Panama Covid-19 update – the health ministry has reported that 85.5% of those who died last week did not have the full vaccination schedule (of 3 jabs), and that in december and january over 80% of those hospitalised were unvaccinated.
Meanwhile today, 5,468 new cases and 7 new fatalities were reported; with there being 238 more active cases at 57,203. Numbers in hospital show increases – to 61 in ICU and 544 in other wards, although the number in the hospital-hotel quarantine falls by 37 to 490.
17 JANUARY 2022
MACAU WITH BEST RATINGS IN ASIA/PACIFIC GROUP MONEY LAUNDERING EVALUATION
On 17 January, Macau Business reported that FATF-style regional body APG has indicated that Macau continues to be its best-rated member in terms of technical compliance assessment. In September, it submitted the second Follow-up Report to its 2016 assessment to demonstrate the latest developments of the AML/CFT regime, with the report then adopted by all APG members in December.
QATAR IS CURRENTLY UNDERGOING THE FOURTH ROUND OF MUTUAL EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT BY FATF
On 17 January, MENA FN reported that the evaluation process is still going on, and it would be difficult to predict when the evaluation will be completed especially amid the ongoing global pandemic.
AUSTRALIA: MONEY LAUNDERING THROUGH POKIES AND AML/CFT IMPLICATIONS FOR PUBS AND CLUBS
An article from Nyman Gibson Miralis on 17 January was concerned with pubs and clubs which operate electronic gaming machines (EGM), known as “pokies” in Australia. It says that AUSTRAC provides a guide for pubs and clubs to ensure that they understand and comply with their AML/CFT obligations. It warns that pubs and clubs which operate EGM may be exploited by criminals to launder proceeds of crime. These businesses need to be aware of and comply with their obligations or risk facing enforcement action, which may include steep fines.
ISRAELI EXPORT CONTROLS AND SANCTIONS – A YEAR IN REVIEW
On 15 December, Herzog Fox & Neeman published an article containing a review of some of the major developments from the past year and what one might expect to see in the year ahead. It says that the firm expects Israeli sanctions lists to continue diverging from UN lists and from lists implemented by other countries. In the defence export control world, it says to expect tighter controls in the cyber industry, as well as controls over drones/UAV and over systems for monitoring data communications and audio traffic.
COURT OF APPEAL: FORMER BOSSES OF A LEADING LEGAL EXPENSES INSURER SHOULD PAY BACK A TOTAL OF ALMOST £6 MILLION FOLLOWING CONVICTIONS FOR FRAUD
On 17 January, the Law Society Gazette reported that compensation orders were approved by the Court of Appeal and the trio will repay the money to DAS Services Ltd. The 3 defendants had used their status to exploit the way DAS commissioned medical reports and kept their interest in a company they had set up to provide such reports hidden from DAS.
ARE COUNTERFEIT BEARINGS ON THE RISE?
On 17 January, Factory & Handling Solutions posed this question, saying that a petrochemical processor was recently forced to make an emergency shutdown to reveal that it was being supplied with counterfeit SKF bearings. It says that bearings are among the most counterfeited critical components in industrial and engineering applications.
Ahval in Turkey reported on 17 January that a US appeals court had shelved a prosecution of the company for allegedly helping Iran evade economic sanctions. It is said that the case is on hold until an appeal by the bank at the US Supreme Court is concluded.
KAZAKHSTAN: REVAMP OF CUSTOMS BORDER CONTROLS IN FACE OF “MASSIVE FRAUD”
On 17 January, Railfreight reported that the President has given an instruction for the revamp especially at the border with China, to end “long-running chaos”, with transit vehicles evading inspections and not paying customs duties, which has led to billions of lost tax revenues. Kazakhstan is one of the main transit countries on the New Silk Road.
US HAS POSTPONED TO 7 MARCH AN INTERIM FINAL RULE IMPOSING CONTROLS ON EXPORTS OF CYBERSECURITY ITEMS
On 17 January, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security has postponed the effective date to provide sufficient time for industry to implement necessary compliance measures and for BIS to provide additional public guidance.
IRAQ ISSUES ARREST WARRANTS AGAINST 21 TOP OFFICIALS OVER GRAFT
On 14 January, OCCRP reported that Iraqi authorities last month issued arrest warrants against 21 high-ranking state officials, including a current minister, following an investigation that has seen 77 other officials summoned. The country declared in 2017 a national war on corruption, but progress has been slow, and Iraq is in the bottom 20 of Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perception Index.
UK THE FIRST COUNTRY TO PUBLISH ITS POLICY AND PRINCIPLES ON INTERNATIONAL ASSET RETURNS TO FOREIGN COUNTRIES
On 13 January, the Home Office issued a news release saying that the UK has become the first country in the world to demonstrate how it returns proceeds of corruption to foreign countries with a new framework. The framework seeks to increase consistency in how the proceeds of corruption are returned and enshrines the requirement for transparency in the use of returned funds. Under the UN Convention Against Corruption, the proceeds of crimes — that is, bribery, embezzlement of public funds, money laundering and trading in influence and other abuses of official functions — must be returned to the requesting state subject to certain conditions.
PROLIFIC ROMANCE FRAUDSTER JAILED AS CPS ISSUES A WARNING
A news release from the CPS on 14 January says that stark warning to the public about falling victim to romance fraud has been issued by the Crown Prosecution Service as a fraudster is jailed for conning at least 9 people – with nearly £92 million having been reported lost in the UK in the last year.
RE-BRANDING OF IMPORTED MEDICINES UNDER EU COURT SPOTLIGHT
An article from Out-Law on 14 January warned that parallel importers risk trade mark infringement if they seek to sell packets of generic medicines imported from one EU country to another under brand names for reference products developed by the same manufacturer. An advocate general has said that it would only be justified in “exceptional cases” for importers to fix the trade marks for branded reference medicines to packets of imported generic medicines made by the same manufacturer.
FRAUD AND CORRUPTION ENFORCEMENT ANNUAL REVIEW 2021
On 17 January, law firm Eversheds Sutherland published its annual review which highlights some of the top developments from the past year relating to criminal investigations and enforcement actions tackling fraud, bribery and corruption offences in the UK. Looking forward, it highlights such things as the Law Commission’s review into reform of corporate criminal liability, due in early 2022 and which could see the potential introduction of a failure to prevent economic crime offence.
MALTA: GAMING COMPANY FINED €386,000 FOR AML BREACHES
On 17 January, the Times of Malta reported that Online Amusement Solution Limited failed to properly monitor its customers and failed to report suspicious activity or properly monitor PEP on its gambling sites.
FIREARMS TRAFFICKING: MORE INFORMATION IS NEEDED TO INFORM US EFFORTS IN CENTRAL AMERICA
On 11 January, the Governmental Accountability Office produced a report says that gangs and drug cartels commit much of the violence in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The guns they use are mostly from other countries, including the US. It says that the State Department plans to focus more on gun trafficking but lacks information to tailor its programmes to each country’s needs. For instance, it says, the State Department hasn’t asked other agencies to analyse information about firearms in the countries.
Types of Firearms Recovered in Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras and Submitted to ATF for Tracing, 2015–2019
HOW SHADY KAZAKH CASH IS BUILDING NEW YORK CITY’S POSHEST PADS
On 13 January, the New York Post published an article on construction financially backed by the “mysterious” private equity firm Meridian Capital. It was founded in 2002 by Kazakhstan’s former oil and gas minister Sauat Mynbayev, Kazakh billionaire Askar Alshinbayev and top execs of Kazkommertsbank, Kazakhstan’s largest private bank. It is incorporated in Bermuda, as an international investment firm headquartered in Hong Kong.
SWITZERLAND DESIGNATES 6 INDIVIDUALS AND 3 ENTITIES LINKED TO RUSSIAN WAGNER GROUP
On 17 January, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Switzerland had followed the EU lead of December in designating these people and entities.
HEAD OF BULGARIA’S ANTI-CORRUPTION BODY SUBMITS RESIGNATION
On 17 January, the Sofia Globe reported that the head of Bulgaria’s commission against corruption and for the confiscation of illegally-acquired assets, Sotir Tsatsarov, has submitted to Parliament an application to leave office ahead of term.
OPIOID SMUGGLING IN THE BLACK SEA
On 17 January, an article in the Eurasia Review is concerned with the modus operandi and maritime routes used by opioid smugglers. The majority of illicit drugs transiting the Black Sea region are opioids and to a lesser extent acetic anhydride, a precursor for production of heroin. The transit of acetic anhydride through the Black Sea has also increased. Smugglers have used commercial trade to conceal the transit of drugs in the Black Sea throughout the region’s history. Within the Black Sea, ferries linking Georgia to Bulgaria, Romania, and Ukraine in particular have been linked to drug smuggling operations; and with a correlation in drug smuggling and the increasing popularity of roll-on roll-off ferries between Europe and Turkey, which offer effective means of transporting trailers and other wheeled cargo. Georgia’s Black Sea ports connect drug smuggling routes through the southern Caucasus mountains to ports along the Black Sea’s western and north-western shores. Opioids manufactured in Afghanistan reach the southern Caucasus mainly through Iran.
EBA PUBLISHES A DISCUSSION PAPER ON ITS PRELIMINARY OBSERVATIONS ON SELECTED PAYMENT FRAUD DATA UNDER THE PAYMENT SERVICES DIRECTIVE
On 17 January, the European Banking Authority said that it had analysed payment fraud data reported by the industry and subsequently aggregated by national authorities covering the years 2019 and 2020. The Discussion Paper provides an overview of the preliminary patterns observed across a number of different payment instruments, including some inconclusive patterns, which require additional analysis. The EBA has invited stakeholders to respond to the questions asked in the Discussion Paper, so as to better interpret fraud data that will be reported in future years. The consultation closes on 19 April.
CANADIAN SECURITIES ADMINISTRATORS (CSA) WARNING – INVESTMENT SCHEMES INVOLVING FRAUDULENT WEBSITES THAT SOLICIT INVESTMENTS IN FOREIGN EXCHANGE, BINARY OPTIONS AND/OR CRYPTO ASSETS
A release on Mondo Visione on 17 January advised that, in particular, fraudsters continue to capitalize on market interest in crypto assets to lure investors into scams, using high-pressure sales tactics and promises of high returns with little or no risk. The CSA and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) have also noted increasing concerns over imposter sites that closely resemble registered firms, regulators and fake endorsements by individuals.
It includes advice to know the Red Flags involved –
MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE (MAS) GUIDELINES THAT CRYPTOCURRENCY SERVICE PROVIDERS SHOULD NOT PROMOTE THEIR SERVICES TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC IN SINGAPORE
A release on Mondo Visione on 17 January advised that the new guidelines clarify MAS’ expectations that Digital Payment Token service providers should not engage in marketing or advertising of DPT services.
HOW ARE NFT ARE USED FOR WASH TRADING & MONEY LAUNDERING?
On 17 January, makeuseof.com published an article which sets out to explain how NFT are used for wash trading and money laundering?
REPRESENTING INDIVIDUALS IN INTERVIEWS: THE UK PERSPECTIVE
On 14 January, Global Investigative review published an article by 2 lawyers from law firm Corker Bining which considers the representation of individuals in 3 types of interviews: interviews in corporate internal investigations, interviews of witnesses in law enforcement investigations, and interviews of suspects in law enforcement investigations.
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