An article from Hogan Lovells was concerned with a recent court case in Hong Kong and a decision which it says may mean extra costs and expense for victims of cyber fraud scams, whose only choice now may be to seek urgent injunctive relief through the courts to try to prevent the dissipation of assets. The court had agreed with the applicants that the public had been left under-protected in terms of their “fundamental right to use their own property in the form of funds held in a bank account” through the practice, which had grown up as a means to combat money laundering and facilitate the confiscation of the proceeds of crime.
On 7 January, OFAC issued FAQ 956, which answers the question: for the Belarus, Ukraine-/Russia-related, and Venezuela-related sanctions programs, how does OFAC view modifications to pre-existing loans, contracts, or other agreements to replace London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) as the reference rate? Essentially, loans, contracts, or other agreements that use LIBOR as a reference rate that are modified to replace such benchmark reference rate will not be treated as new debt for OFAC sanctions purposes, so long as no other material terms of the loan, contract, or agreement are modified.
On 7 January, the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority issued a statement about its investigation into the bank following the discovery that that, in September 2020, the bank had acted in breach of the terms of a Restraint Order issued by the Isle of Man Courts pursuant to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2008. The breach involved enabling the transfer of funds between the restrained accounts within the bank; and processing an instruction from the client for further transfer of funds out of the jurisdiction, albeit to another Standard Bank group entity. Following the investigation, the FSA imposed a discretionary civil penalty of £353,320 (discounted by 30% to £247,324).
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime has released a report which sets out to provide a comprehensive look at corruption in sport, and reveals the staggering scale, manifestation, and complexity of corruption and criminal networks in sport at international and national levels. It says that fraudulent activities in the running of sports institutions and competitions have been documented from the times of the Ancient Olympic Games. It breaks down an extensive range of issues, analysing the role of illegal betting, competition manipulation, abuse in sport, and the susceptibility of major sporting events to corruption, and the involvement of organized crime, among others.
Panama Covid-19 update – as the health ministry reports the soaring numbers are not being reflected in equally rising hospitalisations, it has also been announced that 60% of those in quarantine in the so-called “hospital hotels” are foreigners, and that more than 27,000 patients have been treated in hospital hotels to date – with an expansion of the network of hospital hotels also announced.
Mind you, it is probably early days, so far as the Omicron variant is concerned, with Panama comparing favourably with the worst hit parts of Europe (Navarra in Spain and the Isle of Man) being some 15 times worse, in terms of cases per 100,000 people..
Today’s statistics confirm (if confirmation were needed) that there is some “community transmission” of the virus (which, given its rapid spread, one assumes is mostly or all Omicron). The new Rt rate is 1.52 (it was only 0.86, indicating a declining infection rate, before Christmas) and the 21,266 tests carried out had a 21.5% positive rate. However, echoing the media reports above, while the numbers in the hospital-hotels has risen considerably – now up to 284, and those in normal hospital wards have only risen (so far) by 8 to 220, the number in ICU has actually fallen by a couple to 32. 4,623 new cases were reported today, and an increase in active cases of 3,805 to 26,157 (or 608 per 100,000 – the Isle of Man and Navarra were over 3,000 per 100,000 yesterday). 4 new fatalities were reported.
7 SEPTEMBER 2022
YEMEN HOUTHIS SAY SAUDI-LED COALITION DIVERTED FUEL SHIP
On 5 January, Dryad Global reported that the Yemen Petroleum Company (YPC) has said the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthis had diverted to a Saudi port a fifth fuel vessel heading for the Houthi-controlled port of Hodeidah, part of a tussle over imports into the war-torn country.
ALBANIAN PROSECUTORS LAUNCH PANAMA PAPERS PROBE OVER KOSOVO INTERCONNECTOR COMPANY
On 6 January, Exit News reported that Albania’s specialised corruption prosecutors (SPAK) have launched investigations into €3.6 million in transactions made by the company that constructed the electricity interconnector to Kosovo, to a company based in the UAE – AL Energy Transition, owned by Albanian national Vasil Kallupi.
ESTONIA: FORMER INTERIOR MINISTER DETAINED OVER BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS
On 6 January, ERR reported that police had detained a former interior minister on suspicion of bribery. The former minister, Ain Seppik, has since been released, as has 1 co-suspect, his son Siim. 2 other suspects remain in detention.
UK: LAST CALL FOR CLAIMS TO SCHEME COMPENSATING VICTIMS OF NAZIS FOR PROPERTY CONFISCATED IN WW2
On 6 January, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced that the UK Government is consulting on a final date for the closure of schemes compensating individuals whose assets were confiscated by the UK government where they had suffered Nazi persecution. The schemes involved are the Enemy Property Claims Assessment Panel (EPCAP) and the Baltic States Scheme.
THE UK NATIONALITY AND BORDERS BILL AND ITS COMPATIBILITY WITH INTERNATIONAL LAW
On 6 January, an article from the UK Constitutional Law Association argues that that, in its current form, the Bill not only fails to achieve its proclaimed aim of improving the immigration system, but it also falls short of meeting the international law standards. It says that the fact that the Bill, evidently incompatible with international law, passed through a third reading in the House of Commons should be a cause for concern.
DIGITAL EVIDENCE RECOVERY: REMOTE ACQUISITIONS DURING THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
On 6 January, an article from Control Risks says that, by the height of the pandemic, most organisations had established digital transformation strategies to aid in the transition of their businesses into hybrid working environments. This created a surge in cybersecurity vulnerabilities and cybercrime incidents, which required investigations assistance and remote evidence acquisition from digital forensic experts. It says that, to navigate the recent digital shift, Control Risks recommends that forensic experts use a baseline approach or methodology for collecting evidence remotely in support of a client, which can then be tailored to suit the client’s needs. To best determine a client’s needs during the scoping phase, forensics professionals should ask several key questions, a list of which is provided in the article.
LATIN AMERICAN GOVERNMENTS EASY PREY FOR RANSOMWARE DURING COVID-19
On 5 January, Insight Crime reported that a recent cyberattack that hit government websites in Brazil, including platforms that track vaccinations and epidemiological data on COVID-19, has stoked concerns about a surge in ransomware attacks on critical infrastructure in Latin American countries. Such attacks were a scourge throughout the region in 2021, with criminals making demands on the National Lottery Service and the Ministry of the Economy in Mexico; banks and major news outlets in Chile; and medical centres in Argentina. Cyberattacks in Latin America increased by 24% in just the first 8 months of 2021.
NEW GUIDELINES ON TRADE MARK EXAMINATION AND REVIEW ISSUED IN CHINA
On 6 January, an article from Field Fisher said that China National Intellectual Property Administration (CNIPA) has adopted new Guidelines on Trade Mark Examination and Review to replace the previous Trade Mark Examination and Review Standards. The Guidelines became effective on 1 January.
On 27 December, the RAND Corporation announced a new study which found that the volume of prescription opioids dispensed from retail pharmacies declined by 21% from 2008 to 2018, but the decline was not uniform across geographic areas, among types of patients, or by type of prescriber. It is the first to examine the decline in opioid prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies based on both volume and potency of the drugs dispensed.
HAPAG-LLOYD THE THIRD TOP-TEN CARRIER TO ADOPT NATIONAL CARGO BUREAU’S HAZCHECK DETECT HAZARDOUS CARGO SCREENING TOOL
On 6 January, Loadstar reported that Hazcheck scans bookings for suspicious key words – consignees misdeclaring hazardous cargo to secure cheaper rates are implicated in a number of major ship casualties and the loss of several lives.
EU SHELL COMPANY DIRECTIVE WILL INTRODUCE ‘MINIMUM SUBSTANCE’ TEST
On 6 January, STEP reported that the European Commission has published its draft Council Directive laying down rules to prevent the misuse of shell entities for tax purposes. The new proposal, to be implemented as the third revision of the EU Anti-Tax Avoidance Directive (ATAD), was originally announced in May 2021 and put out to consultation.
SEC CHARGES AGAINST AUSTRALIAN CITIZEN CRAIG SPROULE AND 2 COMPANIES HE FOUNDED, CROWD MACHINE INC AND METAVINE INC, FOR MAKING MATERIALLY FALSE AND MISLEADING STATEMENTS IN CONNECTION WITH AN UNREGISTERED OFFER AND SALE OF DIGITAL ASSET SECURITIES
On 6 January, a release from Mondo Visione announced that, according to the SEC, Sproule, who referred to himself in social media postings as the “Man behind the Machine”, claimed to have raised $40.7 million through his companies, collectively referred to as “Crowd Machine,” in an ICO of Crowd Machine Compute Tokens (CMCT). January-April 2018. He began diverting more than $5.8 million in ICO proceeds to gold mining entities in South Africa – a use that was never disclosed to investors.