OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 9

Panama Covid-19 update – if the data in the press today is correct, the total number of active cases has fallen today – after a couple of weeks of slowly rising numbers – down 71 to 3,018. The numbers of those in hospital have risen by 3 – 2 of whom are in ICU. All this makes it hard to get a firm picture of what is, or might be, going on. Anyway, there were 189 new cases and 1 new fatality being reported today; with 15 in ICU and 96 in other wards.

9 DECEMBER 2021

POST-SHIPMENT ON-SITE INSPECTIONS OF MILITARY MATERIEL: CHALLENGES AND RESPONSES

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has published a Policy Brief which is intended to inform the various national processes currently underway that are connected to the adoption and implementation of on-site inspections as well as ongoing discussions within the UN Arms Trade Treaty about their role in helping to prevent diversion of military materiel. The brief examines the concerns raised and challenges encountered by states in connection with adopting, requiring, and conducting on-site inspections and provides examples of practices that have been used in response.  The brief also outlines how on-site inspections can be adopted and deployed in ways that help to promote cooperation between exporters and importers in preventing diversion of military materiel.

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2021-12/pb_2112_on-site_inspections.pdf

GIBRALTAR: THE COMING INTO FORCE OF THE LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS ACT 2021 AND THE PROTECTED CELL LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS ACT 2021

An article from Hassans on 7 December says that the new statutory framework is intended to guarantee the modernisation of the funds industry in Gibraltar ensuring that the jurisdiction remains robust and innovative in the provision of financial services. 

https://www.gibraltarlaw.com/press-release/new-limited-partnerships-act-and-protected-cells-partnership-act-are-breakthroughs-for-the-gibraltar-funds-industry/

https://views.gibraltarlaw.com/post/102hdwe/new-legislation-a-breakthrough-for-the-gibraltar-funds-industry

UN INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION DAY – SHIPPING LEADS THE WAY

On 9 December, Seatrade Maritime News said that over the last 10 years, the Maritime Anti-Corruption Network (MACN) has grown from a handful of shipping companies opposed to corruption, into one of the world’s most successful private sector anti-corruption initiatives.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/opinions-analysis/un-international-anti-corruption-day-shipping-leads-way

DENMARK – GLOBAL BRIBERY OFFENCES GUIDE

On 6 December, an article from DLA Piper explains that, in Denmark, bribery, as with other types of misconduct such as embezzlement and fraud, are considered acts of corruption. The Danish Criminal Code does not use the term corruption or bribery, but criminalises corrupt acts, including bribery. 

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2019/09/bribery-offenses-guide/denmark/

TANKER SUSPECTED OF SMUGGLING FUEL FLEES FROM RHODES

On 9 December, Ekathimerini reported that a tanker suspected of carrying smuggled fuel which had been stopped by port officers in Rhodes had fled.  The Eirini 1, sailing under the flag of Guyana with a crew of Indian nationals, had made a stop in Rhodes to buy spare parts when authorities discovered the fuel. 

https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1173440/tanker-suspected-of-smuggling-fuel-flees-from-rhodes/

US PLACES CAMBODIA UNDER ARMS EMBARGO

On 9 December, The Standard in Hong Kong reported that the US has ordered an arms embargo on Cambodia, citing deepening Chinese military influence, corruption and human rights abuses by the government and armed forces.

https://www.thestandard.com.hk/breaking-news/section/3/184244/U.S-places-Cambodia-under-arms-embargo,-blames-China’s-influence

MINING BILLIONAIRE BENY STEINMETZ ARRESTED AT ATHENS AIRPORT

On 9 December, BNN Bloomberg reported that the Israeli mining billionaire convicted of bribery in January by a Swiss court, was arrested by Greek police last month when the private jet he was on landed at Athens airport. He was sentenced in absentia to 5 years in prison by the Romanian Supreme Court for his role in an illegal property scheme with a local businessman in Bucharest. 

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/mining-billionaire-beny-steinmetz-arrested-at-athens-airport-1.1693334

5 ARRESTS IN FINNISH INVESTIGATION TARGETING RIGHT-WING EXTREMISM

A news release from Interpol on 9 December advised that Finnish police have  dismantled a right-wing extremist cell suspected of preparing a crime with terrorist intent.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/media-press/newsroom/news/five-arrests-in-finnish-investigation-targeting-right-wing-extremism

US HAS SEIZED 2 LARGE CACHES OF IRANIAN ARMS, INCLUDING SURFACE-TO-AIR AND ANTI-TANK MISSILES INTENDED FOR THE HOUTHI MILITIA IN YEMEN

On 9 December, Eurasia Review reported that the US seized 2 large caches of Iranian arms, including 171 surface-to-air missiles and 8 anti-tank missiles, intended for the Houthi militia in Yemen, after 2 vessels were intercepted in the Arabian Sea during routine maritime security operations. 

https://www.eurasiareview.com/09122021-us-foils-smuggling-of-iranian-arms-headed-for-yemens-houthis/

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/united-states-prevails-actions-seize-and-forfeit-iranian-terror-group-s-missiles-and

FORMER MALAYSIAN PM FACES 12 YEARS IN JAIL AND $50 MILLION FINE FOR CORRUPTION

On 8 December, the Khaleej Times reported that a Malaysian court has upheld former premier Najib Razak’s conviction on corruption charges over a multi-billion dollar scandal at state fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), dealing a blow to his hopes of a political comeback.  Najib was appealing a 12-year prison sentence and $50 million fine imposed by Kuala Lumpur High Court last year for criminal breach of trust, abuse of power and money laundering, one of 5 trials he is facing over corruption allegations.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/world/former-malaysian-pm-faces-12-years-in-jail-50-million-fine-for-corruption

5 SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN KUWAIT OVER HEZBOLLAH FINANCING CHARGES

On 2 December, Al Arabiya News reported that 5 suspects had been arrested in Kuwait for financing Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah group, bringing the total number accused to date to 23.

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2021/12/02/Five-suspects-arrested-in-Kuwait-over-Hezbollah-financing-charges

On 26 November, Reuters reported that Indonesia’s counterterrorism squad has arrested 24 people on suspicion of fundraising for Jemaah Islamiah (JI), the Al-Qaeda linked extremist group accused of carrying out some of the country’s biggest militant attacks.  The suspects had been collecting funds for JI via 2 Islamic charitable foundations.  JI is accused of orchestrating the 2002 Bali bombing of 2 nightclubs, which killed more than 200 people, including many Australians, and several other deadly attacks in the capital Jakarta.

https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/indonesia-arrests-24-people-over-links-extremist-financing-2021-11-26/

HOW RESERVE CURRENCIES HAVE EVOLVED OVER 120 YEARS

On 9 December, Visual Capitalist published an animated graphic, saying that over the last 120 years, the popularity of different reserve currencies have ebbed and flowed, reflecting the shifting fortunes of leading global economies.  For example, in the year 1900, the US dollar and pound sterling made up 0% and 62% of global reserves respectively. But fast forward to 2020, and the pound now represents just 4.7% of global currency reserves, while the US dollar stands at nearly 60%.

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/cp/how-reserve-currencies-evolved-over-120-years/

GREEN LIGHT FOR CANNABIS LEGALISATION IN GERMANY IS NOT A CLEAR-CUT DECISION

On 6 December, the RAND Corporation published an article saying that the new coalition government in Germany has said that it is to regulate the sale of cannabis to adults for recreational purposes in licensed shops. In taking this step, Germany would join a wave of cannabis reform initiatives that has swept the globe. However, it is said international experience has shown that great care is needed in how cannabis policy is shaped.

https://www.rand.org/blog/2021/12/green-light-for-cannabis-legalisation-in-germany-is.html

On 9 December, Bass Berry & Sims made available an article from World ECR examining the history and current trajectory of the Entity List, part of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) administered by the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) to help protect US national security.  The article outlines the history of the Entity List and discuss the need for a just and transparent removal mechanism.

https://www.bassberry.com/wp-content/uploads/entitiy-lists-export.pdf

HOW TO ENSURE THAT YOUR EU GOODS WILL MOVE SMOOTHLY THROUGH GB PORTS IN 2022

On 8 December, the Institute of Export and International Trade released a 1-hour webinar, saying that, from 1 January, import declarations are required for all goods entering Britain from the EU and customs checks will begin on these goods.  At the same time, the UK Government begins to implement its ‘pre-lodgement’ model at some ports so you’ll need to use the online Goods Vehicle Movement Service (GVMS) to ‘pre-lodge’ required declarations with HMRC before they board a ship heading to Britain.  It is said that that it is imperative one understands the new obligations in advance of transporting EU goods into Britain, and customers understand their obligations too.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBH0Tdi3Yjo

5 TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2022 US FEDERAL CORRUPTION PROSECUTION

On 8 December, an article from Greenberg Traurig lists its 5 predictions for 2022 – a major crackdown on foreign corruption; more frequent and effective cryptocurrency-related cases; emphasis on “Yates memo” corporate cooperation; increased FCPA prosecutions in Latin America; and significant increase in prosecutions in mid-2022.

https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2021/12/published-articles/5-trends-to-watch-in-2022-federal-corruption-prosecution

TURKEY INTERCEPTS 1.5-TON SKUNK CANNABIS SHIPMENT FROM ALBANIA

On 7 December, Daily Sabah reported that the drug was being smuggled into the country from Albania, and 3 suspects were detained in connection with the shipment discovered in the Dalaman district.

https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/investigations/turkey-intercepts-15-ton-skunk-cannabis-shipment-from-albania

GANGS ‘NOW USING IRELAND AS MAIN ROUTE TO SMUGGLE MILLIONS OF EURO WORTH OF COCAINE INTO UNITED KINGDOM’

On 6 December, the Irish Mirror reported that Ireland is now the main supplier of Britain’s cocaine – because of Brexit, a leading expert has warned, saying that cartels are increasingly using Ireland as a transit route for massive UK cocaine consignments.

https://www.irishmirror.ie/news/irish-news/gangs-now-using-ireland-main-25630898

WCO: RESULTS OF INTERNATIONAL CRACKDOWN ON THE ILLICIT TRADE IN MEDICINES, VACCINES AND MEDICAL DEVICES RELATED TO COVID-19

A news release from the WCO on 7 December said that, from 30 April to 30 September, the World Customs Organisation (WCO) ran the largest-ever Customs-led global operation involving 146 Member Customs administrations, with the support of a number of international organisations, to crack down on the illicit trade in medicines, vaccines and medical devices related to COVID-19.  The results of Operation STOP II were announced on 7 December during a global webinar.  A total of 2,360 cases of trafficking were reported by 83 Members and some 3,434 cases of seizures recorded.  Of the 365.7 million units seized, 195.5 million were medicines related to COVID-19 (ivermectin, doxycycline, pregabalin, etc.), 156.7 million were medical devices (COVID-19 test kits, face masks, used gloves, sanitiser gel, oxygen cylinders, etc.) and around 13.5 million were doses of COVID-19 vaccines.

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2021/december/illicit-trafficking-linked-to-covid19-successful-outcomes-of-wco-operation-stop-ii.aspx

US SANCTIONS ON LONG-TIME TRAFIGURA PARTNER – ANGOLA’S GENERAL DINO

On 9 December, BNN Bloomberg reported that OFAC has imposed sanctions on a former Angolan military general who has been a longstanding partner of Trafigura Group, accusing him of corruption and embezzlement.  Leopoldino Fragoso do Nascimento, commonly known as “General Dino”, was a close associate of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled for about four decades until 2017.  Among the entities designated by the US as being owned or controlled by General Dino was Cochan Holdings LLC, which has a 3.26% stake in Trafigura’s fuel station business, Puma Energy.  He has also been the trading house’s partner in DT Group, an Africa-focused infrastructure and logistics unit. 

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/u-s-slaps-sanctions-on-long-time-trafigura-partner-general-dino-1.1693646

CENTRAL BANK OF CYPRUS €790,000 FINE FOR BANK OF CYPRUS FOR VIOLATION OF CERTAIN PROVISIONS OF THE LAW RELATING TO MONEY LAUNDERING

On 9 December, the Cyprus Mail reported that the decision related to findings made in 2018 and 2019, in that the Bank of Cyprus had failed to comply with certain provisions of the ‘Prevention and suppression of money laundering activities and financing of terrorism’ law.  No further details were given.

https://cyprus-mail.com/2021/12/09/central-bank-fines-boc-e790000-over-aml-violations

MAYOR OF PUERTO RICAN CITY IS CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION BY FEDERAL AUTHORITIES

On 9 December, the Miami Herald reported that federal authorities had arrested and charged the mayor of the Puerto Rican city of Guaynabo with accepting payoffs, amid a public corruption crackdown that has resulted in the arrest of multiple public officials and contractors in recent weeks.  Ángel Pérez Otero was first elected Guaynabo’s mayor in 2017.

https://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/article256452966.html

$104,000 IN GOLD AND SILVER BARS SEIZED IN NORTHERN ONTARIO DRUG INVESTIGATION

On 9 December, CTV News reported that a man is facing drug trafficking and money laundering charges after a raid uncovered suspected cocaine and oxycodone along with cash and gold and silver bars.  Poiice also seized more than 16 grams of suspected cocaine, suspected oxycodone pills, several digital scales, a money counting machine and a pick-up truck.

https://northernontario.ctvnews.ca/104k-in-gold-silver-bars-seized-in-northern-ont-drug-investigation-1.5700746

BIMCO LAUNCHES NEW CONTRACT FOR EMPLOYMENT OF SECURITY ESCORT VESSELS

On 9 December, Insurance Marine News reported that the Documentary Committee of independent shipowner association BIMCO has approved a new standard contract, SEV-GUARDCON, for security escort vessels (SEV).

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/bimco-launches-new-contract-for-employment-of-security-escort-vessels/

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https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

UN: ILLEGAL SPORTS BETTING NEARS $1.7 TRILLION ANNUALLY

On 9 December, BNN Bloomberg reported that illegal betting on sports may approach $1.7 trillion annually and is often used by criminals to launder money, according to a report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.  It says that the increasing number and types of bets are complicating efforts by law enforcement to squash illegal wagering, as is a proliferation of rogue online operators using cryptocurrencies to disguise who is gambling.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/illegal-sports-betting-nears-1-7-trillion-annually-u-n-says-1.1693602

https://www.unodc.org/res/safeguardingsport/grcs/section-9_html/SPORTS_CORRUPTION_2021_S9.pdf

UK REMOVES 2 INDIVIDUALS FROM IRAQ SANCTIONS LIST

On 9 December, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that it had followed the UN in removing Mahmud Dhiyab AL-AHMED and Husam Muhammad Amin AL-YASSIN from the Iraq sanctions lists.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1039687/Notice_Iraq_091221.pdf

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OFAC: US GLOBAL MAGNITSKY HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS – NEW LISTINGS AND 1 AMENDMENT

On 9 December, OFAC announced that it had added 7 individuals and 8 entities to its Global Magnisky sanctions list, and also amended the entry for Ashraf Seed Ahmed AL-CARDINAL.  The individuals and entities across several countries in Central America, Africa, and Europe have been designated pursuant to Executive Order 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and targets perpetrators of corruption and serious human rights abuse.  The corruption involved is said to be related to Covid-19 and that in El Salvador, Guatemala, South Sudan, Liberia, Angola and Ukraine.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20211209

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0523

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THE UK’S KLEPTOCRACY PROBLEM

On 8 December, Chatham House published a research paper showing how a post-Soviet elite has weakened the rule of law, and saying that the growth of London as a centre for financial and professional services coincided with the collapse of the USSR and the rise of post-Soviet kleptocracies in the 1990s.  These states and their elites have since become a major source of clients for UK-based services firms and of investors in UK assets.  It details how the UK is ill-equipped to assess the risk of corruption from transnational kleptocracy, which has undermined the integrity of important domestic institutions and weakened the rule of law.  It concludes by calling for the UK government to adopt a new approach to this problem focused on creating a hostile environment for the world’s kleptocrats.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/2021/12/uks-kleptocracy-problem

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

PREVENTING THE EXPLOITATION OF EMERGENCY AND DISASTER SUPPORT PAYMENTS

In Australia, AUSTRAC has produced a guide which provides financial indicators to help financial services businesses to detect and report potential fraud and misuse of taxpayer funds through Services Australia administered emergency and disaster payments.

https://www.austrac.gov.au/sites/default/files/2021-12/AUSTRAC_PreventingExploitationEmergencyDisasterSupportPayments_20211208.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 8

Panama Covid-19 – “Mother’s Day” in Panama today, a public holiday here. Let’s hope it doesn’t spark an increase in cases, after family het-togethers…

In better news (for us, triple-jabbed Pfizer types), is a New York Times article saying that lab tests suggest we are protected (or better protected) against the omicron variant…

On the other hand, the number of active cases has risen by 94 to over 3,000, at 3,089; and test results (with another 7,904 tests today) show a consistently (relatively) high positive result (compared to previous averages) of over 4%, with 4.2% of the most recent batch proving to be positive. Only 1 new fatality, but 338 new cases reported today, but hospital statistics continue modest, with still only 13 in ICU and 95 in other wards.

8 DECEMBER 2021

THE UK’S TRADE AGREEMENTS – INTERACTIVE MAPS

On 3 December, Travers Smith LLP published 2 interactive maps, saying that the UK currently has free trade agreements in force with over 60 countries and is in the process of negotiating new trade agreements with a number of other territories.  These have much criticised in some quarters, for either being “cut and paste” reworkings of former EU agreements, or having new elements that adversely affect UK sectors, such as agriculture.  One of the 2 maps is concerned with Bilateral Investment Treaties or BIT which give investors from the UK protection where they make an investment in the “host state” (i.e. the other party to the BIT).

https://www.traverssmith.com/knowledge/knowledge-container/the-uks-trade-agreements-interactive-maps/

AUSTRALIA RETURNS ILLEGALLY SMUGGLED BRONZE AGE ARTEFACT TO PAKISTAN

On 8 December, the Express Tribune reported that the government of Australia has returned a Bronze Age iconic artefact – the first time that an object of cultural heritage from Pakistan was returned by the Australian government under the UNESCO Convention.  The object was secretly excavated from Balochistan and illegally smuggled out of the country.  It was purchased online by an Australian resident from a seller in the US and exported to Australia in July 2020, but was intercepted.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/2332974/australia-returns-illegally-smuggled-bronze-age-artifact-to-pakistan

DRUG SMUGGLING BUST: 6 AIR NEW ZEALAND WORKERS CHARGED

On 8 December, Radio New Zealand reported that police say Auckland Airport has been targeted by a syndicate smuggling drugs from the US.  14 people, including 6 baggage handlers working for Air New Zealand have been charged today after a 6-month joint operation with Customs.

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/national/457486/drug-smuggling-bust-six-air-new-zealand-workers-three-king-cobra-members-charged

SMUGGLED CHINESE CIGARETTES INCREASINGLY REACH LATIN AMERICA

On 7 December, Diálogo reported that smuggled Chinese cigarettes are flooding Latin America through a network of Panama-based shell companies that ship enormous quantities to the region.  According to an OCCRP study of June, these Panama-based companies would have links to the China National Tobacco Corporation (CNTC), flooding countries like Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil with CNTC brands such as Golden Deer and Silver Elephant.  The cigarettes are sold with labels in Spanish, suggesting that they are specifically produced for Latin America, although Chile is the only country where it is legal to sell them.

https://dialogo-americas.com/articles/smuggled-chinese-cigarettes-increasingly-reach-latin-america/#.YbClyZHMKM8

HAWALA SHADOW PAYMENT SYSTEM ON RISE AMONG EUROPEAN PEOPLE SMUGGLERS

On 7 December, US News reported on a growing use of an informal financial network, known as hawala, by smugglers operating as far north as the UK.  The payment network, which operates largely without an easily traceable paper trail, helps smugglers mask transactions from authorities and avoids the risks of taking cash across borders.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2021-12-07/shadow-payment-system-on-rise-among-european-people-smugglers

GERMANY: MAJOR NATIONWIDE RAIDS TARGET HUMAN SMUGGLING RING

On 8 December, Deutsche Welle reported that German federal police and customs have searched premises linked to some 20 suspects allegedly involved in the smuggling of foreign workers into Germany.  The raids are linked to around 20 people suspected of organised crime, including forging official documents, human trafficking and illegal employment, according to the police. 

https://www.dw.com/en/germany-major-nationwide-raids-target-human-smuggling-ring/a-60053208

BILLIONAIRE MICHAEL STEINHARDT TO RETURN STOLEN ARTIFACTS WORTH $70 MILLION

On 7 December, Inside Edition reported that an American billionaire and hedge fund manager, Michael Steinhardt, 81, has to return stolen artifacts worth about $70 million, and has been banned for life from buying antiquities.  Many of the rare items Steinhardt had in his possession were removed from their countries of origin during times of war or civil unrest, prosecutors said.

https://www.insideedition.com/billionaire-michael-steinhardt-to-return-stolen-artifacts-worth-70m-71745

REPORT: UK AML MEASURES NEED COMPLETE RESET

On 8 December, the Guardian reported that non-policed and often unenforceable anti-corruption laws have made the UK the global money-laundering capital for a post-Soviet Union elite, severely damaging the UK’s international reputation and the rule of law, the London-based thinktank Chatham House has said in a report.  It calls for new measures to constrain what it described as a near-self-regulated army of professional enablers – accountants, lawyers and reputation managers – that service Russian criminals in the UK.

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2021/dec/08/uks-anti-money-laundering-measures-need-complete-reset-says-report

BELARUS TO BAN WESTERN FOOD IMPORTS FROM JANUARY

On 8 December, EurActiv reported that Belarus has said that it was imposing a ban on imports of foods from a number of Western countries after the US and Europe widened sanctions on the country amid a severe crisis in ties.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/europe-s-east/news/belarus-to-ban-western-food-imports-from-january/

INFORMAL AND ILLEGAL ACTIVITIES IN BRAZIL AMOUNT TO $232 BILLION

On 8 December, the Rio Times reported that the informal economy is equivalent to 16.8% of the Brazilian GDP, and is also similar to the entire GDP of countries like Peru or New Zealand.

https://www.riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/brazil/informal-and-illegal-activities-in-brazil-amount-to-us232-billion-equivalent-to-perus-gdp

LONDON INSURANCE BROKER NOT LIABLE FOR ABN AMRO COCOA FRAUD PAY-OUT

On 8 December, Global Trade Review reported that a London insurance broker is no longer liable for part of a £31.3 million suffered by Dutch bank ABN Amro in a commodities finance arrangement that came unstuck. The UK Court of Appeal has reversed a High Court ruling last year that found trade risk specialist Edge Brokers was liable for £3.3 million owed by 2 underwriters to ABN Amro.  They had said that they were kept in the dark about an add-on to the policy taken out by ABN Amro and should not be required to pay out.

https://www.gtreview.com/news/europe/insurance-broker-off-hook-for-abn-amro-cocoa-fraud-payout-2

US SLAPS SANCTIONS ON UGANDAN SPY CHIEF ABEL KANDIHO

On 8 December, the Tower Post reported that Major General Abel Kandiho, the commander of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI), has been designated by OFAC over human rights abuse allegations’

https://thetowerpost.com/2021/12/08/us-slaps-sanctions-on-ugandan-spy-chief-abel-kandiho

UK NOTICE TO EXPORTERS 2021/14: UPDATES TO THE EXPORT CONTROL REGIME

On 8 December the Department for International Trade advised that a Notice to Exporters had been published and sets out changes to the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria and forthcoming changes to military end-use controls.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-exporters-202114-updates-to-the-export-control-regime/nte-202114-updates-to-the-export-control-regime

MOST UK SMALL IMPORTERS UNPREPARED FOR 1 JANUARY EU-GB CUSTOMS CHANGES

On 8 December, Lloyds Loading List reported that the Federation of Small Businesses says that most small UK import businesses remain unprepared for the latest post-Brexit changes on 1 January, when EU goods exported to Great Britain will require full customs declarations at the point of arrival.

https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/Most-UK-small-importers-unprepared-for-1-January-EU-GB-customs-changes/80467.htm#.YbC5ZZHMKM8

ONE TOY’S JOURNEY THROUGH THE SUPPLY CHAIN CRISIS: FROM CHINESE FACTORY TO UK CHILD’S STOCKING

On 8 December, the Guardian published an entertaining article which tracks the shortages and supply chain blockages that will affect the festive season this year.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/ng-interactive/2021/dec/08/one-toys-journey-through-the-supply-chain-crisis-from-chinese-factory-to-uk-childs-stocking

FARC DISSIDENTS FIRST TO BE CHARGED UNDER NEW COLOMBIAN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW

On 8 December, Insight Crime reported that Colombia is rolling out a new strategy to fight deforestation, including charges for those causing environmental devastation.  This follows developments which include a dedicated anti-deforestation police force and reinforced online monitoring to track the illegal sales of flora and fauna. Enhanced protection is also to be provided for activists and community leaders.  The Attorney General has announced charges against 3 men and accused them of “fomenting the destruction of Colombia’s Amazon” and “promoting deforestation in zones of special ecological importance”.

https://insightcrime.org/news/deforestation-colombian-amazon-conundrum-that-goes-beyond-farc-dissidence/

NETHERLANDS: DATA-SHARING COALITION HELPS FLAG VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

On 8 December, an article from Out-Law says that police in the Netherlands have been able to get a deeper understanding of human trafficking after studying insights from data shared by NGO.  A coalition used multi party computation (MPC) technology, which allowed information on human trafficking in the sex industry to be shared by the NGO with the police without the police ever having access to the source data. Use of the technology to enable responsible data sharing helped to bring new victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking to the attention of the police.  It says that the EU Data Governance Act would set a governance framework to promote confidence in data sharing between organisations and incentivise the development of EU data spaces where natural and legal persons are in control of data they generate, including a proposal is the idea that access to data be facilitated by third-party ‘data sharing service providers’.  These data intermediaries will be required to maintain neutrality and comply with strict requirements, including not being permitted to use the data for their own interest.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/data-sharing-coalition-helps-flag-victims-of-human-trafficking

AUSTRALIA: CONSTRUCTION BOSS TO FACE SUPREME COURT TRIAL OVER ALLEGED TAX FRAUD SYNDICATE

On 7 December, The Australian reported that George Alex, 50, and his son Arthur Alex, 23, as well as a number of co-accused, have been committed to stand trial in the Supreme Court over the alleged criminal syndicate operated between July 2018 and 2020 in both New South Wales and Queensland.  The alleged fraud used legitimate construction labour-hire firms and related payroll operators to defraud the Australian Taxation Office of $17.5 million, and police allege the money was laundered through offshore companies.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/breaking-news/construction-boss-to-face-supreme-court-trial-over-alleged-tax-fraud-syndicate/news-story/9b99e9c9d50bfaebb17a23c42369279f

VIETNAM POLICE SAYS THAT THEY HAVE BUSTED A $3.8 BILLION CRYPTO GAMBLING RING

On 6 December, The Star in Malaysia reported that police have detained 59 people tied to the biggest illegal online gambling ring ever uncovered by Vietnamese authorities, according to state-owned broadcaster VTV.  It is said that gamblers in the ring registered cryptocurrency wallets on a foreign platform called Remitano to buy cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum or USDT, also known as Tether, then would use the crypto to gamble on websites.  Ho Chi Minh City Police also detained items including 40 laptops, 79 cellphones, ATM cards, vehicles and cash worth more than $130,000, according to the report.

https://www.thestar.com.my/aseanplus/aseanplus-news/2021/12/06/vietnam-police-bust-us38-billion-crypto-gambling-ring-says-state-owned-broadcaster-vtv

EU COUNCIL RENEWS HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS AGAINST NORTH KOREAN OFFICIALS

On 8 December, NK News reported that the sanctions target key members of Kim Jong Un’s regime, but experts and human rights advocates say more could be done.

https://www.nknews.org/2021/12/european-council-renews-human-rights-sanctions-against-north-korean-officials/

PODCAST: ANNOUNCING VACI: THE VANCOUVER ANTI-CORRUPTION INSTITUTE

In the latest TRACE podcast, as part of the many events marking International Anti-Corruption Day, the Vancouver Anti-Corruption Institute (VACI) will launch on 9 December in Vancouver.  Peter German, president of VACI — and of its host organisation, the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform & Criminal Justice Policy — joins the podcast to discuss the need for this initiative, its focus and some of its goals.

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

2021 GLOBAL HEALTH INDEX FINDS ALL COUNTRIES REMAIN DANGEROUSLY UNPREPARED FOR FUTURE EPIDEMIC AND PANDEMIC EVENTS

On 8 December, a report by NTI and the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, with research by Economist Impact, has measured the capacities of 195 countries to prepare for epidemics and pandemics. The data demonstrate that all countries have insufficient sustained health capacities, leaving the world acutely vulnerable to future health emergencies, including those potentially more devastating than COVID-19. 

https://www.ghsindex.org/

THE EU WHISTLEBLOWING DIRECTIVE: A SWEDISH PERSPECTIVE

On 7 December, an article from Field Fisher which sets out to answer questions on the Whistleblowing Act, passed in September and which comes into effect on 17 December, and its implications for Swedish employers.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/insights/the-eu-whistleblowing-directive-a-swedish-perspect

OFAC SETTLEMENT WITH US INDIVIDUAL OVER APPARENT VIOLATIONS OF IRANIAN SANCTIONS REGULATIONS

On 8 December, OFAC announced a settlement with an unnamed individual for $133,860 with respect to potential civil liability for apparent violations of Iranian Transactions and Sanctions Regulation.  It is said that, over a 2-month period in 2016, the individual arranged for, and received, 4 payments totalling $133,860 into his personal bank account in the US on behalf of an Iranian cement company. These payments were for Iranian-origin clinker, a cement precursor, that the Iranian company supplied to a project in a third country.  The individual coordinated and further facilitated the sale of the clinker with a family member working at the Iranian cement company by relaying logistical and shipping information to the purchasing company.  OFAC found the underlying transactions to be commercial, and thus unavailable for the exemption covering personal remittances which are non-commercial.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/20211208_an_individual_web_notice.pdf

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION RELEASES UNITED STATES STRATEGY ON COUNTERING CORRUPTION

On 8 December, a FCPA Alert from Wilmer Hale reported on the recently released United States Strategy on Countering Corruption, the first of its kind.  This Strategy is said to reaffirm the Biden Administration’s focus on the fight against corruption and represents the culmination of an interagency review that began in June 2021, after President Biden issued a National Security Memorandum establishing the fight against corruption as a “core” national security interest.  The release of the Strategy comes at a time of increased attention on anti-corruption and AML enforcement with top officials at the DoJ making clear their intention to pursue harsher punishments and more robust international and domestic cooperation among foreign and domestic authorities.

https://wilmerhalecommunications.com/e/4hkcxer3twscyba

US IMPOSES RESTRICTIONS, ISSUES WARNING ON BUSINESS WITH CAMBODIA

On 8 December, an article from Bass Berry & Sims said that on 10 November, the U.S. Departments of State, Treasury, and Commerce issued an unusual joint Advisory on the risk of investing and interacting with certain Cambodian individuals and entities.  While noting that only a small number of Cambodian actors and industries have, to date, been identified as prohibited or problematic business partners, the Advisory illustrates how due diligence is required when doing business internationally.

https://www.bassberrygovcontrade.com/u-s-imposes-restrictions-issues-warning-on-business-with-cambodia

EU COMMISSION PROPOSED EU POLICE COOPERATION CODE TO ENHANCE LAW ENFORCEMENT COOPERATION ACROSS MEMBER STATES AND GIVE EU POLICE OFFICERS MORE MODERN TOOLS FOR INFORMATION EXCHANGE

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_6645

Q&A at –

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_21_6646

Factsheet –

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/fs_21_6647

US CLOSES BOOKS ON 8-YEAR PERUVIAN SCAM OPERATION

On 8 December, OCCRP reported that the final 2 members of a Peruvian scam artist group have pleaded guilty to defrauding Spanish-speaking immigrants living in America of millions of dollars over an 8-year period.  They pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud and wire fraud through several Peruvian call centres, which they owned and operated along with 5 other co-conspirators.  Using the “JFC Peru” call centre, scammers phoned Latin American US immigrants and defrauded them of millions for non-existent English-language courses between April 2011 and their arrest in July 2019.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15625-u-s-closes-books-on-8-year-peruvian-scam-operation

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION PROPOSED NEW TOOL TO COUNTER THE USE OF ECONOMIC COERCION BY THIRD COUNTRIES

On 8 December, the EU said that the proposal now needs to be discussed and agreed by the European Parliament and the Council of the EU.  In the next 2 months, stakeholders and citizens may provide further feedback, on which the Commission will report to the Council and Parliament.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_6642

Q&A –

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_21_6643

SINGAPORE: ILLEGAL TRADE IN RARE BIRDS THRIVES ONLINE

On 8 December, OCCRP reported that in Singapore, an illegal trade in birds is thriving on Facebook and other social media.  In less than 6 months, from December 2018 to April 2019, nearly 3,500 animals, almost all birds, were posted for sale in the southeast Asian country, according to NGO Traffic.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15624-in-singapore-illegal-trade-in-rare-birds-thrives-online

CANADA: ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERER FORFEITS OVER $1 MILLION AND CASINO CHIPS

On 8 December, Pique News Magazine reported that 14 months following the murder of her husband, alleged money launderer Caixuan Qin has reached an agreement with the British Columbia’s Director of Civil Forfeiture to relinquish over $1 million in cash, casino chips and partial proceeds of a property sale.  She forfeits a total of $1.14 million in cash previously seized by police from her illegal Richmond underground bank, or so-called money service business, Silver International Investments Ltd, as well as safety deposit boxes at Royal Bank and Bank of China.  She also forfeits $17,800 in River Rock Casino and Resort chips and, among other miscellaneous items, 94 gift cards.  She does get to keep 55% of the proceeds of the sale of her home in Vancouver.

https://www.piquenewsmagazine.com/bc-news/alleged-money-launderer-forfeits-over-1-million-and-bc-casino-chips-4844698

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