OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 23

Panama Covid-19 update – more disturbing news (though relatively modest, compared to that in the UK and elsewhere perhaps), with the number of new cases, active cases and the percentage of positive test results all up. One theory is that the public holiday of Mothers’ Day on 8 December is a contributory factor, and the increases are not indications of the arrival of Omicron.

There are 719 new cases reported (51 more than yesterday), with there now being 5,232 active cases (up 575), and hospitalised patients in other wards are up to 146 (10 more than yesterday), although the number in ICU has fallen by 1 to 17. There was just 1 new fatality reported.

23 DECEMBER 2021

JAPAN EXTENDS $26 MILLION IN GRANT AID TO BOOST DJIBOUTIAN MARITIME SECURITY

On 22 December, Dryad Global reported that Japan has made the grant because waters in the vicinity of Djibouti are important points for maritime transportation connecting Asia, Africa and Europe, and also because they are adjacent to areas of conflict and regions where illegal acts such as smuggling and piracy are carried out.  This cooperation aims to improve maritime security capacity by constructing 2 patrol boats and a floating pier for the Djiboutian Coast Guard.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/japan-extends-26m-in-grant-aid-to-boost-djiboutian-maritime-security

IS THE GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAIN THE NEXT BIG CYBER TARGET?

On 21 December, Dryad Global posed this question, pointing out that over the past 3 years, Maersk, Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), COSCO, and CMA CGM have all been victims of cyber attacks. 

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/is-the-global-supply-chain-the-next-big-cyber-target

US POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE WARNS ABOUT PROLIFERATION OF COUNTERFEIT STAMPS

On 22 December, Linn’s Stamp News reported that the US Post Office has warned about a proliferation of counterfeit stamps being offered on the internet.  The warning comes as an increasing number of news outlets are reporting sales of counterfeit stamps.

https://www.linns.com/news/us-stamps-postal-history/postal-inspection-service-warns-about-proliferation-of-counterfeit-stamps

UK: 2 MEN LAUNDERED £70 MILLION WITH £10 MILLION FROM FRAUDULENT BOUNCE BACK LOANS HAVE BEEN JAILED FOR A TOTAL OF 33 YEARS

A news release from the NCA advised that Artem Terzyan, 38, from Russia and Deivis Grochiatskij, 44, from Lithuania, were the focus of a 4-year investigation by the Organised Crime Partnership –  a joint National Crime Agency and Metropolitan Police Service unit.

https://nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/international-fraudsters-ran-70m-money-laundering-scheme

IRAN SANCTIONS: SRI LANKA TO PAY OFF IRANIAN OIL DEBT WITH TEA

On 23 December, the Middle East Monitor reported that Sri Lanka is to pay off a $251 million Iranian oil debt by sending the country $5 million worth of tea every month.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/sri-lanka-tea-iran-sanctions-pay-oil-debt

JAPAN: 2 BUREAUCRATS FOUND GUILTY OF COVID SUBSIDY FRAUD

On 23 December, Japan Today reported that 2 former bureaucrats from the industry ministry have been found guilty of swindling the state out of some $136,000 in office rental subsidies and other benefits that were meant to help coronavirus pandemic-hit businesses.

https://japantoday.com/category/crime/2-ex-japan-bureaucrats-found-guilty-for-covid-subsidy-fraud?

MONEY MULE FROM INDIA-BASED MONEY LAUNDERING SYNDICATE WITH CANADIAN VICTIMS JAILED IN SINGAPORE

On 23 December, CNA reported that a man who came to Singapore from India to pursue a diploma was roped into a money-making scheme by a flatmate that turned out to be a money laundering chain by a cross-border syndicate targeting victims in Canada.  He was sentenced to six months’ jail after he pleaded guilty to a charge each of conspiring to carry on the business of an unlicensed payment service and of obstructing justice by deleting and exiting a WhatsApp chat group with his co-conspirators.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/money-mule-india-based-laundering-syndicate-jailed-singapore-2398091

UK: MORE THAN 400 LITRES OF VODKA SEIZED AS ILLEGAL DISTILLERY RAIDED IN SCOTLAND

On 23 December, The Independent and others reported that authorities have seized more than 400 litres of suspected counterfeit vodka in a raid on an illegal alcohol distillery.  HMRC also discovered multiple pallets of empty 70cl bottles and 2 stills – equipment used in the distillation process – when they searched a unit on an industrial estate in Greenock.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/greenock-inverclyde-police-scotland-b1981306.html

https://www.heraldscotland.com/news/19804768.police-raid-counterfeit-alchohol-illegal-greenock-alcohol-distillery/

BREXIT: LIST OF GOODS IMPORTED INTO GREAT BRITAIN FROM IRELAND THAT ARE CONTROLLED

On 23 December, HMRC provided updated information saying that you will need to follow normal import declarations rules for controlled goods imported into Great Britain from Ireland from 1 January.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/list-of-goods-imported-into-great-britain-from-the-eu-that-are-controlled

UPDATE ON APPLICATION OF UK CUSTOMS CONTROLS FROM 1 JANUARY

On 23 December, the Baker McKenzie blog reported that HMRC has published a guidance note to remind traders that a number of customs changes will enter into force on 1 January in relation to the movement of goods between Great Britain and the EU.  In particular, the guidance note flags several changes that traders should be aware of.

https://www.internationaltradecomplianceupdate.com/2021/12/23/update-on-application-of-uk-customs-controls-from-1-january-2022/

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/less-than-a-month-until-full-customs-controls-are-introduced

OPERATION TARGETING SYNTHETIC OPIOID TRAFFICKING IN AFRICA, LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN RESULTS IN 18 ARRESTS AND THE SEIZURE OF OVER 480 KG OF DRUGS

The UN published a news release advising that Operation Azure saw law enforcement officers from 10 countries intercept illicit drugs and disrupt synthetic opioid trafficking across Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.  It took place simultaneously in Bolivia, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Nigeria, and Ghana.  Coordinated by UNODC, under the framework of the CRIMJUST Global Programme, as part of the UNODC Opioid Strategy, Operation Azure targeted synthetic opioids being trafficked in mail and courier parcels over 2 phases of operational activity in October and November 2021.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/drug-trafficking/crimjust/news/crimjust—operation-azure-targeting-synthetic-opioid-trafficking-in-africa–latin-america-and-the-caribbean-results-in-18-arrests-and-the-seizures-of-over-480-kilograms-of-drugs.html

EU DATA TRANSFERS GUIDE ADDRESSES BUSINESS TRIPS

An article from Out-Law on 23 December said that strict EU rules on the international transfer of personal data do not apply when employees access data from their company’s database remotely while on business trips in other parts of the world.  This is explained in guidance which concerns the territorial scope of the rules on international data transfers under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/data-transfers-guide-addresses-business-trips

HOW IUU FISHING PLUNDERED LATIN AMERICAN OCEANS

On 23 December, an article from Insight Crime was concerned with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing across the region in the past year, much of it driven by competition for diminishing catch; saying that regional semi-industrial vessels mimicked the predatory tactics of foreign fleets.

https://insightcrime.org/news/gamechangers-2021-iuu-fishing-plundered-latin-americas-oceans/

A news release from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority on 20 December announced that it had completed an investigation and disciplinary proceedings for ePaylinks Technology Co Limited, and has reprimanded and ordered it to pay a penalty as it failed to fulfil the minimum criterion relating to AML/CFT measures.

https://www.hkma.gov.hk/eng/news-and-media/press-releases/2021/12/20211220-3/

US: ACTION TO PROTECT AND ULTIMATELY RETURN MORE THAN $154 MILLION IN FUNDS THAT WERE ALLEGEDLY STOLEN FROM A SUBSIDIARY OF SONY GROUP CORPORATION AND SEIZED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT DURING THE FBI INVESTIGATION

On 23 December, a news release from US DoJ advised that the US filed a civil forfeiture complaint in the Southern District of California to protect Sony’s interest in the property, which an employee allegedly embezzled in May 2021 and converted to more than 3,879 Bitcoins valued today at more than $180 million.  Those funds were seized by law enforcement on based on the FBI investigation.  Rei Ishii, an employee of Sony Life Insurance Company Ltd in Tokyo, allegedly diverted the $154 million when the company attempted to transfer funds between its financial accounts.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdca/pr/united-states-files-civil-action-return-150-million-embezzled-funds-sony-fbi-tracks

A RANSOMWARE GANG HAS PUBLISHED CONFIDENTIAL DATA HELD BY UK POLICE ON THE DARK WEB

On 23 December, Infosecurity reported a Mail on Sunday story that a cybercrime group accessed the information following a successful phishing attack on IT services provider Dacoll in October 2021.  This provided it with access to vast amounts of material, including data held on the police national computer (PNC), which Dacoll manages.

https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/ransomware-gang-police-data-dark/

CIVIL SOCIETY OBSERVATORY OF ILLICIT ECONOMIES IN EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

On 22 December, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime issued Risk Bulletin 22, which contains 4 stores that investigate the social, economic, and political issues that drive organized crime and shape forms of organised crime, and how responses can better address these underlying systemic issues.  The stories involved – death and forced labour at sea as Chinese fishing trawlers pillage northern Somalia; poaching for the horticultural market threatens cycads in South Africa; kidnappings target the Somali community in Kenya; and inadequate protection for witnesses and whistle-blowers in Kenya.

https://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/ESA-Obs-RB22-web.pdf

US: AMENDED WMD TRADE CONTROL REGULATIONS

On 23 December, the US Treasury advised an amendment to the Regulations to add a 2005 Executive order as an authority, remove the appendix to the part, and modify 3 definitions referencing the appendix.   This amendment is currently available for public inspection with the Federal Register and will take effect upon publication in the Federal Register on 27 December.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20211223

SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT OFAC AND TD BANK NA OVER NORTH KOREAN AND OTHER SANCTIONS

On 23 December, OFAC announced a settlement of $115,005.04 settlement of 2 cases for apparent violations of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations and the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Sanctions Regulations. TDBNA processed transactions and maintained accounts on behalf of employees of the North Korean mission to the UN without a licence from OFAC; and maintained accounts for a US resident who was listed on OFAC’s list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons. 

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/20211223_TDBNA.pdf

MAN CLEARED OVER £25 MILLION BURGLARY IS FACING JAIL FOR HAVING £1 MILLION IN COUNTERFEIT CASH

On 23 December, the Daily Mail reported that a Romanian barman, Emile-Bogdan Savastru, 30, who was cleared over the burglary of Tamara Ecclestone’s mansion despite being caught with her stolen handbag is now facing jail for having £1 million in counterfeit cash. 

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10340765/Romanian-barman-cleared-Tamara-Ecclestone-raid-faces-jail-having-1m-counterfeit-cash.html

US PATENT AND TRADEMARK OFFICE ACTS AGAINST CHINESE LAW FIRM FOR FRAUD AND TERMINATES MORE THAN 15,000 US TRADEMARK APPLICATIONS

On 23 December, an article from Baker Hostetler reported that the USPTO issued a precedential Final Order for Sanctions against Chinese practitioner and law firm Yusha Zhang and Shenzhen Huanyee Intellectual Property Co Ltd for filing more than 15,000 applications and other submissions that were deemed fraudulent. 

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/uspto-sanctions-chinese-law-firm-for-5857642

ALBANIAN PROSECUTORS DEMAND 20 YEARS IN PRISON FOR ITALIAN BUSINESSMAN

On 23 December, Exit News reported that Francesco Becchetti is accused of money laundering, document forgery, and tax fraud.  It notes that, in April, an international arbitration panel ordered Albania to pay him €110 million for the “politically motivated” government closure of his Agon TV channel in 2015.

https://exit.al/en/2021/12/23/albanian-prosecutors-demand-20-years-in-prison-for-italian-businessman

TURKEY’S KEY EXPORT SUCCESS – THE UNMANNED COMBAT AERIAL SYSTEM (UCAS) DRONE

On 23 December, Scramble reported on the Bayraktar TB2 (Tactical Block 2), a Turkish-built Medium-Altitude Long-Endurance (MALE) UCAS capable of remotely controlled or autonomous flight operations.  Initially produced for the Turkish armed forces, it has become a key export success for Turkey and its defence industry and its manufacturer, Baykar Defence, currently generates more than 83% of its revenues from exports.

https://www.scramble.nl/military-news/turkey-s-key-export-success

INDIA’S FIRST CONVENTIONAL BALLISTIC MISSILE TEST-FIRED AGAIN

On 23 December, the Hindustan Times reported that the ‘Pralay’ is India’s first conventional ballistic missile and is said to be an answer to any conventional missile attack from northern or western borders.  The missile development is described as significant as India had no conventionally-armed ballistic missile.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/india-news/pralay-india-s-second-conventional-ballistic-missile-testfired-101640235805392.html

IMPACT ON TAIWANESE COMPANIES AMID TRADE SITUATION BETWEEN US AND CHINA

On 22 December, an article from Bass Berry & Sims discussed the impact on Taiwan companies amid rising tensions between the US and China.

https://www.bassberry.com/wp-content/uploads/taiwanese-business-avoid-risk-us-china-tensions.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

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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