A news release from US DoJ on 14 December advised that Ricardo Alberto Martinelli Linares, 42, a citizen of Panama and Italy, had pleaded guilty in New York to laundering $28 million in a massive bribery and money laundering scheme involving Odebrecht SA, the Brazil-based global construction conglomerate. He had been extradited from Guatemala on 10 December and, on that same say, his co-defendant and brother, Luis Enrique Martinelli, who had also been extradited from Guatemala, also pleaded guilty in connection with the same scheme.
On 14 December, a Notice from the Department of International Trade containing further details about an update on licensing to Turkey and the resumption of normal licensing for the export of all controlled items to Turkey. It says that it is are aware that some of the licences have been in the system a long time and it is working to get them assessed and finalised as quickly as possible. For those with applications in the system, it asks if they could avoid chasing the licence during the initial 8-week period, to allow for clearing the backlog.
A news release from FinCEN on 14 December advised that it was seeking comments on ways to streamline, modernize, and update the AML/CFT regime. It says that it is particularly interested in comments on ways to modernise risk-based AML/CFT regulations and guidance, issued pursuant to the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) so that they, on a continuing basis, protect national security in a cost-effective and efficient manner. Comments are required by 14 February.
On 13 December, Steptoe reported that the UK is to revise certain aspects of the UK’s export control regime following the completion of a regime review by the government. The measures include revisions to the licensing criteria for strategic export controls, an expansion in the scope of the military end-use control and a tightening of controls on exports to China. The changes include a new and substantially revised version of the 8 licensing criteria for strategic export controls, which will now be known as the Strategic Export Licensing Criteria.
REVISIONS TO UK EXPORT CONTROLS COULD IMPACT EXPORTERS TO CHINA AND RUSSIA
On 14 December, Field Fisher published an article highlighting that there will be 2 changes aimed at strengthening the UK’s ability to prevent exports of end-use items that might be used to commit or facilitate human rights violations, notably in China. These changes will be made in Spring 2022 by secondary legislation amending the Export Control Order 2008. As for other changes, the impact of the revisions to the licensing criteria will be more subtle and less immediately evident to businesses. But the firm says that exporters should be aware of the grounds on which their licence applications may be refused in exploring business development opportunities.
The November 2021, 1st follow-up report on Gibraltar, following its mutual evaluation report of December 2019, has been released. It says that Gibraltar has made progress to address the Technical Compliance (as normal, the report does not address effectiveness ratings) deficiencies identified in the MER. As a result of this progress, Gibraltar has been re-rated on FATF Recommendations 1, 11, 12, 13, 22, 24, 25, 26 and 28. Recommendation 15 is re-rated from C to LC. Gibraltar will remain in enhanced follow-up, and will continue to report back to MONEYVAL on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures; and is expected to report back within 3 years.
On 14 December, OCCRP reported that research from Transparency International has found that nearly 40% of the e-payment sector in the UK, which made more than £500 billion worth of transactions in 2020/21, have been Red Flagged. Transparency International UK examined all 261 enterprises in the country that had been granted operating permission by the FCA to operate as an EMI.
On 13 December, the OECD released this report which provides an overview of government- and industry-specific measures to address the abuse of online platforms by counterfeiters. It says that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated problems as people turned to e-commerce during lockdowns and shop closures. It says that, between 2016 to 2019, business-to-consumer (B2C) online sales rose by 82% to $4.2 trillion, with a COVID-19-associated boost of 25.7% in 2020. By 2025, e-commerce retail sales are currently forecast to rise to $7.2 trillion, which would represent about 24.5% of total retail sales, as compared to 17.8% in 2020.
On 9 December, the Gambling Commission released its annual Compliance and Enforcement Report – a document featuring the findings of the regulator’s extensive casework against licence-holders and detailing where the industry needs to raise standards. The year saw a total of £32.1 million being paid by 15 gambling businesses as a result of fines or regulatory settlements – more than any previous year.