OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 18

Panama Covid-19 update – today saw the highest-ever number of new cases – at 11,519, with 13 fatalities. A large number of tests were carried out – 34,739, with a 33.2% positive hit rate. The Rt rate has risen from 1.52 to 1.82. While numbers in other wards and the hospital-hotles have both risen – to 552 and 503 respectively, but numbers in ICU have fallen by 6 to 55. The number of active cases is at a new high of 62,918, but the vast majority are in isolation at home.

18 JANUARY 2022

ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE FOR JERSEY FUNDS

On 14 January, an article from Walkers says that Jersey’s economic substance regime has been in existence for nearly 3 years, and has recently been expanded to include partnerships as well as self-managed corporate funds.  However, it says that certain exemptions apply so that partnerships (and in many cases companies) acting as fund vehicles are out of scope.  The purpose of the article is to provide some information about the impact of the economic substance regime on Jersey’s funds industry.

https://www.mondaq.com/jersey/fund-management-reits/1150638/economic-substance-for-jersey-funds

DUAL US-IRAN CITIZEN CHARGED WITH CONSPIRING TO ILLEGALLY EXPORT US GOODS TO IRAN

A news release from US DoJ on 14 January advised that Kambiz Attar Kashani, a dual citizen of the US and Iran, had been arrested in Chicago with conspiring to illegally export US goods, technology, and services to end users in Iran, including the Government of Iran.  To procure US electronic equipment and technology for the Central Bank of Iran, he allegedly used 2 UAE companies as fronts to procure items from multiple US technology companies.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edny/pr/us-citizen-charged-conspiring-provide-electronic-equipment-and-technology-government

PAKISTAN LOSING BILLIONS DUE TO TYRE SMUGGLING

On 18 January, Pakwheels reported that with an annual demand for approximately 14 million tyres, locally produced tyres make up 15% of that demand.  35% is met through legal tyre imports, and the remaining 50% are smuggled – meaning a market of 7 million smuggled tyres; many of which it says are of Indian origin. 

https://www.pakwheels.com/blog/pakistan-losing-billions-due-to-tyre-smuggling/

BRITISH TECH TYCOON SET TO LEARN HP FRAUD VERDICT AFTER 2-YEAR WAIT

On 18 January, BNN Bloomberg reported that British software tycoon Mike Lynch will finally learn the verdict of a $5 billion fraud suit some 2 years after the trial ended, in a decision that could have an impact on whether he is extradited to the US to face criminal charges.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/british-tech-tycoon-set-to-learn-hp-fraud-verdict-after-2-year-wait-1.1709090

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/irish-born-entrepreneur-mike-lynch-to-learn-verdict-of-5bn-fraud-suit-1.4779540

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/ruling-in-5bn-fraud-case-expected-imminently-high-court-hears/5111180.article

SINGAPORE: MONETARY AUTHORITY THREATENS OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING CORPORATION (OCBC) WITH ACTION WIDESPREAD PHISHING SCAM

On 18 January, The Register reported that the Monetary Authority of Singapore says it is considering supervisory action against SE Asia’s second-largest bank, Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC), which was criticised for its incident response to a widespread phishing scheme. The phishing scheme first appeared at the start of December 2021 and became more aggressive through the holiday period.

https://www.theregister.com/2022/01/18/singapore_monetary_authority_threatens_action/

THE TAKEDOWN OF LabVPN – A SERVICE USED BY CYBER-CRIMINALS TO FACILITATE THEIR ILLICIT ACTIVITIES

A news release from the NCA on 18 January announced that action led by the Hanover Police Department in Germany, saw the seizure of 15 server infrastructures across the world, with NCA officers taking the UK node of the network offline.  The service has been used by cyber-criminals in the preparatory stages of ransomware attacks that have caused significant economic harm to UK businesses.  LabVPN, which was established in 2008, enabled cyber-criminals to control botnets and malware distribution. It offered virtual private network (VPN) services on the Dark Web based on OpenVPN technology and 2048-bit encryption to provide online anonymity for as little as $60 per year. 

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/labvpn-takedown-nca-takes-uk-server-of-criminal-network-offline

https://www.europol.europa.eu/media-press/newsroom/news/unhappy-new-year-for-cybercriminals-vpnlabnet-goes-offline

UK GUIDANCE: HOW DIGITAL IDENTITY PROVIDERS CAN BECOME CERTIFIED TO COMPLETE DIGITAL IDENTITY CHECKS FOR THE ‘RIGHT TO WORK’, ‘RIGHT TO RENT’ AND DBS SCHEMES

On 17 January, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport issued guidance re new legislation coming into effect on 6 April.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/digital-identity-certification-for-right-to-work-right-to-rent-and-criminal-record-checks

UK: BRINGING CERTAIN CRYPTOASSETS INTO THE SCOPE OF FINANCIAL PROMOTION REGULATIONS

On 18 January, HM Treasury published a document which summarises feedback to the consultation in 2020, and sets out further detail on how the UK Government intends to regulate relevant cryptoasset promotions.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/cryptoasset-promotions

“AT REQUEST OF THE US”, RUSSIA ROUNDS UP 14 REvil RANSOMWARE AFFILIATES

On 14 January, the Krebs on Security blog reported that the FSB said the action was taken in response to a request from US officials, but many experts believe the crackdown is part of an effort to reduce tensions over Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to station 100,000 troops along the nation’s border with Ukraine.  The FSB said that it had arrested 14 REvil ransomware members, and searched more than 2 dozen addresses in Moscow, St Petersburg, Leningrad and Lipetsk.  As part of the raids, the FSB seized more than $600,000, 426 million rubles (~$USD 5.5 million), €500,000, and 20 “premium cars” purchased with funds obtained from cybercrime.

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2022/01/at-request-of-u-s-russia-rounds-up-14-revil-ransomware-affiliates/

BACK-TO-BACK TRADES AND RED FLAGS

On 13 January, Global Trade Review published an article on trade transactions used primarily as a means of generating liquidity. It examines internal documents and leaked correspondence showing the inner workings of metals tycoon Sanjeev Gupta’s arrangements, and explores the growing nervousness among authorities and banks around circular trades, repo deals and related-party transactions.  It says that Back-to-back transactions have long been a staple of the commodity finance market; and by purchasing and immediately reselling cargo, a trader can boost its access to liquidity – reducing the risk of being stranded with illiquid assets and improving its ability to pay off debts as they fall due.  It says that, historically, back-to-back cargo trades – including circular or repo structures – have not been considered an illegitimate means of raising working capital, provided the parties involved are aware of the arrangement and there is a real-world underlying trade.  However, there are signs banks are becoming more wary of supporting such transactions.

https://www.gtreview.com/magazine/commodities-issue-2022/back-back-trades-red-flags/

RECENT MONEY LAUNDERING CASE INVOLVING SLOVAKIA AND ECUADOR PUTS LIBERIA ON THE RADAR

On 17 January, Front Page Africa carried an article saying that what is now being considered as one of the biggest money laundering cases in Liberia was unravelled after partners of the wire fraud made a huge transfer of half a million US Dollars from Ecuador and Slovakia to a GT Bank account in Liberia.

https://frontpageafricaonline.com/amp/news/recent-money-laundering-case-involving-slovakia-and-ecuador-puts-liberia-on-the-radar/

OFAC LICENCE FOR SOUTH KOREA TO PAY ARBITRATION AWARD TO IRANIAN FAMILY

The licence is to allow South Korea to meet an arbitral award to Iran’s Dayyani family using the US financial system.  The Dayyanis are major shareholders in the Iranian home appliance company Entekhab, and had filed an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) complaint against the South Korean government in 2015 over a $50 million deposit paid as part of a failed attempt to acquire Daewoo Electronics.

https://www.mofa.go.kr/eng/brd/m_5676/view.do?seq=321975

WARNING TO SHIPPING TRANSITING THE LOWER RED SEA, EAST OF THE HANISH AND ZUBAIR ISLANDS

Dryad Global has issued an alert to all commercial traffic calling at Saudi Red Sea ports after Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for an attack that resulted in explosions of 3 petroleum tanker vehicles near the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company storage facility.

https://www.dryadglobal.com/advisory-notices-maritime-security

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NEW PAPER ADDRESSES BIAS AND INSIDER THREAT PROGRAMS

On 13 January, Homeland Security Today reported that the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) has released a new white paper that can help insider threat and security managers identify and mitigate biases that undermine the effectiveness of insider threat (InT) programmes in both government and industry.  It identifies sources of potential bias that can be attributed to both people and technology.  It offers several recommendations for how organizations can identify and mitigate bias in InT programmes.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/intelligence/new-paper-addresses-bias-and-insider-threat-programs/

The white paper is at –

https://www.insaonline.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/Bias-and-Insider-Threat-Programs-Paper.pdf

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OFAC DESIGNATES 3 HIZBALLAH-LINKED FINANCIAL FACILITATORS AND THEIR LEBANON-BASED TRAVEL COMPANY

On 18 January, OFAC announced that it had designated Adel Diab, Ali Mohamad Daoun, Jihad Salem Alame, and their company, Dar Al Salam for Travel & Tourism.  It says that Hizballah’s widespread network of financial facilitators has helped the group exploit Lebanon’s financial resources and survive the current economic crisis.  Through businessmen like these, Hizballah gains access to material and financial support through the legitimate commercial sector to fund its acts of terrorism and attempts to destabilise Lebanon’s political institutions. 

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0558

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220118

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ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, MONTENEGRO AND SERBIA

On 17 January, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published a report which looks at current trends of IFF in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia from a civil society perspective.  It is to be published on 19 January.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/iffs-western-balkans-2/

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UN REMOVES 3 NAMES FROM ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LISTS

On 17 January, the UN advised that the relevant Sanctions Committee had removed 3 entities from the ISIL/Al-Qaida sanctions list – AL-HARAMAIN ISLAMIC FOUNDATION; AL-HARAMAIN ISLAMIC FOUNDATION (SOMALIA); and AL-HARAMAIN FOUNDATION (INDONESIA).

https://www.un.org/press/en/2022/sc14767.doc.htm

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