OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 14

Panama Covid-19 update – in the Panama City metropolitan area, 23 temporary testing centres have been set up to cope with the seeming tidal wave of new infections. Also between 92% and 93% of the patients in ICU and special respiratory care do not have a complete vaccination schedule – being either unvaccinated or just having one or two doses.

14 JANUARY 2022

AUSTRAC BROADENS ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO STAR ENTERTAINMENT OVER ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING VIOLATIONS

On 14 January, various media in Australia reported that AUSTRAC will share notes with Queensland’s police and gaming watchdog as a widening investigation into Star Entertainment looks into its Sydney, Gold Coast and Brisbane casinos.  The original investigation began in September 2019 and only involved Star Sydney.

https://www.afr.com/companies/games-and-wagering/austrac-broadens-star-probe-20220114-p59o8i

https://www.marketscreener.com/quote/stock/CROWN-RESORTS-LIMITED-6500298/news/Australia-regulator-expands-money-laundering-probe-at-casino-firm-Star-37544852/

https://www.casinoguardian.co.uk/2022/01/14/austrac-broadens-ongoing-investigation-into-star-entertainment-over-alleged-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-violations/ 

WIRECARD FRAUD CASE: GERMAN PROSECUTORS BRING FIRST CHARGES

On 14 January, Gambling Insider reported that Markus Braun, a former Wirecard Executive and business associate of Jan Marsalek, is the first person to be charged by a German prosecutor for a multi-billion-euro fraud at the payment company.  He is suspected of having participated in Marsalek’s plan to launder £22 million of embezzled Wirecard funds.

https://www.gamblinginsider.com/news/14601/wirecard-fraud-case-german-prosecutors-bring-first-charges 

HONG KONG: MONETARY AUTHORITY TAKES DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST 33 FINANCIAL SERVICES LIMITED OVER FAILURE TO FULFIL THE MINIMUM CRITERION RELATING TO AML/CFT MEASURES

A news release on 14 January advised that the Authority had completed an investigation and disciplinary proceedings for 33 Financial Services Limited under the Payment Systems and Stored Value Facilities Ordinance. The Monetary Authority has reprimanded and ordered 33FS to pay a pecuniary penalty of $875,000 for contravening section 8Q of the PSSVFO as it failed to fulfil the minimum criterion relating to AML/CFT measures.

https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202201/14/P2022011400508.htm 

EUROPEAN PUBLIC PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE (EPPO) TARGETS FIRMS IN SLOVAKIA AND CZECHIA FOR TAX AND CUSTOMS FRAUD

On 13 January, OCCRP reported that the the Slovak office of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) conducted an operation that targeted 4 Slovak and Czech companies suspected to have violated the EU tax and customs regulations, damaging the budget for over $54 million.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/15773-eppo-targets-firms-in-slovakia-and-czechia-for-tax-and-customs-fraud 

UKRAINE HIT BY ‘MASSIVE’ CYBER-ATTACK ON GOVERNMENT WEBSITES

On 14 January, the Guardian reported that Ukraine has been hit by a “massive” cyber-attack, with the websites of several government departments including the ministry of foreign affairs and the education ministry knocked out.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/14/ukraine-massive-cyber-attack-government-websites-suspected-russian-hackers 

HOW BRAZIL’S PORT OF SANTOS BECAME COCAINE’S WORLD TRADE CENTRE

On 13 January, Insight Crime reported that 3 shipments of cocaine were caught on the same day as they were about to head to France, Spain and Ghana.  All originated from the Brazilian port of Santos, from where cocaine shipments radiate around the world.  It is said that so much cocaine goes out of the port that some even seems to find its way back.  In January, 59 kg were found inside an empty container returning from Philadelphia, hidden behind thermal isolation.  Santos it is the second-largest port in Latin America after the port of Colón in Panama and, as such, it has become a crucial lynchpin for the global cocaine trade.

https://insightcrime.org/news/how-brazils-port-of-santos-became-cocaines-world-trade-center/

COOKIES SHOULD FORM PART OF DATA TRANSFERS DUE DILIGENCE

An article from Out-Law on 14 January said that a recent decision by the European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) is a reminder to businesses of the need to consider cookies when assessing whether their international transfers of personal data comply with data protection laws.  The case involved tracking cookies which captured ‘online identifiers’ of site visitors and the EDPS considered those identifiers to constitute personal data and that the data was transferred to the US.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/cookies-should-form-part-of-data-transfers-due-diligence

CONDITIONAL FEE ARRANGEMENTS NOW PERMITTED IN SINGAPORE

On 14 January, an article from Out-Law reported that lawyers and their clients in Singapore will now be able to enter into conditional fee agreements (CFA) in certain proceedings.  Such agreements will be only available in international and domestic arbitration proceedings, certain proceedings in the Singapore International Commercial Court (SICC) and related court and mediation proceedings.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/conditional-fee-arrangements-now-permitted-in-singapore

UK REPORT: CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCIES (CBDC): A SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM? 

On 13 January, the House of Commons Economic Affairs Committee published a report which concludes there is no convincing case for why the UK needs a CBDC. The committee found that while a CBDC may provide some advantages, it could present significant challenges for financial stability and the protection of privacy.

https://committees.parliament.uk/committee/175/economic-affairs-committee/news/160221/central-bank-digital-currencies-a-solution-in-search-of-a-problem-report-published/

GOLD MINERS IN MALI SEE NO IMMEDIATE SANCTIONS IMPACT

On 12 January, Yahoo Finance reported that companies mining in Mali have not so far been impacted by tough economic sanctions imposed on the country by ECOWAS, they said, telling investors their mines can withstand potential supply disruption.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/3-gold-miners-mali-see-075504428.html

US SANCTIONED CHINA’S TOP FACIAL RECOGNITION FIRM OVER UYGHUR CONCERNS – BUT IT STILL RAISED MILLIONS

On 7 January, an article in the Guardian was concerned with SenseTime, China’s largest facial recognition start-up, which recently made its debut on the Hong Kong stock market.  It secures $512 million from non-US investors, including Chinese government-backed funds.  It is said that the situation highlights a larger dilemma of how the US can hold companies accountable for their role in human rights violations perpetrated by the Chinese government.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/06/china-sensetime-facial-recognition-uyghur-surveillance-us-sanctions

NORTH AMERICAN SECURITIES ADMINISTRATORS ASSOCIATION (NASAA) TOP INVESTOR THREATS 2022

On 10 January, the NASAA released its annual list of top investor threats and urged caution before purchasing popular and volatile unregulated investments – especially those involving cryptocurrency and digital assets.  It also announced guidance for investors, including steps to take to protect from fraud in the new year.  It said that the matters most cited most often by state and provincial securities regulators were –

  1. Investments tied to cryptocurrencies and digital assets,
  2. Fraud offerings related to promissory notes,
  3. Money scams offered through social media and internet investment offers and,
  4. Financial schemes connected to Self-Directed Individual Retirement Accounts.

https://www.nasaa.org/61477/nasaa-reveals-top-investor-threats-for-2022/

CARGILL – A MAJOR SUPPLIER OF ANIMAL FEED IS STILL BUYING SOYA AND CORN FROM A FARM LINKED TO THE DESTRUCTION OF THE AMAZON RAINFOREST

On 14 January, Unearthed reported that Cargill, a giant agricultural multinational that sells feed to British chicken farms, has been buying crops from a farm growing soya beans on deforested land in the Brazilian Amazon.

https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2022/01/14/agribusiness-giant-cargill-amazon-deforestation/

FIRST UK ANNUAL SANCTIONS REPORT

On 13 January, the Foreign Commonwealth and development Office published the first annual report which details the current sanctions regime ain place developments, saying that, in its first full year since leaving the EU, the UK has imposed sanctions against 160 individuals and entities.  The UK established 2 new autonomous regimes, which it says allows it to show greater global leadership on sanctions, while acting more in the national interest.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/first-uk-annual-sanctions-report-shows-how-uk-independent-sanctions-underpin-global-britains-role-on-the-world-stage

THE IMPACT OF SANCTIONS ON COMMERCIAL ARBITRATION INVOLVING RUSSIAN COMPANIES

On 13 January, a news release from Russian law firm Mansors announces the new 2022 RAA Sanctions Survey conducted among 182 respondents from various jurisdictions.  It reveals the effects of sanctions on attempts to enter into arbitration, with 21% of respondents reported that they are aware of situations where intermediaries have refused to administer cases due to unilateral sanctions.

https://mansors.com/media/blog/the_impact_of_sanctions_on_commercial_arbitration/

https://mansors.com/upload/medialibrary/aa4/xgw6i0nsfzvsm0a0wzgp9v7li7d7oxdv/RAA-2022-Study-on-sanctions_eng.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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