OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 13

Panama Covid-19 update – another day without fatalities, the fourth this month, with another 222 new cases. 1,756 active cases include 25 in ICU and 103 in other wards. There are also 81 people quarantined in so-called “hospitality hotels”.

13 NOVEMBER 2021

STANFORD INTERNATIONAL BANK AND HSBC

On 10 November, Morton Fraser provides an update on the court case in which HSBC was fighting application of the Quincecare duty of care by the liquidators of Stanford International Bank Ltd, the investment bank owned and run by Robert Allen Stanford which was essentially an enormous Ponzi scheme and a fraud on the many holders of Certificates of Deposit.  In essence, it is alleged that HSBC should have known the SIB was a scam.  The case, involving rulings on 2 points, is now set to reach the UK Supreme Court.

https://www.morton-fraser.com/knowledge-hub/stanford-international-bank-saga-rumbles

UKRAINE SANCTIONS SHIPPING COMPANY CITED FOR INVOLVEMENT IN VENEZUELAN OIL EXPORTS

On 3 November, Forwarder Law reported that the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine on 30 October imposed sanctions on FIDES SHIP MANAGEMENT of Odesa. The sanctions have been imposed for 3 years and come after the US imposed sanctions on 4 tankers, FIDES SHIP MANAGEMENT held the position of commercial manager of the vessels.

http://forwarderlaw.com/2021/11/03/ukraine-sanctions-shipping-company/

ECUADORIAN COURT FREEZES EX-PRESIDENT’S BANK ACCOUNT IN PROBE

On 13 November, Al Jazeera reported that Ecuador’s Attorney General’s Office has said that court it had frozen the bank accounts of many business leaders and former government officials, including former President Rafael Correa (2007-2017) and members of his -administration, who were sentenced last year for breaking campaign finance laws.  They were accused of accepting $7.5 million in bribes. 

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/11/13/ecuadorian-court-freezes-ex-presidents-bank-account-in-probe

https://www.aljazeera.com/program/talk-to-al-jazeera/2021/11/13/ecuadors-rafael-correa-exiled-and-convicted

IRELAND: 2 JAILED FOR THEIR PART IN A PANDEMIC UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENT (PUP) FRAUD MASTERMINDED BY THE HEAD OF THE NIGERIAN CRIME GANG, KNOWN AS BLACK AXE

On 13 November, the Irish Examiner reported that the gang had planned to secure up to €1 million from their elaborate fraud, but in the end, only managed to get €183,000.  Health workers were sent bogus jury summonses requesting further information and that was then used to set up bank accounts from which the PUP claims were made. The men were caught after a routine traffic stop.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/munster/arid-40743138.html

TAIWAN AND INDONESIA COOPERATE TO ARREST 48-MEMBER FRAUD RING

On 13 November, Taiwan News reported that police in Indonesia received assistance from Taiwan in detaining 48 suspects in a fraud ring which included 4 Taiwanese nationals as its victims.  The group consisted of 46 Chinese and 2 Vietnamese.  It is reported that the suspects used social media to target potential victims in Taiwan and China, later switching to messaging apps like WeChat and Line. They would set the victims up for a honey trap, record footage and then blackmail them.

https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4344284

PODCAST: THE CHALLENGES OF THE CULTURE OF TRANSPARENCY IN VENEZUELA AND LATIN AMERICA

Baker McKenzie has released the first episode of the second season of its Compliance Podcast from the firm’s Caracas office, featuring Diego Castagnino, a Venezuelan lawyer and professor with extensive experience in corporate and arbitration issues. In this conversation, Diego presents his perspective from the private sector and from the academy to help us understand the challenges of the culture of transparency in Venezuela and Latin America. In Spanish.

https://www.bakermckenzie.com/en/insight/publications/2020/06/venezuela-compliance-podcast

HOW THE LEGITIMATE ART MARKET CAN BE EXPLOITED FOR PURPOSES SUCH AS SANCTIONS EVASION AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 27 October, the EU Institute for Security Studies published a briefing which examines 4 ways in which the art market serves illicit groups: money laundering; financial accumulation in safe havens like freeports; commercialisation through galleries and auction houses of cultural objects tainted by illegality; and use of cultural objects as collateral and/or payment for drugs or weapons. It assesses the structural factors that facilitate these processes, particularly the market’s commercial, valuation, authentication, transport and legitimation dynamics.

https://www.iss.europa.eu/content/compliant-or-complicit-security-implications-art-market

GERMANY SEEKS ARREST OF SWISS SENIOR PANAMA PAPERS LAWYER

On 11 November, ICIJ reported that Swiss attorney Christopher Zollinger, 52, is wanted for his role in controversial decisions by the offshore law firm Mossack Fonseca.  He is alleged to have aided tax evasion and for his involvement in founding an alleged criminal organisation.  While Zollinger left Mossack Fonseca years before the 2016 Panama Papers investigation, leaked records apparently reveal that he was involved in many of the law firm’s controversial decisions, including its work for a sanctioned Syrian businessman.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/panama-papers/germany-seeks-arrest-of-senior-panama-papers-lawyer/ 

ONTARIO APPLIED TO SEIZE LUXURY $3.6 MILLION TORONTO CONDO TIED TO ALLEGED CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUD

On 11 November, CTV News reported that the Ontario government has applied to seize a luxury $3.6 million condo in downtown Toronto, alleging in a court application it was part of a lavish lifestyle made possible through a multi-million-dollar cryptocurrency fraud scheme.  Authorities say that Kevin Hobbs and a partner raised $33.7 million at their Vancouver-based company, Vanbex, promoting a cryptocurrency called “Fuel” and what they called innovative “smart contracts”.

https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/ontario-applied-to-seize-luxury-3-6-million-toronto-condo-tied-to-alleged-cryptocurrency-fraud-1.5661965

PODCAST: A CONVERSATION ABOUT INTERNATIONAL COOPERATE TAXATION

In October, ECIPE released this podcast.  Tax havens, transfer pricing, digitalisation, what do these terms all mean and how are they related to one another? With the rise of multinational companies and their activities spreading all across the world, it has become unclear who should tax these companies and how.  In this podcast, a professor of Economics for the Solvay Business School at the Université Libre de Bruxelles is interviewed about international cooperate taxation.

https://ecipe.org/podcast/episode-63/

BORIS JOHNSON’S £25,000-A-WEEK MARBELLA HOLIDAY VILLA ‘IS LINKED TO ZAC GOLDSMITH TAX EVASION CASE IN SPAIN THAT HAS LANDED HIS PROPERTY FIRM WITH £20 MILLION BILL’

On 13 November, the Daily Mail reported that according to Spanish court papers, the Torre Tramores estate near Marbella is linked to 2 of the Goldsmith family’s property businesses, which were ordered to pay €24 million in unpaid taxes and fines.  It says that Johnson is likely to now face questions over whether he knew the home was linked to an investigation by the Spanish tax authorities.  

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10197851/Boriss-Marbella-holiday-villa-linked-Zac-Goldsmith-firms-ordered-pay-20m-unpaid-taxes.html

JERSEY: BIGGEST BENEFIT FRAUD COUPLE ARE JAILED

On 13 November, the Jersey Evening Post reported that a couple who falsely claimed more than £144,000 in income support in Jersey’s biggest ever benefit fraud have been jailed for 3 years.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2021/11/13/islands-biggest-benefit-fraud-couple-are-jailed/

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IMF – VIRTUAL ASSETS AND AML/CFT: SOME LEGAL AND PRACTICAL CONSIDERATION

On 14 October, the IMF published an edition of its Fintech Notes, which offer practical advice from IMF staff members to policymakers on important issues.  Despite the advantages, it says that virtual assets are susceptible to criminal abuse. Some of their features — in particular their varying degrees of anonymity or pseudonymity — raise new challenges for country authorities. Criminals have misused these features to facilitate fraud, theft, money laundering and terrorist financing, amongst other crimes.

https://www.imf.org/-/media/Files/Publications/FTN063/2021/English/FTNEA2021002.ashx

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UK: CIOT AND ATT AML/CFT SUPERVISION REPORT 2021

The Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT) and the Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) are, along with 21 other professional bodies, government appointed AML supervisors.  As AML supervisors it is their responsibility to ensure that tax advisory and accountancy firms run by our members understand the AML/CFT risks facing their business and how to mitigate them, and comply with their AML/CFT obligations. Each year they submit a report to HM Treasury giving detailed information about its supervisory activities for inclusion in the Treasury annual report on AML/CFT supervision. The report includes themes arising from the year’s supervision, statistics, and links to available guidance.

https://assets-eu-01.kc-usercontent.com/220a4c02-94bf-019b-9bac-51cdc7bf0d99/a00ac16b-b3ed-43cc-bd73-c736f14f650d/AML%20SUPERVISION%20REPORT%20FINAL.pdf

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HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT? DISGUISED COMPLIANCE BY TERRORIST OFFENDERS

On 9 November, the European Policy Center published a Discussion Paper that examines how terrorist prisoners engage in ‘disguised compliance’, whereby they successfully deceive the professionals involved in their de-radicalisation.  As evidence emerges across Europe that this tactic is a growing threat and that terrorist prisoners are actively misleading those concerned with their rehabilitation to gain the opportunity to attack again, this paper provides practical recommendations on how this growing risk can be tackled.  The authors found that current approaches to the risk management of violent extremists are reactive, generic and mechanistic. They rely too much on collaboration and devalue frontline professional intuition.  It advocates an assertive blended approach that includes new technologies and integrity- and ‘sense-checking’ by a team of practitioners.

https://www.epc.eu/content/PDF/2021/Disguised_compliance_by_terrorist_offenders.pdf

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US SANCTIONS AGAINST CHINESE 5G: INCONSISTENCIES AND PARADOXICAL OUTCOMES

In October, the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) published this article, saying that US sanctions against Chinese 5G have been inconsistently applied for the supply of critical technologies and participation in standard-setting. Huawei may have been weakened, but it says that the sanctions have also helped Chinese state-owned companies like ZTE and defence contractors.

https://ecipe.org/blog/us-sanctions-against-chinese-5g/

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IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC ON BUSINESS REGISTRIES

The European Business Registry Association has published a report in collaboration with its sister organisations – the Association of Registers of Latin America and the Caribbean (ASORLAC), the Corporate Registers Forum (CRF) and the International Association of Commercial Administrators (IACA).  They conducted case study research about the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on business registries.

https://ebra.be/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/FINAL-REPORT-on-Case-study-research_Sept-2021.pdf

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OECD REPORT DISMISSES 3D PRINTING TRADE THREAT

On 13 November, Hellenic Shipping News reported that a high-level OECD report on 3D printing technologies has concluded that it is premature to suggest that 3D printing technology will ‘replace’ trade, dispelling the hyped warning of the same over the past few years.  The report is an OECD Trade Policy Paper on 3D printing and international trade and asking what is the evidence to date? 

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/oecd-dismisses-3d-printing-trade-threat/

https://read.oecd.org/10.1787/0de14497-en?format=pdf

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COMPLIANCE OFFICER BULLETIN (OCTOBER 2021)

Baker McKenzie has released the latest edition of this excellent publication from the lawyers in its London and US offices. In this edition there are comprehensive updates on –

  • Reviewing the EU and UK AML regime proposals: What firms need to know;
  • Emerging themes in the DPA landscape and SFO position;
  • Developments on the Cum-Ex dividend scandal;
  • Cyber risk in financial services;
  • A Guide to spotting — and stopping — authorised push payment (APP) fraud;
  • US AML developments: US Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2020; and
  • The Quincecare duty of care: Where are we now?

https://www.bakermckenzie.com/-/media/files/insight/publications/2021/11/compliance-officer-bulletin-october-2021.pdf

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INTERNATIONAL REPORT SHOWS “TREMENDOUS MOMENTUM” WORLDWIDE FOR TOBACCO PLAIN PACKAGING

On 10 November, TJI reported that a report by the Canadian Cancer Society says that there are now 38 countries and territories moving forward with plain packaging, with 21 having adopted the measure, 3 having it in practice, and 14 working on it. 

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/Plain_packaging_momentum_continues_worldwide.56741.0.html

The report is at –

https://cdn.cancer.ca/-/media/files/about-us/media-releases/2021/cigarette-health-warnings-report/ccs-international-warnings-report-2021.pdf%3C/p%3E%3Cp%3E

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 12

Panama Covid-19 update – on 11 November, it was announced that 78.2% of the target population to be vaccinated (i.e. those over 12 years old) has the second dose and 88.2%, the first dose.

Another 229 new cases reported today, and 3 new fatalities. There are 26 patients in ICU nationwide, with 102 in other wards. The number of active cases shows a slight increase, from 1,582 yesterday to 1,665 today.

Meanwhile, another Martinelli update. Having just been acquitted (for the second time) for alleged illegal spying on rivals whilst President, and subsequently announcing plans to stand again for the Preidency in 2024, Ricardo Martinelli is preparing to face the courts again, as one of dozens of defendants in the so-called “New Business” case. A total of 34 people are accused of alleged money laundering in the purchase of the Editora Panama América (Epasa) group, allegedly with public funds. the postponed hearing will take place in January. in other news, it has been announced that his son, Luis, is to be extradited from Guatemala to the US on Monday,15 November, to face money laundering charges. the other son, Ricardo Alberto also remains in jail in Guatemala, with no word of when, or if, he will be extradited.

12 NOVEMBER 2021

TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL VIEW ON ACQUITTAL OF FORMER PRESIDNET MARTINELLI

On 11 November, Newsroom Panama reported that the Panamanian chapter of Transparency International has deplored the decision announced the acquittal of former President Ricardo Martinelli for the crimes of interception of telecommunications, monitoring, persecution, and surveillance without judicial authorisation.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/aquittal-039inconceivable-level-of-impunity039-transparency-international-1

https://www.prensa-latina.cu/2021/11/12/advierten-peligros-economicos-para-panama-por-fallo-de-tribunal

POLICE SCOTLAND’S DUTY OF DISCLOSURE TO PROFESSIONAL REGULATORS

On 9 November, an article from Clyde & Co LLP was concerned with a Court of Session case in which the court found Police Scotland to be mistaken in refusing to disclose material to the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS) as it was necessary on public safety grounds.  The GTCS regulates the teaching profession in Scotland, including investigating the fitness to teach of individuals who are on, or are seeking to join, the registers.  In the case records were requested from the police to investigate 7 teachers but were refused under the Data Protection Act 2018, with the police stating that there was no statutory basis for providing disclosure.  Precedent holds that it was not necessary for a court order to be obtained in order for a party to share personal data with a regulatory body for the purposes of misconduct or improper practice proceedings.  The court did not accept Police Scotland’s reliance on the Data Protection Act 2018 as showing there was a requirement for a court order, and Police Scotland should have disclosed the information to the GTCS. 

https://www.clydeco.com/en/insights/2021/11/police-duty-of-disclosure-to-regulator

EXTRADITION OF MEXICO GOVERNOR FROM US HIGHLIGHTS CATTLE AND MONEY LAUNDERING NEXUS

On 11 November, Mexico News Daily reported that the former governor of Chihuahua, César Duarte, may soon be on a flight home after a US judge approved his extradition to face charges of conspiracy and embezzling government funds, in a case that has shed light on the use of the country’s cattle industry to launder money.  Between 2011 and 2014, Duarte is accused of embezzling more than $5 million in government funds.  The embezzlement case against Duarte is said to offer a rare insight into how Mexico’s local cattle ranching unions — and the cattle industry in general — are exploited to launder illicit funds.

https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/analysis/duarte-extradition-cattle-money-laundering/

LIVERPOOL PROPERTY DEVELOPER ON DRUG AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

On 11 November, the Liverpool Echo reported that Jonathan Cassidy, 48, was a well-known figure in the city’s development community.  Jonathan Cassidy and his younger brother Jamie Cassidy were charged with drug and money laundering offences last year as part of the police investigation into the EncroChat phone network.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/liverpool-property-developer-drug-money-22134711

BULGARIA: MINISTER WARNS OF EU SANCTIONS RISK IF CHIEF PROSECUTOR REMAINS IN POST

On 12 November, EurActiv reported that the country’s caretaker justice minister has offered scathing criticism of Prosecutor-General Ivan Geshev, saying that unless he is removed, Bulgaria risks losing access to EU funding.   The prosecutor general was seen as the guardian of former prime minister Borissov who lost power in April, but Geshev is still in office.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/interview/bulgarias-justice-minister-this-chief-prosecutor-will-bring-us-eu-sanctions/

UNEXPLODED MUNITIONS AND CHEMICAL RESIDUES IN THE SEA

On 12 November, EurActiv reported a conference to be held on 17 November about the dangerous refuse that still litters sea beds.  Following the World Wars, many seas were used as ‘easy’ dumping grounds for unwanted chemical and conventional munitions from unused war stocks.  Munitions stocks still affect the Baltic Sea, the North Sea, the Adriatic Sea, the Japanese and Australian coastlines, and the Atlantic coast of the US and Canada.  The dumped munitions pose a threat to human life and the marine environment that endangers not only fishing and navigation but also the development of offshore energy, aquaculture, shipping, tourism and other sectors of the blue economy. 

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/opinion/unexploded-munitions-and-chemical-residues-in-the-sea-in-the-search-for-lasting-and-economically-viable-solutions/

EU EXPORTS SUPPORT 38 MILLION JOBS IN THE EU ACCORDING TO A REPORT ON JOBS AND TRADE

On 12 November, a new report from the European Commission shows just how important an open trade policy is for European employment. 

https://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/html/157516.htm

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_5904

TAIWAN: 2 EXECUTIVES OF KONG COMPANY BELIEVED TO HAVE CONSPIRED WITH CHINESE INTELLIGENCE NOT BE INDICTED DUE TO A LACK OF EVIDENCE

On 12 November, Focus Taiwan reported that 2 executives from a Hong Kong company believed to have conspired with Chinese intelligence will not be indicted for violations of Taiwan’s National Security Act due to a lack of evidence.  However, they remain barred from leaving Taiwan pending their ongoing court case related to money laundering.  The arrests had resulted from claims by a whistleblower in Australia, who said a company was a front for efforts by Chinese intelligence to target the democracy movement in Hong Kong and elections in Taiwan.

https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202111120010

CAMBODIA: 7 CONTAINERS OF EXPIRED GOODS FOUND IN CAPITAL

On 12 November, the Phnom Post reported that officials found a range of expired goods in the capital that had been stored in 7 shipping containers which were left unattended for nearly 2 years.  These containers were among 43 containers loaded with merchandise that were left out from October 2018 to June 2020.

https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/seven-containers-expired-goods-found-capital

MALTA: FORMER EU COMMISSIONER JOHN DALLI’S DAY IN COURT 

On 12 November, Lovin Malta reported that the day lasted less than an hour due to concerns that the former EU Commissioner could be immune from prosecution on an alleged €60 million bribe from a smokeless tobacco lobby. 

https://lovinmalta.com/news/john-dallis-day-in-court-lasts-one-hour-amid-concerns-of-immunity-over-e60-million-eu-bribery-scandal

CENTRAL BANK SAYS MONEY LAUNDERING RISK IN SAMOA MINIMAL

On 12 November, the Samoa Observer reported that the Central Bank of Samoa has released a statement claiming that the overall risk of money laundering in Samoa through the local commercial banks is minimal.  This is said to follow inspections by the FIU.

https://www.samoaobserver.ws/category/samoa/94541

NIGERIA: GTBANK ROLE IN INVESTMENT FRAUD – INTERPOL WARRANT FOR BUSINESSWOMAN

On 12 November, the People’s Gazette reported that businesswoman Munachim Onyia is said to have been declared wanted by the Interpol section of the Nigerian Police Force, following her involvement in an investment fraud.  She is alleged to have been involved in a Ponzi scheme, and is said to wanted for obtaining money under false pretence and pretending to be a staff member of the Central Bank of Nigeria.  Police also arrested Silas Babatunde, a marketing executive who was with Guarantee Trust Bank (GTB) at the time of the fraud.

https://gazettengr.com/interpol-declares-munachim-onyia-wanted-as-police-probe-gtbanks-role-in-n5-3-billion-investment-fraud

SPECIAL PROSECUTION ISSUES ARREST WARRANT FOR ALBANIAN OIL BUSINESSMAN

On 12 November, Exit News reported that the Special Prosecution against Corruption (SPAK) has issued an arrest warrant for Albanian oil businessman Rezart Taçi who is accused of money laundering.  This came after SPAK busted a money-laundering scheme organised by Italian, Swiss, and Albanian nationals.

https://exit.al/en/2021/11/12/special-prosecution-issues-arrest-warrant-for-albanian-oil-businessman

SOUTH KOREA: FINANCIAL WATCHDOG PUNISHES 3 BROKERAGES IN LIME FUND SCANDAL

On 12 November, the Yonhap News Agency reported that, once the country’s biggest hedge fund, Lime Asset Investment has been accused of selling and running fraudulent financial products and subsequently freezing fund redemption estimated at around $1.4 billion in 2019.  The 3 firms have been under investigation for using fabricated information and other illicit methods to solicit customer purchases of Lime products.

https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20211112009900320

UK: NEW TRANSFER REGULATIONS TO COMBAT PENSION SCAMS COMING INTO EFFECT ON 30 NOVEMBER

An article from Baker McKenzie on 12 November advised that the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) has published the final regulations which introduce additional conditions designed to prevent pension scheme members falling victim to scam transfers.  The article explains the new rules and the “red flags” and “amber flags” involved.  The firm says that the changes put trustees and their administrators are now very much at the frontline in terms of deciding which transfers can proceed without further checks and guidance and which transfers are potential scams and should be halted.

https://insightplus.bakermckenzie.com/bm/viewContent.action?key=Ec8teaJ9VarFYBeYEcuSgl7eOOGbnAEFKCLORG72fHz0%2BNbpi2jDfaB8lgiEyY1JMz1e2tr2Ki1sWg%2Fh4myq2Q%3D%3D&nav=FRbANEucS95NMLRN47z%2BeeOgEFCt8EGQ0qFfoEM4UR4%3D&emailtofriendview=true&freeviewlink=true

STRUCTURING TRADE FINANCE TRANSACTIONS USING SPV

On 11 November, an article from Sullivan & Worcester was concerned with what to consider before using a special purpose vehicle (SPV) in trade finance transactions.  It says that SPV have become increasingly commonplace in trade structures, particularly in the receivables finance sphere.  There is also a link to a webinar video featuring Sam Fowler-Holmes, a partner in the Trade & Export Finance Group at Sullivan’s London office.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/structuring-trade-finance-transactions-4022801/

US: THE HOBBS ACT – USED TO TARGET PUBLIC CORRUPTION, STREET GANGS, COMMERCIAL DISPUTES, AND UNION CORRUPTION

On 11 November, an article from Freeman Law considering this Act, a federal law that was enacted in 1946 and originally used to curtail racketeering in labour disputes, which was a common phenomenon at that time.  It increases the penalties associated with the criminal offenses of robbery and extortion, are any attempt to commit these crimes when they affect or impede interstate or foreign commerce in “any way or degree”.

https://freemanlaw.com/the-hobbs-act/

UK: OPEN GENERAL EXPORT LICENCE (MILITARY AND DUAL-USE GOODS: UK FORCES DEPLOYED IN EMBARGOED DESTINATIONS) UPDATED

On 12 November, the Department of International Trade advised that this OGEL had been updated to take account of the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 January.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/open-general-export-licence-military-and-dual-use-goods-uk-force-deployed-in-embargoed-destinations#history

US: PRESIDENT BIDEN SIGNS ACT WHICH CALLS FOR INCREASED SANCTIONS AGAINST THE NICARAGUAN LEADER DANIEL ORTEGA

On 11 November, Jurist reported that the President had signed the RENACER Act and had announced that new sanctions would be implemented quickly pursuant to the RENACER Act. 

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/11/biden-signs-act-increasing-sanctions-against-nicaragua-and-ortega-regime/

LUXEMBOURG OPENS CRIMINAL CASE INTO LEBANON’S CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR RIAD SALAME

On 12 November, OCCRP reported that the Luxembourg’s judicial authorities have joined Switzerland and France to become the third known European country to open a criminal case into Lebanon’s Central Bank Governor.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15490-luxembourg-opens-criminal-case-into-lebanon-s-central-bank-governor

REGIONAL COMPREHENSIVE ECONOMIC PARTNERSHIP (RCEP) – WORLD’S LARGEST TRADE DEAL TO TAKE EFFECT ON 1 JANUARY

On 12 November, an article from Out-Law advised that the trade deal will take effect following ratification by Asia-Pacific countries.  RCEP involves 15 Asia-Pacific countries and covers market access, rules and disciplines, and economic and technical cooperation. Once in effect, it will improve market access by removing tariffs and quotas on over 65% of goods traded, and make business predictable with common rules of origin and transparent regulations.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/world_s-largest-trade-deal-to-take-effect-on-1-january-2022

PODCAST: RANSOMWARE, RANDOM DEMANDS AND DETERMINING WHETHER TO PAY

On 11 November, an episode of Dentons Data in Conversation from Canada discusses the increase of ransomware demands; Karl will look into the industries that have been affected by the increase, when to involve your cybersecurity insurance provider and factors that could guide your business in determining whether to pay or not pay the ransom demands.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/newsletters/2021/november/11/dentons-data-in-conversation/episode-19-ransomware-random-demands-and-determining-whether-to-pay

UK: OPINION ON THE LATEST ROUND OF INSOLVENCY REGIME CHANGES IN THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS SECTOR

On 12 November, an article from Dentons is concerned with the Payment and Electronic Money Institution Insolvency (England and Wales) Rules 2021.  The article highlights the key provisions of the new regime, which contains an expanded toolkit and sets out 3 key objectives for the appointed special administrator to look to achieve.  It concludes that introduction of the Rules will provide clarity and certainty for those dealing with, and suffering from, insolvent payment institutions and electronic money institutions. 

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2021/november/12/new-dawn-or-more-of-the-same

4 MORE JAILED FOR CORRUPTION AT COSMODROME PROJECT IN RUSSIA’S FAR EAST

On 12 November, Rferl reported that a court has sentenced 4 people to lengthy prison terms after finding them guilty of embezzling $5.6 million during the construction of the country’s new Vostochny Cosmodrome in the Far East.  They were former executives and experts of construction companies.  A fifth person charged in the case remains at large. 

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-vostochny-cosmodrome-corruption/31558418.html

UK: NEARLY £230,000 OF SWEDISH BANKNOTES DISCOVERED IN A DEAD MAN’S BEDROOM MAY HAVE TO BE INCINERATED OR CONFISCATED UNDER AML RULES

On 11 November, The Times reported that a retired bookseller, left 3 million Swedish kronor in 2 old shoeboxes and a leather satchel when he died 3 years ago.  As the notes were no longer legal tender, his relatives tried to exchange them at a branch of Sweden’s central bank, but the bank refused to replace the money with valid banknotes, arguing that there was no adequate paper trail to prove that it came from legitimate sources.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bank-may-have-to-destroy-fortune-left-in-banknotes-dnkgkc96f

AUSTRALIA: PROPOSED UPDATES TO GUIDANCE ON REPORTING MULTIPLE CASH TRANSACTIONS – THRESHOLD TRANSACTION REPORTING (TTR) OBLIGATIONS

AUSTRAC has launched a consultation on updated draft guidance on reporting threshold transaction reports (TTR) when a customer makes multiple cash transactions.  The current rules require a reporting entity providing multiple services to a customer that add up to $10,000 or more to decide whether to treat these multiple services as a single reportable transaction or multiple transactions for the purposes of TTR reporting.  The consultation closes on 22 December.  Under the revised rules, reporting entities will not need to combine the transactions and submit a TTR, even if the transactions occurred closely together.

https://www.austrac.gov.au/consultations/proposed-updates-guidance-reporting-multiple-cash-transactions-threshold-transaction-reporting-ttr-obligations

ELEPHANT DNA HELPS AUTHORITIES MAKE $3.5 MILLION INTERNATIONAL IVORY TRAFFICKING BUST

On 10 November, CNN reported that DNA evidence helped authorities in the US and DRC seize more than a ton of illegal ivory, rhino horn and pangolin scales in a multimillion-dollar trafficking bust.

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/11/10/us/elephant-dna-ivory-arrests-scn-trnd/index.html

US: RUSSIAN CYBERCRIMINAL SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR DIGITAL ADVERTISING FRAUD SCHEME

A news release from US DoJ on 10 November advised that Aleksandr Zhukov was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment for perpetrating a digital advertising fraud scheme through which the defendant and his co-conspirators stole more than $7 million from US advertisers, publishers, platforms, and others in the US digital advertising industry.  The court also ordered Zhukov to pay $3,827,493 in forfeiture. Zhukov is a Russian national who was arrested in Bulgaria in 2018, was extradited to the US in 2019, having operated the criminal network 2014-16.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/russian-cybercriminal-sentenced-10-years-prison-digital-advertising-fraud-scheme

FRAUD VICTIMS FACE ‘REIMBURSEMENT LOTTERY’ FROM THEIR BANKS

On 11 November, The Guardian reported that scam victims are facing a “reimbursement lottery” when they ask their banks to compensate them for their losses, the consumer group Which? has claimed.  Three-quarters of customers who were turned down by their banks and took their cases to the financial ombudsman have been told that they should have received a pay-out, and the consumer group said with some banks this rose to 8 in 10.

https://www.theguardian.com/money/2021/nov/11/victims-face-reimbursement-lottery-from-their-banks

SOUTH KOREA: KakaoBank MONEY LAUNDERING SHORTCOMINGS

On 12 November, Verdict reported that South Korea’s financial market watchdog has warned KakaoBank, the country’s leading neobank, that it must fix its money laundering shortcomings.  It is said that the start-up’s weak AML practices has meant it has failed to take action against several cases of suspicious transactions.

https://www.verdict.co.uk/kakaobank-money-laundering/

REWARDS FOR INFORMATION TO BRING MEXICAN DRUG TRAFFICKERS TO JUSTICE

On 6 November, Homeland Security Today reported that the US Department of State is announcing reward offers of up to $5 million each for information leading to the arrest or conviction of 4 Mexican drug traffickers operating in the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Sinaloa.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/border-security/rewards-for-information-to-bring-mexican-drug-traffickers-to-justice/

OFAC: REMOVALS OF A NUMBER OF NAMES FROM DRUGS KINGPIN SANCTIONS LIST

On 12 November, OFAC advised a large number of deletions from its SDN List, including a number in Panama.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20211112

DANISH FSA SLAPS COUNTRY’S LARGEST COMMERCIAL PENSION SUPPLIER WITH INJUNCTIONS AFTER MONEY LAUNDERING VISIT

On 12 November, IPE Magazine reported that the Finanstilsynet, the Danish Financial Services Authority, has ordered PFA to supply information on customers using a certain pension product, following a money laundering inspection it carried out in May – issuing the €98 billion pension provider with 4 injunctions.  However, it assesses that the company’s inherent risk of being used for money laundering or terrorist financing is low – but had said it had ordered PFA to obtain identity information on all customers.

https://www.ipe.com/news/danish-fsa-slaps-pfa-with-injunctions-after-money-laundering-visit/10056315.article

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