OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 1

Panama Covid-19 update – hopefully not tempting fate in the light of the new variant, the media here reported that hospitalisations from Covid have slumped by 89.2% thanks to the vaccination programme.

Today sees 248 new cases reported and 1 new fatality; active cases show another rise, up 72 to 2,623; with 23 in ICU and 94 in other wards.

1 DECEMBER 2021

NEW CHINESE ANTI-BRIBERY GUIDELINE CALLS FOR BLACKLISTING AND EXPULSION OF FOREIGN COMPANIES THAT PAY BRIBES IN CHINA

On 29 November, Dechert LLP reported on a new anti-bribery Guideline that would “blacklist” companies found to have paid bribes there, barring them from doing business in the country.

https://www.dechert.com/knowledge/onpoint/2021/11/new-chinese-anti-bribery-guideline-calls-for-blacklisting-and-ex.html

US: FOREIGN STATE-OWNED BANK DOES NOT HAVE SOVEREIGN IMMUNITY FROM CRIMINAL PROSECUTION

On 30 November, a post from the Compliance and Enforcement blog at the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement from the New York School of Law reported that the outcome of a recent hearing involving Halkbank of Turkey before the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.  The Court ruled that the Turkish state-owned bank did not have sovereign immunity from criminal charges that it engaged in a conspiracy to launder $20 billion of Iranian oil and gas proceeds in violation of US sanctions.

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2021/11/30/second-circuit-rules-foreign-state-owned-bank-does-not-have-sovereign-immunity-from-criminal-prosecution/

SWITZERLAND DESIGNATES 4 SYRIAN GOVERNMENT MINISTERS AND DELISTS 1 FORMER LIBYAN OFFICIAL

On 1 December, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Switzerland had followed the EU in adding to its sanctions lists 4 Syrian government ministers who were appointed in August.  It also removed Baghdadi Al-Mahmoudi, who had been a prime minister of Libya under Colonel Gadafi, and who was delisted by the EU in November.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/12/switzerland-tracks-eu-syria-designations-libya-de-listing/

PANAMA SEEKS ELIMINATION OF YELLOW CARD IMPOSED BY THE EU FOR ILLEGAL FISHING

On 30 November, Panama America and others reported that Panama exports some 90% of its tuna to the EU and is seeking to have the “yellow card” warning from the EU imposed in the fight against illegal unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.  Panama has more than 8,000 boats and 275 Panamanian-flagged vessels in international waters with a fishing licence.  Under an EU Regulation, the EU Commission first issues a warning (yellow card), then if the country is still not complying, it will identify the country as non-cooperating (with a “red card”) and place it in the list of non-cooperating countries. Fisheries products from the country in question will then be banned from the EU market.

https://www.panamaamerica.com.pa/provincias/panama-busca-eliminacion-de-tarjeta-amarilla-impuesta-por-la-union-europea-por-pesca

http://www.iuuwatch.eu/map-of-eu-carding-decisions/

https://ec.europa.eu/oceans-and-fisheries/fisheries/rules/illegal-fishing_en

WHAT IS THE TRANSFER OF PERSONAL DATA?

On 1 December, an article from Bird & Bird reported on draft guidelines from the European Data Protection Board  on the interplay between the application of Article 3 and the provisions on international transfers as per Chapter V of the EU General Data Protection Regulation.  The draft guidelines are open to public consultation until the end of January.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/uk/what-is-the-transfer-of-personal-data-and-when-will-chapter-v-obligations-be-applicable

EUROPEAN MONEY MULE ACTION LEADS TO 1,803 ARRESTS

A news release from Europol on 1 December advised the conclusion of the AML Operation EMMA 7, an international action coordinated by Europol in cooperation with 27 countries.  The operation over 2½ months is said to have resulted in 1,803 arrests and the identification of over 18,000 money mules.  It also revealed that money mules were being used to launder money for a wide array of online scams such as sim-swapping, man in the middle attacks, e-commerce fraud and phishing.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/european-money-mule-action-leads-to-1-803-arrests

CHINA SHIPPING DATA FROM AIS LOSS COULD BE A ‘BREEDING GROUND’ FOR FRAUD

On 1 December, Global Trade Review reported that banks may struggle to detect fraud and comply with sanctions regulations, risking heavy fines and losses, due to a sudden inability to track thousands of vessels in Chinese waters since the last month, after a loss of data data transmitted through AIS receivers on the ground in China. It is said that operators of ground-based receivers have stopped the flow of AIS data out of the country in fear of running afoul of the new data privacy rules.

https://www.gtreview.com/news/asia/china-shipping-data-loss-could-be-a-breeding-ground-for-fraud/

UK BORDER FORCE SEIZES HUNDREDS OF ENDANGERED SPECIES PRODUCTS

As part of an international operation, Border Force advised in a news release on 30 November that it had seized over 250 products at the UK border containing endangered wildlife.  Items included live animals and corals, products including python skin and turtle shell, elephant tusks and ivory goods, as well as health products claiming to be slimming supplements containing cactus and orchid extracts and crocodile blood.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/border-force-seizes-hundreds-of-endangered-species-products

AUSTRALIA STOPS CRIMINALS FROM STEALING OVER $17 MILLION FROM PENSION FUNDS

On 30 November, OCCRP reported that Australian authorities say they prevented cyber criminals from stealing over $17 million from the country’s pension funds and launched a series of actions to stop further offshore money transfers.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15587-australia-stops-criminals-from-stealing-over-17m-from-pension-funds

UK: COMPANY LAW – HOW DO THE COURTS INTERPRET THE ARTICLES OF ASSOCIATION?

A blog post from Bloomsbury Professional says that a common problem with the articles of association is the addition of poorly drafted precedents with unambiguous terms.  In the process of establishing the intention of the parties, it is important to consider firstly the articles in terms of their contractual obligations.

https://law.bloomsburyprofessional.com/blog/company-law-how-do-the-courts-interpret-the-articles-of-association

THE DRUG SITUATION IN AFGHANISTAN 2021

The UN Office for Drugs and Crime has published this report containing the latest findings and emerging trends.  For example, it says that the 2021 opium harvest, completed in July, marked the fifth year in a row with production at historic highs of more than 6,000 tons, potentially yielding up to 320 tons of pure heroin to be trafficked to markets around the world.  Income from opiates in Afghanistan amounted to some $1.8-$2.7 billion in 2021.  However, much larger sums are accrued along illicit drug supply chains outside Afghanistan.  Taxes on opiates cultivation, production and trafficking represent a lucrative potential source of financing for non-state actors in the country.  In addition, the illicit drug economy has become increasingly complex, with methamphetamine manufacture in Afghanistan sharply increasing in recent years.

https://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/Afghanistan/Afghanistan_brief_Nov_2021.pdf

UK: THE TROUBLING CASE OF MR PARKER – SHOULD THE CONFISCATION REGIME BE REFORMED?

On 1 December, an Insight from Corker Bining says that the confiscation regime in Part 2 of POCA 2002 creates is wrought with issues in which the general public would be very interested if they ever found themselves at the wrong end of it.  The article looks at a case which demonstrates how the confiscation regime can spread its tentacles into the lives of innocent victims, with an underlying error that was recently diagnosed by the Law Commission, which is currently examining the confiscation regime.  It cautions that victims whose cases fall outside an indictment, perhaps because their case would have been harder to prove, are not eligible for compensation under the Act.

https://corkerbinning.com/the-troubling-case-of-mr-parker-should-the-confiscation-regime-be-reformed/

FCA ROLE UNDER THE PAYMENT SERVICES REGULATIONS 2017 AND THE ELECTRONIC MONEY REGULATIONS 2011 (UPDATED)

The FCA has released an updated version of this guidance, last updated in June 2019.  The new version contains udated guidance on safeguarding, prudential risk management, wind-down planning, open banking, and strong customer authentication.  There is also new guidance on the temporary permissions regime.  There are also minor changes to the Approach Document relating to the UK Brexit withdrawal from the EU.  The intention of the guidance is to provide a comprehensive picture of the payment services and e-money regulatory regime in the UK.  It also provides guidance for a practical understanding of the requirements, our regulatory approach, how businesses will experience regulatory supervision and the effect of Brexit on the payment services and e-money regulatory regime.

https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/finalised-guidance/fca-approach-payment-services-electronic-money-2017.pdf

AUSTRALIA: POST-LOCKDOWN BLITZ FINDS MILLIONS LAUNDERED THROUGH POKER MACHINES

On 30 November, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that a crackdown in New South Wales on money laundering through poker machines has identified more than $5.5 million in suspicious transactions in the previous 6 weeks alone as the state emerges from lockdown.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/post-lockdown-blitz-finds-millions-laundered-through-poker-machines-20211129-p59d3i.html

TAIWAN: CULTURAL HERITAGE OFFICIAL AND 5 OTHERS INDICTED IN BRIBERY CASE

On 29 November, Focus Taiwan reported that a senior Bureau of Cultural Heritage official and 5 other suspects have been indicted by the Changhua District Prosecutors Office for their involvement in a series of bribery cases dating back to 2016.  The charges relate to leaking secret public information unrelated to national defence, and bribes for arranging for a specific company to conduct underwater cultural heritage impact assessments for offshore wind developers.

https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202111290023

HMRC PAYS INFORMANTS £400,000 FOR TAX FRAUD TIP-OFFS

On 29 November, FT Adviser reported that HMRC paid informants £397,950 in rewards for tip-offs on tax fraud in the year ending March 2021.  Despite the fraud surge linked to the pandemic, the department still spent around £75,000 less on tip-offs than in the previous year.

https://www.ftadviser.com/regulation/2021/11/29/hmrc-pays-informants-400k-for-tax-fraud-tip-offs/

PAKISTAN’S BUILDERS AND DEVELOPERS NOW COVERED BY AML LAW

On 1 December, The Paypers reported that the authorities have imposed a condition on builders and developers under the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 regarding transfer and registration of property.

https://thepaypers.com/digital-identity-security-online-fraud/pakistans-builders-and-developers-now-conditioned-by-aml-law–1253140

RECENT ADDITIONS TO ENTITY LIST PART OF BROADER US EFFORT TARGETING SPYWARE

An article on Lawfare on 29 November is concerned with action which reflects the US Government’s accelerated efforts to target companies and individuals that provide offensive cyber services or exploits to certain foreign governments and foreign companies for uses that violate human rights.  New listings also demonstrate the Government’s willingness to adapt existing national security tools to address new priorities and highlight a key trend in the Biden administration — treating intelligence collection operations as a potential national security threat.  It explains that designating a company on the Entity List, which is administered by the Commerce Department Bureau of Industry and Security, can cripple a company because it empowers the US Government to restrict parties from accessing US-origin products or technology.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/recent-additions-entity-list-part-broader-us-effort-targeting-spyware

EU “PUBLIC” COUNTRY-BY-COUNTRY REPORTING DIRECTIVE PUBLISHED 

On 1 December, KPMG reported that the EU published on 24 November the text of EU Directive 2021/2101/EU.  It enters into force on 21 December and Member States then have until 22 June 2023 to transpose the Directive into domestic legislation, and the rules will apply, at the latest, from the commencement date of the first financial year starting on or after 22 June 2024.  The new rules require multinational groups with a total consolidated revenue of €750 million to report information on all members of the group (including non-EU members) within 7 key areas, including profit or loss before tax and tax paid.  Reports are to be published in an EU Member State business register, but also on the companies’ websites, where the reports are to remain accessible for at least 5 years. 

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2021/12/tnf-eu-public-cbc-reporting-directive-published-eu-official-journal.html

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2021.429.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:429:TOC

INVESTIGATION FINDS FOOTBALL FRIENDLIES AT GREATER RISK OF MANIPULATION

On 1 December, iGB reported that a lack of regulatory oversight puts friendly matches in football at greater risk of match-fixing, according to a new report.  The report found suspicious activity in more than 250 friendlies involving European clubs.

https://igamingbusiness.com/investigation-finds-football-friendlies-at-greater-risk-from-manipulation

PODCAST: MARK PIETH ON THE GLOBAL GOLD TRADE

In the latest TRACE podcast, Professor Mark Pieth joins the podcast to discuss his recent book, “Gold Laundering: the Dirty Secrets of the Gold Trade – and how to clean up”.  He outlines the many problems, including child and trafficked labour, environmental degradation, violence, and corruption.  He also addresses some modest steps forward and how, in spite of the considerable challenges, more progress can be made.

https://www.traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

UKRAINE IMPOSES SANCTIONS ON 28 EMPLOYEES OF RUSSIA’S SPECIAL SERVICES

On 18 November, Reuters reported that Ukraine has imposed sanctions on 28 employees of the Russian special services and they will be banned for 3 years from using their assets in Ukraine, transferring capital, transiting goods or taking part in privatisation auctions, according to the decree.  Ukraine has already imposed sanctions on thousands of Russian entities since relations between Kyiv and Moscow collapsed in 2014.

https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/ukraine-imposes-sanctions-28-employees-russias-special-services-2021-11-18/

https://www.president.gov.ua/documents/5842021-40649

EU CUSTOMS: MODERN RISK MANAGEMENT SYSTEM TO HELP CUSTOMS AUTHORITIES EXCHANGE REAL-TIME INFORMATION

On 1 December, the EU announced that it had launched a new Customs Risk Management System (CRMS2), which will officially start operating on 1 January and facilitates the real-time exchange of risk-related information between customs administrations.  It covers a broad range of possible risks, such as security risks related to explosives, safety risks related to health, the environment or product safety, financial and commercial risks including intellectual property rights and cash controls. 

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/measures-customs-risk-management-framework_en

SEYCHELLES PROSECUTING ITS FIRST MAJOR MONEY LAUNDERING CASE – AGAINST AN INFLUENTIAL COUPLE WHO FEATURE AMONG THE WEALTHY ELITES IN THE PANDORA PAPERS

In its 2 December edition, ICIJ reported that one of the Seychelles’ wealthiest and most powerful men, Mukesh Valabhji, faces years behind bars for allegedly laundering $50 million.  Police arrested Valabhij last month when he alighted from his helicopter, on his return from a hotel he owns on the private island of Felicite, and later seized weapons at his home.  A former adviser to a former President, he was arrested on suspicion of the embezzlement and laundering of millions of dollars donated to the Seychelles government by UAE.  Transparency advocates see the case as a landmark effort by the Seychelles to cast off its reputation as a financial crime and corruption hotspot.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/massive-money-laundering-probe-heartens-anti-corruption-activists-but-fails-to-lift-pandora-papers-pall-over-seychelles/

JUNKET OPERATOR CHAIRMAN ALVIN CHAU RESIGNS PENDING LEGAL PROCEEDINGS THAT INVOLVE ALLEGATIONS OF ILLEGAL GAMBLING AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 1 December, Market Watch reported that the chairman of Suncity Group Holdings Ltd of Macau, who is also a controlling shareholder of Macau’s largest junket operator, was among 11 people held for questioning in Macau after mainland China police issued a warrant for his arrest.

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/junket-operator-suncity-s-group-chairman-resigns-271638398116

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MONEY LAUNDERING TYPOLOGIES & RED FLAGS: INDICATORS OF MONEY LAUNDERING RELATED TO TAX EVASION

On 30 November, the FIAU in Malta issued this typology factsheet.

https://fiaumalta.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/FIAU-Factsheet-Typologies-Red-Flags-Indicators-of-Tax-Related-ML.pdf

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FATF CONSOLIDATED AML/CFT ASSESSMENTS

On 30 November, following the publication of an update report on Turkey, FATF released an updated version of its consolidated schedule of all AML/CFT assessment ratings to date.

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

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OFAC: 5 NAMES ADDED TO TERRORISM SANCTIONS LIST AND AMENDMENTS TO VENEZUELA-RELATED SANCTIONS LIST – INCLUDES DELISTING OF FARC

On 1 December, OFAC advised that FARC-EP and another Colombian entity, Segunda Marquetalia, have been added to the counter-terrorism sanctions lists; together with 3 individuals linked to the 2 entities.  At the same time a number of deletions, including the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (aka FARC), have been made.  A number of existing entries relating to Venezuela, FARC-EP and Segunda Marquetalia have been amended.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20211201

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ILLICIT ENRICHMENT: A GUIDE TO LAWS TARGETING UNEXPLAINED WEALTH

This e-book from the Basel Institute on Governance is made up of 5 parts –

  • Part 1 draws from international treaties and legislation from around the world to provide a basic definition of the core concept of illicit enrichment, as well as an overview of what constitutes an ‘illicit enrichment law’;
  • Part 2 provides an in-depth overview of the various approaches taken by legislative bodies in different jurisdictions to address illicit enrichment. It covers the key similarities and differences between illicit enrichment laws from different jurisdictions, outlining how legislators from different countries have drafted their laws to target different categories of wealth and people;
  • Part 3 provides guidance to investigators and prosecutors on how illicit enrichment can be, and has been, proven or disproven. It includes a summary of the fundamental facts of illicit enrichment that need to be established by the concerned parties in either criminal or civil courts;
  • Part 4 provides guidance to legal practitioners on the common legal challenges that arise regarding the adoption and use of illicit enrichment legislation; and
  • Part 5 consists of external contributions. 3 of these overviews provide practitioner insights into the illicit enrichment mechanisms in Mauritius, Kenya and Peru.  Another contribution provides a brief overview of the unique proceeds of crime-focused mechanism currently operating in Ireland. The final contribution analyses the challenges that may arise during the investigation and prosecution of illicit enrichment cases with an international element, and specifically the problems practitioners may need to anticipate when seeking mutual legal assistance in this context.

2 Annexes involve a compilation of illicit enrichment legislation and other relevant legislation’; and a technical guide for practitioners.

https://learn.baselgovernance.org/pluginfile.php/51644/mod_resource/content/8/Illicit_Enrichment_Main-Text-PDF-pages.pdf

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WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT THE NEW OECD ANTI-BRIBERY RECOMMENDATION

On 30 November, a post on the FCPA Blog said that the OECD has adopted a new, updated Recommendation with the potential to significantly enhance the global enforcement of bribery of foreign public officials in international business.  It looks at what is new – warning that changes in the revised Recommendation are not cosmetic; they are profound and lasting ones that could result in a dramatic shift in the enforcement environment.

https://fcpablog.com/2021/11/30/practice-alert-what-to-know-about-the-new-oecd-anti-bribery-recommendation/

https://baselgovernance.org/blog/oecd-recommends-anti-corruption-collective-action-its-revised-anti-bribery-recommendation

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PROSECUTION OF SANCTIONS (RESTRICTIVE MEASURES) VIOLATIONS IN NATIONAL JURISDICTIONS – A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS

The EU Genocide Network and Eurojust have published this report which is structured in 3 sections –

  • an overview of UN and EU sanction regimes;
  • a presentation of national cases in the EU concerning sanctions violations and complicity of corporate actors in core international crimes; and  
  • an overview of national legislation and penalties for sanctions violations.

An Annex provides detailed information on the relevant legislation of each state covered, including type of offences (criminal or administrative) and maximum sentence or fine.

https://www.eurojust.europa.eu/sites/default/files/assets/genocide_network_report_on_prosecution_of_sanctions_restrictive_measures_violations_23_11_2021.pdf

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UK: CONTEMPT CASE AGAINST RUSSIAN OLIGARCH REVIVED BY COURT OF APPEAL

On 30 November, the Law Society Gazette reported that contempt proceedings against a Russian oligarch have been revived by the Court of Appeal, which held that the High Court applied the wrong legal test when ruling that the application was an abuse of process.  Vladimir Chernukhin, a Russian former deputy finance minister, sought to have Oleg Deripaska committed for contempt of court, claiming he deliberately put millions of pounds’ worth of his shares in EN+ Group ‘beyond the reach’ of the English courts.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/contempt-case-against-russian-oligarch-revived-by-coa/5110759.article

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WORLD BANK GROUP 2021 ANNUAL REPORT ON ITS SANCTIONS SYSTEM

On 30 November, Steptoe & Johnson LLP reported that the World Bank had issued in October a report covering the Bank’s fiscal year from 1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021.  It notes that Since this January, the list of companies and individuals barred from World bank projects (or barred by other development banks, whose action is also replicated by the World Bank) for fraud or corruption includes a description of the practice for which the business or individual has been sanctioned.  It is also remarked that the World Bank does sanction “public officials” (i.e. individuals taking or reviewing selection or procurement process decisions), but not “government officials”, who remain beyond its remit.  During the year covered, the Bank received a higher number of complaints (over 4,000) but opened fewer investigations.

https://www.steptoe.com/en/news-publications/world-bank-group-2021-annual-report-on-sanctions-system-highlights-enforcement-trends-key-issues-and-issues-guidance-on-integrity-audits.html

The report is at –

http://documents.worldbank.org/curated/en/284891634566178252/World-Bank-Group-Sanctions-System-FY21

Its sanctions system is explained at –

https://www.worldbank.org/en/about/unit/sanctions-system

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 30

Panama Covid-19 update – no cases of the omicron variant, so far, as Brazil reported that first cases in Latin America.

On the other hand, with possibly better news, the health ministry here reported that only 0.02% of those vaccinated to date have had an adverse reaction (800 for Pfizer, 54 for AstraZeneca). Most cases were of mild or moderate reactions,  with the largest symptom reported being headache (195), followed by fever (154), dizziness (87) and weakness (74). A report says that there were 5 reports of deaths after the administration of the vaccine. However, it says, it should be taken into account that the cases occurred in elderly people with underlying diseases, except for one for which no further details were provided, and a review of individual reports and reporting patterns does not suggest that the vaccine influenced death.

Meanwhile, another 134 new cases and 2 new fatalities reported today; with the number of active cases rising by 83 to 2,551, with 23 in ICU and 93 in other wards.

30 NOVEMBER 2021

LIBYA ELECTION PANEL REJECTS GADDAFI’S SON AS PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE

On 24 November, Reuters reported that Libya’s election commission has said that Saif al-Islam Gaddafi, the son of the former ruler and a major candidate in December’s planned presidential election, was ineligible to run, compounding the turmoil surrounding the vote.

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/libya-election-commission-rules-out-25-presidential-candidates-source-says-2021-11-24

ESG FOR BEGINNERS

On 10 November, an article from Browne Jacobson LLP says that ‘ESG’ stands for environmental, social and governance and it has grown into a larger concept that can be applied more broadly to any business or practice.

https://www.brownejacobson.com/training-and-resources/resources/blogs/2021/11/esg-for-beginners

FAILURE TO DISCLOSE – NEW CPS GUIDANCE IS A SERIOUS RISK FOR LAWYERS

On 25 November, an article from Jonathan Bray says that solicitors and law firms need be aware of recent CPS prosecution guidance update.  It has potentially extended the reach of the ‘failure to disclose’ money laundering offence. 

https://www.mondaq.com/uk/money-laundering/1135260/failure-to-disclose-new-cps-guidance-is-a-serious-risk-for-lawyers

INCREASED TRAFFICKING IN COUNTERFEIT MEDICINES: COUNTRIES URGED TO RATIFY MEDICRIME CONVENTION

A news release from the Council of Europe on 30 November advised that its Convention on the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes involving threats to public health (the MEDICRIME Convention) will mark its 10th anniversary on 2 December.  This comes in a context of escalating trafficking in medicines and medical products linked to the Covid-19 pandemic (fake vaccines or masks that can turn out to be ineffective or dangerous for their users) as well as in other products, such as anti-cancer drugs or painkillers.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/increased-trafficking-in-counterfeit-medicines-countries-urged-to-ratify-medicrime-convention

NO IMMUNITY FOR MEMBER OF THE GENERAL COUNCIL AND THE GOVERNING COUNCIL OF THE EUROPEAN CENTRAL BANK (ECB) FOR FRAUD, CORRUPTION OR MONEY LAUNDERING NOT CARRIED OUT BY SUCH A GOVERNOR IN HIS OR HER OFFICIAL CAPACITY

A news release from the European courts advised that, in a case from Latvia dating from 2018, where a criminal authority finds that the conduct investigated by it of a governor of a central bank of an EU Member State was manifestly not committed by that governor in his or her official capacity, proceedings against him or her may be continued since immunity from legal proceedings does not apply.

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2021-11/cp210214en.pdf

THE SYRIAN CIVIL WAR: TIMELINE AND STATISTICS 

On 29 November, the House of Commons Library published a briefing which provides a timeline and statistics, and discusses the continuing role of foreign powers in the country, the potential for further fighting, and the prospects for a negotiated peace.

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-9381/CBP-9381.pdf

EU PROSECUTORS ORDER 12 ARRESTS IN CIGARETTE SMUGGLING PROBE IN ITALY

On 30 November, the Luxembourg Times reported that a speedboat and €16,000 cash was also seized during the investigation, led by branch of Luxembourg-based European Public Prosecutor’s Office.  They have been arrested in Italy on suspicion of €3.5 million cigarette smuggling plot, and are suspected of organising a large-scale smuggling scheme for counterfeit cigarettes, bringing them from Tunisia to the island of Sicily.

https://www.luxtimes.lu/en/european-union/eu-prosecutors-order-12-arrests-in-cigarette-smuggling-probe-61a6004bde135b92361a03db

DEALERS IN THAILAND FACING TAX EVASION CHARGES AMOUNTING TO MILLIONS ON LUXURY CARS IMPORTED FROM UK

On 30 November, Car Dealer Magazine reported that 114 dealers in Thailand are facing tax evasion charges amounting to millions of pounds on luxury cars imported from the UK.

https://cardealermagazine.co.uk/publish/dealers-in-thailand-facing-tax-evasion-charges-amounting-to-millions-on-luxury-cars-imported-from-uk/245202

ADDRESSING THE EFFECTS OF ECONOMIC CRIME: TURNING VISION INTO STRATEGY

On 30 November, a Commentary from RUSI says that dirty money undermines trust and confidence in democracy and damages the UK’s reputation, and asks how should the government respond?

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/addressing-effects-economic-crime-turning-vision-strategy

HONG KONG SEIZES 27 MILLION SUSPECTED ILLICIT CIGARETTES

On 27 November, OCCRP reported that customs had said they seized approximately 27 million “suspected illicit cigarettes” during a raid on an industrial complex in the island’s Tuen Mun region and arrested a 31-year-old man.  This year alone has seen Hong Kong’s authorities seize more than 347 million illicit cigarettes, a 70% increase from last year’s total.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15584-hong-kong-seizes-27-million-suspected-illicit-cigarettes

AFTER TAKING OVER BELARUS’ TOBACCO INDUSTRY, OLIGARCH DONATED LUXURY CARS TO LUKASHENKO REGIME

An article from OCCRP on 29 November said that, in 2018, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko radically restructured the country’s tobacco industry to benefit his close crony Aliaksei Aleksin, who until then had been better known as an energy tycoon.  Just months after receiving these favors, Aleksin made a pricey gift of 9 cars and motorcycles to Lukashenko’s bodyguard service, OCCRP has found. The donations, worth an estimated $1.5 million. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/soon-after-taking-over-belarus-tobacco-industry-oligarch-donated-luxury-cars-to-lukashenko-regime

UK: LAW COMMISSION TO REVIEW THE ARBITRATION ACT 1996

On 30 November, the Law Commission, which advises on new and amended legislation, announced a review which aims to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of international dispute resolution.  It says that, with the Act now 25 years old, reform may be required to make sure that the Act is as effective as possible, particularly as other jurisdictions have enacted more recent reforms to their own respective arbitration legislation.  The Law Commission will launch the review during the first quarter of 2022 and aims to publish a consultation paper in late 2022.

https://www.lawcom.gov.uk/law-commission-to-review-the-arbitration-act-1996/

INTERPOL-WCO OPERATION STRIKES WILDLIFE AND TIMBER TRAFFICKING NETWORKS

A news release from Interpol on 30 November advised that a worldwide enforcement operation against wildlife and timber crime coordinated by INTERPOL and the World Customs Organisation (WCO) has disrupted crime networks and seen hundreds of arrests worldwide. Codenamed Thunder 2021, the month-long operation in October involved customs, police, FIU and wildlife and forestry enforcement agencies in 118 countries: the largest number of participating countries since the annual operation started in 2017.  Thousands of cars, trucks and cargo ships suspected of transporting protected wildlife and timber were searched at checkpoints in all regions, often with specialist sniffer dogs and X-ray scanners.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2021/Global-arrests-and-seizures-INTERPOL-WCO-operation-strikes-wildlife-and-timber-trafficking-networks

US CUSTOMS OFFICIALS SEIZE NEARLY 4,000 BONGS AT DC AIRPORT

On 27 November, CNN reported that officials seized a shipment of almost 4,000 bongs worth $56,000 from China at Washington Dulles International Airport.

https://edition.cnn.com/2021/11/27/us/dulles-cbp-seize-bongs-trnd/index.html

HONG KONG: CUSTOMS FOUND 8 HAIR DYE PRODUCTS TO BE UNSAFE

On 30 November, The Standard in Hong Kong reported that Customs had seized 8 different types of hair dye products after finding that they contained bacteria up to 38 times the limit permitted by law.  1,688 units of the affected products were seized from a wholesaler.

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/4/183724/Customs-found-eight-hair-dye-products-to-be-unsafe

GERMAN TAX COLLECTORS CONTINUE TO TARGET US AIRMAN AFTER HE RETURNS TO AMERICA

On 24 November, Military.com reported on an ongoing matter, saying that German authorities have fined a recently retired US airman for not paying German income taxes on his military pay, described as a legally questionable move showing that even after active-duty personnel return to civilian life in the US, the German authorities might continue its pursuit.  The State Department has said that local tax offices are misinterpreting the NATO Status of Forces Agreement by forcing US personnel to pay German income taxes and penalties.  Marriage to a German citizen, extending tours, buying property, owning a German specification car and sending a child to a German school could indicate interests in the country and make the serviceman/woman liable for German tax, according to the German authorities.  It is said that in no other country where large numbers of troops are based do US personnel face the risks encountered by those in Germany.

https://www.military.com/daily-news/2021/11/24/german-tax-collectors-continue-target-us-airman-after-he-returns-america.html?ESRC=airforce_211130.nl

IRAN RESUMES PRODUCTION OF ADVANCED NUCLEAR PROGRAMME PARTS

On 16 November, Iran Watch from the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control reported that Iran restarted production at a centrifuge manufacturing plant that the IAEA has been unable to monitor since it was damaged in an alleged act of sabotage in June. 

On 22 November, Iran Watch published an article says that, as a result of illicit imports and domestic development since the late 1980s, Iran now possesses thousands of gas centrifuges, which are the mainstay of its nuclear programme.  These machines enable Iran to enrich uranium to a level suitable for nuclear reactor fuel, or to a higher level suitable for nuclear weapons.  A new report provides a technical description of Iran’s centrifuges and estimates the contribution each is likely to make to Iran’s ability to enrich uranium.  It also reviews the testing and production history of centrifuge models, explores possible choke points in their continued development, and assesses the implications of Iran’s growing mastery of centrifuge design and manufacturing.  It points out that, to make fuel for nuclear weapons, Iran would need to produce weapon-grade uranium, which is usually defined as uranium enriched to at least 90% in the uranium isotope U-235.  Considering the implications for weapons production, it says that the concern about advanced centrifuges operating secretly has been reinforced by the declining level of access by the IAEA to Iran’s centrifuge production and storage locations.

https://www.iranwatch.org/news-brief/iran-resumes-production-advanced-nuclear-program-parts-diplomats-say

OFAC EXTENDS VENEZUELAN SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENSE TO JUNE

On 24 November, OFAC issued General License 8I which extended to 22 June permission for certain authorised transactions and activities incidental to the maintenance of essential operations for certain specified entities and involving Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PdVSA).  The specified entities being the Chevron Corporation; Halliburton; Schlumberger Limited; Baker Hughes Holdings LLC; and Weatherford International PLC.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/venezuela_gl8i.pdf

GUATEMALA FILES MORE CHARGES AGAINST ANTI-CORRUPTION EX-PROSECUTOR

On 30 November, News 18 in India reported that prosecutors have filed further charges against Juan Francisco Sandoval, who fled to the US in June.  They appear to be the latest attempt to stymie anti-corruption efforts.

https://www.news18.com/news/world/guatemala-files-more-charges-against-ex-prosecutor-4504931.html

CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADER PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD

A news release from the US DoJ on 30 November advised that Jeremy Spence, 25, aka “Coin Signals”, a cryptocurrency trader who solicited over $5 million from more than 170 individual investors for various cryptocurrency funds that he operated, after making false representations, had pleaded guilty in New York.   

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/cryptocurrency-trader-pleads-guilty

CZECH POLICE DETAIN BELARUSIAN SOCCER CHIEF

On 30 November, Rferl reported that Czech police have detained the chairman of the Football Federation of Belarus, Uladzimer Bazanau and his wife, for illegally entering the country.  Bazanau, an ally of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, is on a sanctions list of the EU’s Baltic Member States, and the Czech Republic supports the sanctions.  The Czech Foreign Minister has been quoted as saying that Bazanau and his wife would be deported if they were in the country.

https://www.rferl.org/a/belarus-soccer-chief-czech/31587410.html

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