OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 6

Panama Covid-19 update – Panama has updated its Red List of coutries again – it is worth noting that while it does not include the US, it does include a number of European countries – including Ireland, the Channel Islands, Germany, Netherlands, Austria and the UK (but not France or Spain). This is in addition to banning travellers from South Africa and 7 other African states.

Meanwhile, today no new fatalities reported but 178 new cases logged. The number of active cases is up again, by 47 to 2,888; but hospital numbers are down, with just 13 in ICU nationwide and 87 in other wards.

6 DECEMBER 2021

UK: FREEZING INJUNCTIONS AND FOREIGN JUDGMENT

On 2 December, an article from ParrisWhittaker says that a key ruling offers a greater opportunity for applicants for to secure a freezing order (Mareva injunction) in support of foreign proceedings or judgments.  The important ruling in a BVI case from the Privy Council in the UK paves the way for a wider approach to the granting of freezing injunctions.  The key issue concerned the jurisdiction of the BVI courts to grant and serve out of the jurisdiction freezing orders in support of foreign proceedings.

https://parriswhittaker.com/freezing-injunctions-and-foreign-judgment

GERMAN COURT DISMISSES A CLAIM FROM A PLAYER TO RECOUP LOSSES THAT OCCURRED BEFORE ONLINE GAMBLING WAS LEGALISED

On 3 December, iGB reported that the plaintiff had played online casino games from an operator based in Malta, before Germany legalised online gambling.  It was argued that because online play was illegal at the time, they were entitled to reimbursements on losses they had made. This is the first appeal judgement at any of Germany’s regional courts in this type of case.

https://igamingbusiness.com/german-regional-court-rejects-player-loss-reimbursement-appeal

US: MARIJUANA BANKING REFORM IN DEFENCE BILL ON THE BRINK OF COLLAPSE AS DEMOCRATS SPLIT

On 2 December, The Intercept reported that, with some members demanding an all-or-nothing approach to cannabis reform, consensus legislation may be axed from the National Defense Authorization Act.  The Secure and Fair Enforcement, or SAFE, Banking Act would shield national banks from federal criminal prosecution when working with state-licensed marijuana businesses.

https://theintercept.com/2021/12/02/marijuana-democrats-safe-banking-defense-bill

BLACKWATER FOUNDER ERIK PRINCE SUES THE INTERCEPT OVER RUSSIAN MERCENARY REPORT

On 2 December, The Intercept reported that Erik Prince has filed a defamation lawsuit in a New York federal court after an earlier suit in Wyoming was dismissed.He has suedover an article published in 2020 that examined his alleged efforts to sell military services to a sanctioned Russian mercenary company, the Wagner Group.

https://theintercept.com/2021/12/02/erik-prince-blackwater-lawsuit-intercept

EU COURT JUDGMENTS IN 4 SYRIAN SANCTIONS APPEALS

On 6 December, the EU Sanctions blog reported on 4 recent decisions by the EU General Court.  It upheld 2 appeals against listing (Bashar Assi and Khaldoun Al Zoubi) and dismissed the others.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/12/4-eu-court-judgments-on-syria-sanctions-de-listings/

INDIA: AMBERGRIS IN HIGH DEMAND AMONG SMUGGLERS

On 6 December, the New Indian Express reported that this commodity (aka “whale vomit”) is a highly sought-after ingredient in many lucrative businesses.  A Forest Department official said that as there is no proper awareness among the fishermen and the public, smuggling is slowly on the rise; and said that the majority of the consignment is sent to Sri Lanka from where it is redirected to other countries such as Indonesia and France.

https://www.newindianexpress.com/states/tamil-nadu/2021/dec/06/ambergris-in-high-demand-among-smugglers-stringent-rules-sought-2392284.html

NIGERIA: ISLAMIC STATE’S WEST AFRICA PROVINCE (ISWAP) TERROR FINANCING NETWORK

On 6 December, This Day Live reported on a report by the Inter-governmental Action Group on Money Laundering in West Africa (GIABA), the regional FATF-style body, that the terror group moved a large annual revenue through the Nigerian financial system to fund its activities.  The federal government was criticised for its failure to track the movement of funds by the terrorist groups, Boko Haram and ISWAP, through the country’s financial system.  The report accused intelligence and anti-graft agencies, notably, the Department of State Services (DSS) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) of failure to trace and stop terror financing.

https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2021/12/06/outrage-as-ecowas-report-uncovers-iswaps-n18bn-terror-financing-network/

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/499354-nfiu-reacts-to-ecowas-giaba-report-on-iswaps-money-laundering-activities-in-nigeria.html

NIGERIA: BANKER AND WIFE ACQUITTED OF BEC FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

On 6 December, the Guardian in Nigeria reported that the Lagos State High Court has acquitted Rowly Isioro and Ovuomarhoni Naomi Isioro and dismissed the 7-count charge of money laundering charges brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).  They had been arrested in 2019, accused of alleged involvement in business email compromise (BEC) fraud and money laundering, following a referral from the FBI.

https://guardian.ng/news/banker-wife-acquitted-of-money-laundering-charges/

FinCEN LAUNCHES REGULATORY PROCESS FOR NEW REAL ESTATE SECTOR REPORTING REQUIREMENTS TO CURB ILLICIT FINANCE

A news release from FinCEN on 6 December advised that it is seeking public comment for 60 days on a potential rule to address the vulnerability of the US real estate market to money laundering and other illicit activity.  It says that the systemic money laundering vulnerabilities presented by the US real estate sector, and consequently, the ability of illicit actors to launder criminal proceeds through the purchase of real estate, threatens US national security and the integrity of the US financial system. The proposed new rule will assist FinCEN in preparing a proposed rule that would enhance the transparency of the domestic real estate market on a nationwide basis and protect the US real estate market from exploitation by criminals and corrupt officials.

https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/2021-12/RE_ANPRM_FRN_120321_FINAL_508.pdf

UK: GHOST INSURANCE BROKER WARNING

On 6 December, Professional Security Magazine reported on a warning about fraudsters selling fake car insurance on social media, from the industry body the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).  It has reported 21,169 fraudulent motor insurance policies to insurers in the past 12 months which could be linked to the scam.

https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/transport/ghost-broker-warning

VISITING THE UK AS A CREATIVE PROFESSIONAL FROM A NON-VISA NATIONAL COUNTRY

On 6 December, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport published information for entertainers and musicians, from non-visa national countries, such as EU Member States and the US, visiting the UK for performance and work.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/visiting-the-uk-as-a-creative-professional-from-a-non-visa-national-country

GOVERNMENT SUPPORT CUSHIONS TAX REVENUES IN OECD COUNTRIES FROM THE WORST IMPACTS OF THE COVID-19 CRISIS

On 6 December, a news release from the OECD announced that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on tax revenues was less pronounced than during previous crises, in part due to government support measures introduced to support households and businesses, according to new OECD research. 

https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/government-support-cushions-tax-revenues-in-oecd-countries-from-the-worst-impacts-of-the-covid-19-crisis.htm

PANAMA SERVES AS LATEST GATEWAY FOR DRUGS TO EUROPE

On 3 December, Insight Crime published an article saying that authorities in Panama are intercepting massive loads of cocaine at ports and in coastal waters, showing how the country is increasingly becoming a major transit hub for drugs as traffickers seek new routes to Europe.  Panama has seized 177 tons of cocaine and marijuana this year.

https://insightcrime.org/news/panama-serves-as-latest-gateway-for-drugs-to-europe/

UN SECURITY COUNCIL RENEWS AUTHORISATION FOR INTERNATIONAL NAVAL FORCES FIGHTING PIRACY OFF COAST OF SOMALIA

A news release from the UN on 3 December advised that the Security Council has renewed for an additional 3 months its authorisation for States and regional organizations cooperating with Somalia to use all necessary means to fight piracy off the coast of the East African country.

https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/sc14717.doc.htm

MISSING $50 MILLION CASE IN SEYCHELLES SPLIT IN 2: MONEY LAUNDERING AND WEAPONS CHARGES

On 4 December, the Seychelles News Agency reported that the $50 million in aid was granted to the Seychelles’ government by the UAE in 2002. The fund was transferred to a bank account of the Seychelles Marketing Board (SMB), in a bank in the UK. The suspects include a former government official who was one of the directors of the Compagnie Seychelloise de Promotion Hôtelière (COSPROH), an entity set up to manage state-owned hotels and tourism properties through long and short-term agreements.

http://www.seychellesnewsagency.com/articles/15934/Missing++million+case+in+Seychelles+split+in+two+money+laundering+and+weapons+charges

HOW CRIMINALS ARE USING SYNTHETIC IDENTITIES FOR FRAUD

On 3 December, Dark Reading says that organisations must improve their cybersecurity protocols to detect fraudulent identities and make sure they’re safeguarding their consumers’ personal information.  It warns that synthetic identity fraud was already a problem before the COVID-19 pandemic shifted spending and work online.

https://www.darkreading.com/edge-articles/how-criminals-are-using-synthetic-identities-for-fraud

UK: CANNABIS FARM FOUND IN FORMER MAGISTRATES’ COURT NEXT DOOR TO POLICE STATION

On 1 December, the Liverpool Echo reported that a cannabis farm with 1,022 plants has been found by Cheshire police growing in a former magistrates’ court next door to a police station in Runcorn.

https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/huge-cannabis-farm-found-former-22318925

FBI SAYS CUBA RANSOMWARE GANG MADE $43.9 MILLION FROM RANSOM PAYMENTS

An article from The Record on 3 December reported that, according to the FBI, the operators of the Cuba ransomware have earned at least $43.9 million from ransom payments following attacks carried out this year; and compromised at least 49 entities in 5 critical infrastructure sectors, including but not limited to the financial, government, healthcare, manufacturing, and information technology sectors.

https://therecord.media/fbi-says-the-cuba-ransomware-gang-made-43-9-million-from-ransom-payments/

US: PRIVATE INVESTMENTS, PUBLIC HARM

The FACT Coalition, Global Financial Integrity, and Transparency International’s US Office have jointly issued this Report, saying that the US private investment industry offers a perfect confluence of factors that make it an ideal place to hide and launder the proceeds of corrupt and criminal activity – it is large (and holds more than $11 trillion dollars in assets); it is opaque (HNWI funds do not have the same reporting requirements as public equity and retail funds marketed for ordinary investors); and it is complex.

https://thefactcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Private-Investments-Public-Harm-How-the-Massive-and-Opaque-US-Private-Equity-Industry-Fuels-Corruption-and-Threatens-National-Security.pdf

AMAZON IS MAKING ITS OWN CONTAINERS AND BY-PASSING SUPPLY CHAIN CHAOS WITH CHARTERED SHIPS AND LONG-HAUL PLANES

On 6 December, Hellenic Shipping News reported that, for years, Amazon had been quietly chartering private cargo ships, making its own containers, and leasing planes to better control the complicated shipping journey of an online order.  Now, as many US retailers panic over supply chain chaos, Amazon’s costly early moves are helping it avoid the long wait times for available dock space and workers at the country’s busiest ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles.  This season, a handful of other major retailers — Walmart, Costco, Home Depot, Ikea and Target — are also chartering their own vessels to bypass the busiest ports and get their goods unloaded sooner.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/amazon-is-making-its-own-containers-and-bypassing-supply-chain-chaos-with-chartered-ships-and-long-haul-planes/

GLOBAL ESG INITIATIVES PUT COMPLIANCE OFFICERS ON STEEP LEARNING CURVE

On 6 December, a post on the FCPA Blog warns that hew rules and requirements on the tracking, verification, and reporting of likely a wide range of material ESG elements will be compulsory for companies in those jurisdictions subject to the standards.  It is said that one of the first tasks of anyone who may deal with the new standards as a compliance officer or in another role is to understand a new and sometimes confusing international ESG lexicon, and it provides a brief guide.

https://fcpablog.com/2021/12/06/global-esg-initiatives-put-compliance-officers-on-steep-learning-curve/

IRELAND: EXECUTIVE APPEALS AGAINST TRIAL ON ALLEGED FRAUD OFFENCES THAT MAY HIT €1 MILLION

On 6 December, the Irish Times reported that a former director of corporate finance at financial firm Cantor Fitzgerald Ireland for 5 years had sought a judicial review on the decision to bring criminal proceedings against him on the grounds that the length of time that it took to prosecute him for the alleged offences (said to have taken place 2008-13, he was charged in 2019) meant his right to a fair trial would be breached.  The High Court rejected his request but he is now appealing that decision.  The alleged offences concern individuals who wanted to invest in property in the US.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/financial-services/executive-opposes-trial-on-alleged-fraud-offences-that-may-hit-1m-1.4748445

PANDORA PAPERS UNVEIL EX-PUTIN AIDE, INDIAN BUSINESSMEN BEHIND MALDIVES ISLAND SCANDAL DEALS

OCCRP has issued a report claims that a former deputy chief of staff for Russian leader Vladimir Putin, as well as a wealthy Russian businessman with reputed organized crime ties, were secretly involved in the illegal leasing of a lagoon for tourist developments in the Maldives.  Documents reveal that a venture fund found to have been financed by Evgeny Novitsky, and run by former Putin aide Kirill Androsov, was behind a 2015 deal to obtain the rights to develop a resort in the Indian Ocean archipelago nation.  Novitsky has consistently denied any links to organised crime.

https://www.occrp.org/en/the-pandora-papers/pandora-papers-unveil-ex-putin-aide-indian-businessmen-behind-maldives-island-scandal-deals

NEW ZEALAND: AML/CFT RISK RATINGS CONFIRMED FOR BUSINESS SECTORS

In its 7 December edition, Stuff reported that a new report by the Financial Markets Authority (FMA) has found that derivatives issuers and cryptocurrency service providers are in the high-risk category for meeting AML/CFT obligations.  This is in the assessment just published by the FMA.

https://fma.govt.nz/assets/Reports/AML-Sector-Risk-Assessment-2021.pdf

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/BU2112/S00159/amlcft-risk-ratings-confirmed-for-sectors-under-fma-supervision.htm

LA FASHION DISTRICT COMPANY OWNER SENTENCED TO A YEAR IN PRISON FOR COMMITTING CUSTOMS VIOLATIONS AND TAX OFFENCES

A news release from US DoJ on 6 December announced that the owner of a wholesaling company in the Fashion District of downtown Los Angeles has been sentenced today to 12 months and 1 day in federal prison for scheming to undervalue imported garments and avoid paying millions of dollars in duties to the US, failing to report millions of dollars in income on tax returns, and failing to report large cash transactions to the federal government.  Sang Bum “Ed” Noh, 67, of Bel-Air, owns Ambiance Apparel.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/los-angeles-fashion-district-company-owner-sentenced-one-year-prison-committing-customs

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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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