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

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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