groups’ involvement in illicit waste disposal for the purpose of money laundering and tax evasion. In some cases, illicit trade in plastic waste may also converge with the trafficking of other illicit commodities

https://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/GITOC-Plastic-for-Profit.pdf

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OFAC; FINDING OF VIOLATION OF SUDAN SANCTIONS BY MASHREQBANK PSC

On 9 November, OFAC advised the issuance of a Finding of Violation to Mashreqbank psc, a financial institution headquartered in the UAE with a branch in UK. Between 2005-2009, Mashreq’s London branch processed 1,760 outgoing payments totalling $4,085,427,520 through financial institutions in the US in violation of OFAC’s now-repealed Sudan sanctions programme, which prohibited the exportation, directly or indirectly, of services to Sudan. This FOV is part of a global settlement between Mashreq, the New York State Department of Financial Services and the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/bulletins/2fb754b

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/20211109_mashreq.pdf

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OFAC: NEW SYRIAN SANCTIONS FAQ

On 9 November. OFAC announced the release of FAQ 934: Are the UN and the US government permitted to conduct stabilisation and early recovery-related activities and transactions involving Syria?  Does this apply to their contractors and grantees as well?

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/faqs/934

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BRITISH MP VOTED FROM CARIBBEAN WHILE EARNING £1 MILLION IN SECOND JOB

On 9 November, The National reported that an MP was found to have voted on UK legislation from the BVI while he worked in a lucrative second job. Sir Geoffrey Cox was paid about £1 million to work for the BVI, on top of his MP’s salary of about £82,000 a year.  He was hired to defend the BVI, a UK overseas territory, in an inquiry launched by the Foreign Office.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/uk-news/2021/11/09/british-mp-voted-from-caribbean-tax-haven-while-earning-1m-in-second-job/

https://www.gbnews.uk/news/labour-calls-for-investigation-into-sir-geoffrey-cox-advising-in-caribbean-corruption-probe/155872

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/nov/09/sir-geoffrey-cox-the-infatigueable-rides-to-the-defence-of-tax-haven-against-uk-foreign-office

CRIMINALS TARGET BITCOIN ATM AS CRYPTO POPULARITY SURGES

On 9 November, an article from CNBC said that as the number of bitcoin ATM around the country skyrockets, criminals have increasingly used the machines in schemes including money laundering and drug trafficking.  The ease of transactions and relative anonymity allowed when using them has contributed to abuses of the ATM. 

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/11/09/bitcoin-atms-criminals-target-cryptocurrency-transactions.html

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MEXICO’S AML CHIEF RESIGNS AMID SCANDAL

On 9 November, The Hour reported that the President had accepted the resignation of Santiago Nieto, the former head of the Mexican Treasury’s FIU following a scandal over his wedding party held in Guatemala.

https://www.thehour.com/news/article/Mexico-s-anti-money-laundering-chief-resigns-amid-16604462.php

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/11/9/mexico-anti-money-laundering-czar-resigns-amid-cash-scandal

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

MALTA: JUDGMENT BY THE CRIMINAL COURT ON THE PURPOSE OF FREEZING ORDERS

On 3 November, Ganado Advocates in Malta published an article about a recent judgment handed down in Malta, the gist of which was a clear distinction between those cases where the accused is allegedly involved in the underlying crime that has generated the proceeds (and where the proceeds are likely to still be in the accused’s possession) and those crimes where, although the accused may still be charged with the actual crime of money laundering on the basis of complicity, the nature of the involvement could be the result of a breach of professional duty, perhaps, but not actual knowing participation in the underlying revenue generating crime.  In this latter case, it is unlikely that any proceeds of the crime would be in the accused’s possession and, therefore the main aim of the Freezing Order (being that of ensuring that the proceeds of crime are frozen for possible confiscation in the event of a finding of guilt) would not be met.

https://ganado.com/insights/publications/judgment-by-the-criminal-court-on-the-purpose-of-freezing-orders/

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PANAMA IN WORLD WAR 2 – PART 29 – QUARRY HEIGHTS (UPDATE)

Part 28 – 1941 saw paper money and a treaty with Costa Rica – plus an update on the Gold and Silver Rolls

https://raytodd.blog/2021/11/06/panama-in-world-war-2-part-28-1941-saw-paper-money-and-a-treaty-with-costa-rica-plus-an-update-on-the-gold-and-silver-rolls/

Part 27 – Panama Canal Zone and US Army commands and insignia

https://raytodd.blog/2021/11/04/panama-in-world-war-2-part-27-panama-canal-zone-and-us-army-commands-and-insignia/

Part 26 – The Canal and its vulnerabilities

https://raytodd.blog/2021/11/03/panama-in-world-war-2-part-26-the-canal-and-its-vulnerabilities/

Part 25 – More on the 1939 treaty

https://raytodd.blog/2021/11/02/panama-in-world-war-2-part-25-more-on-the-1939-treaty/

Part 24 – More about advance bases on the Galapagos Islands and in Nicaragua and Colombia

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/29/panama-in-world-war-2-part-24-more-about-advance-bases-on-the-galapagos-islands-and-in-nicaragua-and-colombia/

Part 23 – Some notes on forts and other installations

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/27/panama-in-world-war-2-part-23-some-notes-on-forts-and-other-installations/

Part 22 – The wartime Presidents

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/26/panama-in-world-war-2-part-22-the-wartime-presidents/

Part 21 – The end of the war and its aftermath

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/25/panama-in-world-war-2-part-21-the-end-of-the-war-and-the-aftermath/

Part 20 – Interned

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/23/panama-in-world-war-2-part-20-interned/

Part 19 – Mustard gas trials and chemical defences of the Canal

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/23/panaman-in-world-war-2-part-19-mustard-gas-trials-and-chemical-defences-of-the-canal%ef%bf%bc/

Part 18 – Disease, illness and discrimination

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/21/panama-in-world-war-2-part-18-disease-illness-and-discrimination/

Part 17 – Forces’ radio stations, the striking force, espionage and wartime post and censorship

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/16/panama-in-world-war-2-part-17-forces-radio-stations-the-striking-force-espionage-and-wartime-post-and-censorship/

Part 16 – Coco Solo naval base, flying boats, submarines and PT Boats

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/15/panama-in-world-war-2-part-16-coco-solo-naval-base-flying-boats-submarines-and-pt-boats/

Part 15 – 1941-45: a miscellany

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/14/panama-in-world-war-2-part-15-1941-45-a-miscellany/

Part 14 – The Yamamoto plan

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/13/panama-in-world-war-2-part-14-the-yamamoto-plan-of-attack/

Part 13 – Transportation, railway and shipping

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/09/panama-in-world-war-2-part-13-transportation-railway-and-shipping/

Part 12 – The Japanese

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/07/panama-in-world-war-2-part-12-the-japanese/

Part 11 – U-boats

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/04/panama-in-world-war-2-part-11-u-boats/

Part 10 – Germans in South America and Panama

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/03/panama-in-world-war-2-part-10-germans-in-south-america-and-panama/

Part 9 – the Canal and the expansion of US activity prior to Pearl Harbor and just after

https://raytodd.blog/2021/10/01/panama-in-world-war-2-part-9-the-canal-and-the-expansion-of-us-activity-prior-to-pearl-harbor-and-just-after/

Part 8 – Snapshot summaries of air units, including the Brazilians

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/29/panama-in-world-war-2-part-8-snapshot-summaries-of-aircraft-units-including-the-brazilians/

Part 7 – Air bases

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/27/panama-in-world-war-2-part-7-airfields-and-air-bases/

Part 6 – Introduction of radar and the role(s) of Pan American

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/26/panama-in-world-war-2-part-6-the-introduction-of-radar-and-the-roles-of-pan-american/

Part 5 – Naval defences 

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/21/panama-in-world-war-2-part-5/

Part 4 – The Third Locks project, barrage balloons and sea mines 

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/19/panama-in-world-war-2-part-4/

Part 3 – The defences 

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/15/panama-in-world-war-2-part-3/

Part 2 – Panama in 1939 

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/11/panama-in-world-war-2-part-2/

Part 1 – Introduction 

https://raytodd.blog/2021/09/04/panama-in-world-war-2-part-1-introduction/