OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 4

Panama Covid-19 update – the health minister has said that vaccination of children of 5 to 11 years old begins on 7 January. It targets those with chronic diseases and immunosuppressed patients and will be carried out in the national and regional hospitals. The new school year starts in March.

Meanwhile, numbers continue to grow, with 3,259 new cases reported today – the highest daily total since 3,315 on 15 January (at the height of the previous wave). There were 3 new fatalities, giving a total since March 2020 of 7,445. The number of active cases has risen by 2,717 to 18,763 (the highest daily figure since February). There are “only” 30 patients in ICU, with 195 in other wards (an increase of 21).

4 JANUARY 2022

A MILITARY TRIBUNAL IN CAMEROON SENTENCED 47 OPPOSITION PARTY MEMBERS TO JAIL FOR PLANNING PROTESTS AGAINST THE 40-YEAR-RULE OF PRESIDENT PAUL BIYA

On 29 December, VoA reported that Cameroonian police arrested the opposition members in September 2020 while they were planning protests against President Paul Biya – Africa’s second longest ruling leader.  It is claimed that more than 120 others are still being held in prisons across Cameroon.

https://www.voanews.com/a/cameroon-military-tribunal-jails-47-opposition-activists-for-planned-protests/6374106.html

DISCLOSURE: DO AGENTS ‘CONTROL’ A PARTY’S DOCUMENTS?

On 1 January, an article from ParrisWhittaker considered a recent High Court case in England and a ruling on disclosure in the context of companies and their agents.  It asked, to what extent does the duty of disclosure apply where an agency relationship exists? In the case, the claimants sought disclosure, including against a third party which acted as advisor to the defendant on the basis that it held documents that should be treated as relevant and within the defendant’s control. It is said that the ruling clarifies that whether a third party is acting as an agent, in the context of the duty of disclosure, is a question of fact and considering the actual relationship between the agent and the relevant party.

https://parriswhittaker.com/disclosure-do-agents-control-a-partys-documents

EU: DRAFT RULES AIMED AT TACKLING THE ABUSIVE USE OF SO-CALLED SHELL COMPANIES 

On 30 December, Elvinger Hoss Prussen SA published an article about a draft Directive to be implemented into Member States’ national law by 30 June 2023 and become effective from 1 January 2024.  It says that, once qualified as a shell entity, an undertaking would be denied treaty benefits and EU Directive access.  It says that the European Commission is expected to adopt the Proposal during the first quarter of 2022.

https://www.mondaq.com/withholding-tax/1145792/draft-atad-3-released

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/articles/2021/december/28/unshell-proposal

EU:  OLEKSANDR VIKTOROVYCH KLYMENKO, FORMER UKRAINIAN MINISTER OF REVENUE AND TAXES, REMOVED FROM SANCTIONS LIST

On 3 January, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU General Court had annulled the listing of Oleksandr Viktorovych Klymenko, and that he is no longer subject to EU sanctions as the Council did not renew his listing in September 2021.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/01/oleksandr-klymenko-2021-listing-annulled-by-eu-court/

FORMER COLOMBIAN OFFICER IMPLICATED IN MURDER OF HAITIAN PRESIDENT ARRESTED IN PANAMA

On 3 January, Critica and others reported that former Colombian military officer Mario Antonio Palacios, 43, said to be involved in the assassination of Haitian President Jovenel Moïse on a stopover in Panama, was captured and handed over to US authorities.

https://www.critica.com.pa/sucesos/involucrado-en-magnicidio-en-haiti-fue-deportado-desde-panama-eeuu-619870

UAE FACES RISK OF INCLUSION ON GLOBAL WATCHLIST OVER DIRTY MONEY

On 4 January, Bloomberg reported that the UAE   is at increased risk of being placed on the FATF list of countries subject to more oversight for shortcomings in combating money laundering and terrorist financing, even after a recent government push to stamp out illicit transactions.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-01-04/uae-faces-risk-of-inclusion-on-global-watchlist-over-dirty-money

AUSTRALIA: AUSTRAC BATTLES CRYPTO CRIME ‘BLIND SPOTS’

On 4 January, Financial Review reported that the head of AUSTRAC says it is battling regulatory “blind spots” to police the A$2.7 trillion crypto asset sector, as criminals anonymously use digital currencies to conduct their affairs on the dark web.  She also warned that warned crypto users that the almost 400 local digital currency exchanges – registered for AML/CFT obligations – had not been endorsed by AUSTRAC as safe for retail investors.

https://www.afr.com/politics/federal/austrac-battles-crypto-crime-blind-spots-20211209-p59gaq

UK: REPORT SUSPICIOUS BEHAVIOUR AT SMALL UK AIRFIELDS AND AIRPORTS (PROJECT PEGASUS)

On 4 January, Border Force released updated information and a poster about Home Office guidance on Project Pegasus, a joint law enforcement operation tackling threats to the general aviation industry in the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/report-suspicious-behaviour-at-small-airfields-project-pegasus

ARAB COALITION DEMANDS HOUTHI RELEASE OF HIJACKED UAE-FLAGGED SHIP

On 4 January, Eurasia Review reported that the Arab coalition has threatened to use force if the Houthis do not immediately release the UAE-flagged cargo ship they hijacked off the Yemeni western port city of Hodeidah.   The ship had been transporting medical equipment from the remote Yemeni island of Socotra in the Arabian Sea to the Saudi port of Jazan. 

https://www.eurasiareview.com/04012022-arab-coalition-demands-houthi-release-of-hijacked-uae-flagged-ship/

Chinese Year of the Tiger

https://www.rfa.org/english/cartoons/tiger-ox-cartoon-12302021113623.html

CHINESE CRACKDOWN ON OFFSHORE COMPANIES GETS THE CAYMAN ISLANDS INTO TROUBLE

On 3 January, Enquirer 360 reported that China is limiting the ability of Chinese tech companies – particularly those using a Variable Interest Entities (VIE) structure – to list on foreign stock exchanges.It says thatthe Cayman Islands are already a primary destination for the creation of shell companies.  Between the Caymans, the BVI and Bermuda, the market value of Chinese companies with primary listings there is in excess of $3.7 trillion.

https://enquirer360.com/2022/01/03/chinese-crackdown-on-offshore-firms-gets-the-caymans-into-trouble/

SPAIN: POLICE ARREST ONE OF EUROPE’S BIGGEST CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUDSTERS

On 3 January, EuroWeekly reported that police in Valencia have arrested a 45-year-old man, of Portuguese nationality, has been charged with 7 crimes of fraud, and money laundering.

https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2022/01/03/valencia-police-arrest-one-of-europes-biggest-cryptocurrency-fraudsters/

AUSTRALIA: A MAN HAS LOST HIS LIFE SAVINGS AFTER A WOMAN HE MET ONLINE DUPED HIM TO INVEST IN CRYPTOCURRENCY IN THE “PIG BUTCHERING SCAM”

On 3 January, News.com reported that the 52-year-old said that the woman he fell for online convinced him to invest on a mobile and web app that seemed legitimate to the software engineer.  The common scam, which involves meeting someone on a dating app, depositing money into a fake investment app (which is constantly changed, renamed or deleted) then losing it all, is called the “Pig Butchering Scam”.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/investing/man-loses-2-million-to-cryptocurrency-scam/news-story/d524b4864b5a4023f02cb0b64c0d8679

SOUTH AFRICA: DESPITE MYSTERY PAY OUTS, BURNED INVESTORS PUSH CHARGES AGAINST BROTHERS

On 3 January, Fin24 reported that a group of out-of-pocket Bitcoin investors are pushing for criminal charges against a pair of South African brothers who ran a suspected fraudulent cryptocurrency platform, even after a mystery benefactor emerged to repay some of the lost cash.  A warrant for the arrest of Raees and Ameer Cajee, age 21 and 18, could be issued early this year.  The brothers allegedly disappeared in April along with about $3.6 billion of Bitcoin.

https://www.news24.com/fin24/money/despite-mystery-payouts-burned-investors-push-charges-against-sa-brothers-20220103

UK: FINANCIAL SANCTIONS CHARITY SECTOR WEBINAR

OFSI is hosting a webinar for NGO and Charities operating in areas subject to financial sanctions, taking place on Wednesday, 2 February at 11am via Microsoft Teams.

THE ROLE OF THE INTERNET IN THE RADICALISATION OF EXTREME-RIGHT LONE ACTORS

On 14 December, an article from the Global Network on Extremism and Technology says that when evidence arises that the Internet was used during a process of radicalisation, this is often coined as the sole explanation for their actions.  This may result in a lack of understanding of a deeper and far more complex issue.  The article summarises the findings of a study that examined how the Internet and social media influenced the radicalisation processes of extreme-right lone actors who carried out or attempted to carry out large-scale terrorist attacks in Western democracies since 2000.

https://gnet-research.org/2021/12/14/the-role-of-the-internet-in-the-radicalisation-of-extreme-right-lone-actors/

TURKISH POLICE ARREST 40 IN TWITCH MONEY LAUNDERING SCANDAL

On 4 January, PC Gamer reported the arrests concerning an alleged scam which involves using stolen credit cards to pay certain streamers in ‘bits’, a Twitch currency that streamers get paid for receiving.  The streamers who agreed to take part in this alleged money laundering accepted enormous amounts of bits, and when they were paid the streamer kept a share and returned the rest to its source.  Twitch is the Amazon-owned videogame streaming company.

https://www.pcgamer.com/turkish-police-arrest-40-in-twitch-money-laundering-scandal/

SOUTH AFRICAN INQUIRY POINTS TO SYSTEMIC CORRUPTION DURING ZUMA ERA

On 4 January, Reuters reported that a South African corruption inquiry pointed to systemic graft during former President Jacob Zuma’s tenure in the first part of its report published, after more than 3 years of investigations involving more than 300 witnesses.

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/south-african-inquiry-finds-state-capture-during-zuma-era-2022-01-04/

https://www.rnz.co.nz/news/world/459072/south-african-inquiry-identifies-systemic-corruption-during-zuma-era

OFAC: ADDITIONAL AUTHORISATION AND GUIDANCE REGARDING HUMANITARIAN ACTIVITIES IN AFGHANISTAN

On 4 January, a post from Baker McKenzie reported on further guidance – with new and amended FAQ -on the scope of US sanctions and authorised humanitarian activities in relation to Afghanistan.  Key points are summarised in the post.

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/ofac-issues-additional-authorization-and-guidance-regarding-humanitarian-activities-in-afghanistan

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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