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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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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