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.
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.
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.
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.