Panama Covid-19 update – the TV news tonight opened with a debate over whether the carnival should go ahead next month…a sign of local priorities perhaps.
Meanwhile, a new daily record established, with 12,351 new cases reported. 10 new fatalities were also reported, with the number of active cases soaring by over 8,000 to 77,438; with 71 (up 14) in ICU and 629 (up 23) in other hospital wards. Very roughly, maybe nearly 1 person in every 50 in the country is currently infected and in hospital, hospital-hotels or other isolation or quarantine (including me, with today being the last of my 10 days’ mandatory quarantine).
20 JANUARY 2022
SHADOW TRADING UNDER INSIDER TRADING LAW
On 20 January, a post from the Compliance and Enforcement blog at the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the New York University School of Law says that the SEC has long wanted to find the right case to pursue so-called “shadow trading,” where insiders armed with material non-public information about their own company use that information to trade in the securities of another company whose stock is closely correlated. It says that in SEC v Panuwat, filed last year, the SEC may have found the perfect vehicle for extending the insider trading laws to shadow trading.
CONSPIRACY TO EXPORT “GHOST GUNS” SENDS WARNING TO FREIGHT FORWARDERS AND THIRD-PARTY LOGISTICS OPERATORS
On 19 January, an article from a criminal complaint alleges that the defendant and others conspired to purchase parts of rifles and pistols, which they assembled to produce firearms that do not require serial numbers or registration with the federal government if intended for personal use. The most common kits in these types of activities are “80% receivers,” which are unfinished firearms with the most complicated machining completed but which lack the final 20% of components that would place them under the authority of the US Federal Firearms Regulations. Firearms enthusiasts claim the “ghost guns,” referred to as such due to their lack of serial numbers, allow hobbyists to customise the firearms to suit their needs and desires. However, others allege that these kits allow the assembly and sale of weapons by persons not authorised under federal law who skirt gun restrictions to produce guns that are untraceable if used in a crime. The article says that the typical modus operandi in firearms smuggling cases include comingling the guns in household goods or personal automobile exports and for third-party logistics operators, it can mean transporting illegal merchandise.
US DoJ MONITORSHIPS: THEY’RE COSTLY, THEY’RE DISRUPTIVE, AND THEY’RE MAKING A COMEBACK
An article from Torres Law on 19 January says that knowing about the monitorship process – what may lead to it and what it can mean for your organisation – is crucial for general counsels and employees alike. This article intends to demystify these court appointments, providing an overview of DoJ Monitorships, when they are imposed, what they can entail and cost, and what they mean for both industry and counsel.
PAPUPA NEW GUINEA TIMBER EXPORT LICENCES ONLY FOR LOCALS
On 20 January, One Papua New Guinea reported that Prime Minister James Marape said in Parliament that the licences for round log exports will only be given to locals and landowner companies including provincial government business arms. This will be done with the aim of migrating to downstream processing post 2025; and that the Government’s aim to end round log exports still stood. He said that no new licences had been issued to foreign companies since 2020.
US POTASH SANCTIONS MAY PUSH BELARUS DEEPER INTO PUTIN’S ARMS
On 20 January, BNN Bloomberg reported that US sanctions against Belarus’s potash industry that have helped push fertiliser prices to record highs may also draw President Alexander Lukashenko’s regime more tightly into Russia’s embrace to survive the shock to its finances.
BUSINESSMAN’S WIFE JAILED FOR HER PART IN NEW ZEALAND’S LARGEST CIGARETTE SMUGGLING CASE
On 20 January, Stuff reported that an Auckland woman will spend 3 years behind bars for her role in New Zealand’s biggest illegal cigarette smuggling operation after bringing in more than 19 million cigarettes into the country with her husband.
MAS FINES VISTRA TRUST (SINGAPORE) $1.1 MILLION FOR FAILURES IN ITS AML/CFT CONTROLS
On 20 January, Singapore Business reported that the Monetary Authority of Singapore has penalised the trust company, Vistra Trust (Singapore) Pte. Ltd, for failures to comply with AML/CFT requirements in 2019. It has paid the penalty of $1.1 million, and taken remedial actions to address the risk management deficiencies that led to the breaches. The breach was found during an inspection carried out between April to June 2019.
‘HUNDREDS’ OF RUSSIAN MERCENARIES IN MALI
On 20 January, the EU Observer reported that Russia already has “hundreds” of mercenaries in Mali, but there was no sign they were using EU-trained Malian soldiers, the EU foreign service has said.
CHEMICALS: EU COMMISSION SEEKS VIEWS ON REVISION OF REACH, THE LEGISLATION ON CHEMICALS
On 20 January, the EU announced a public consultation on the revision of the Regulation on the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH) regime. The revision will aim to align the EU’s chemical rules with the Commission’s ambition for safe and sustainable chemicals and a high level of protection of health and the environment, while preserving the internal market. The consultation runs to mid-April.
THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN WITH EU SANCTIONS ON SYRIA
On 19 January, the EU advised that North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Georgia have agreed to align their laws with amendments to EU sanctions on Syria as of 13 December.
MARITIME SECURITY CONTRACT: NIGERIA HIRES COMPANY SACKED OVER CORRUPTION IN CONGO AND MALI
On 20 January, the Premium Times in Nigeria reported that the Nigerian government has approved the award of a major maritime project to a company allegedly immersed in high-level corruption in 2 other African countries. It says that Frabemar UK Ltd is linked to an indictment in the DRC and Mali for corruption and embezzlement of public funds in 2012 and 2015 respectively.
ISRAEL SIGNS SCANDAL-RIDDEN €3 BILLION DEAL WITH GERMANY TO BUY NEW SUBMARINES
On 20 January, the Times of Israel reported that Israel is to purchase 3 submarines from Germany, even as cabinet ministers are set to vote on establishing a commission of inquiry into the agreement, which is entangled in an investigation into alleged corruption and bribes that has already resulted in multiple indictments.
BULGARIA TO ABOLISH ITS GOLDEN VISA PROGRAM
On 20 January, Schengen Visa Info reported that the move has been announced by the government, which plans to submit a Bill to the parliament, as the Justice Ministry has announced that the golden visa scheme has not led to real investment in the country. It is said that 96 internationals have Bulgarian golden passports, many of them Russians, followed by citizens from Middle Eastern countries.
VIETNAM: 390 CORRUPTION CASES INVESTIGATED, PROSECUTED IN 2021
On 20 January, Vietnam Plus reported that a total of 390 corruption cases involving 1,011 people were investigated and prosecuted last year.
GREECE: 3 ARRESTED AS POLICE SMASHES LARGE STEROID SUPPLY RING
On 20 January, Ekathimerini reported that the suspects are accused of membership in a criminal organisation, money laundering, forgery, as well as violations of the laws on weapons and laws on amateur and professional sports. It is reported that the gang’s activity extended to Italy, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Cyprus, Belgium, UK, Malta, US, the Netherlands and Luxembourg, where a large number of parcels were located. The raw materials were mainly procured from China, Bulgaria and Poland.
BUSINESS BOOMING IN SENEGAL’S ILLICIT MONEY FLOW AND DRUG TRAFFICKING CHANNELS
On 20 January, the Daily Maverick reported that Senegal is currently ranked 8th in the world for money laundering and terrorist financing risks. According to the National Risk Assessment, one of the major drivers in the country is drug trafficking, an illegal economy that generates nearly $360-million annually, and drug traffickers use various operations to launder their money, with real estate and construction being the preferred industries.
UK: NCA LAUNCHES INITIATIVE TO DIVERT STUDENTS FROM CYBERCRIME
On 20 January, OCCRP reported that, after the number of cyber attacks on schools’ networks doubled during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Crime Agency (NCA) has announced the launching of a new initiative to divert young people away from cybercrime.
UAE: INTEGRITY RISKS TO PERSIST DESPITE NEW, STRONGER AML MEASURES
On 20 January, Control Risks reported that last year the UAE announced that it will set up a specialised AML court within the court of first instance and the court of appeal. The article says that recent measures will improve the UAE’s AML framework. However, integrity risks for businesses operating in high-risk sectors will persist over the coming year. It says that businesses operating in sectors such as commodity trading, international banking and real estate should continue to carefully monitor and identify transacting parties to mitigate integrity risks.
LIBYA: CONTINUED POLITICAL STALEMATE WILL POSE SERIOUS CHALLENGES FOR FOREIGN COMPANIES
On 20 January, an article from Control Risks says that, with the date for Libya’s long-planned presidential elections having come and gone in December 2021, the political deadlock between Libya’s eastern and western authorities will continue to pose serious challenges for foreign companies doing business in or with Libya.
INDIAN FUGITIVE VIJAY MALLYA TO BE EVICTED FROM LUXURY LONDON HOME
On 19 January, The Drinks Business reported that Vijay Mallya, the fugitive former head of India’s United Breweries and United Spirits, is to be evicted from his luxury London home after repeatedly failing to repay a £20.4 million mortgage which fell due in 2017.
LEBANESE JUDGE FREEZES ASSETS OF CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR
On 18 January, ABC News reported that an investigating judge in Beirut has froze some assets belonging to the country’s central bank governor, Riad Salameh, who is accused of corruption and dereliction of duties during Lebanon’s unprecedented economic meltdown.
CRIMINAL GROUPS TURN TO ‘ELECTRONIC WARFARE’ TECH TO EVADE SANCTIONS IN SHIPPING
On 12 January, an article from Global Trade Review was concerned with research by maritime security company Windward. It says that illicit actors are turning to new techniques to evade sanctions on maritime trade, with industry insiders warning of a spike in location signal manipulation and “deep” dark activity, as well as growing misuse of LPG exports. Instances of global navigation satellite system (GNSS) manipulation, which allow vessels to report false information about their location, have increased dramatically over the past year.
US SUPPORTS HUMANITARIAN AID FOR NORTH KOREA, BUT SANCTIONS MUST BE FULFILLED
On 20 January, the Korea Herald reported that the US State Department has said that the US strongly supports humanitarian assistance for the people of North Korea but UN Security Council sanctions must be fully implemented at the same time, noting that North Korea often diverts humanitarian aid.
SIGNS EMERGE THAT NORTH KOREA MAY RESTART EXPORTS OF CERTAIN GOODS
On 20 January, Daily NK reported that, amid signs that North Korea has recently restarted freight train service to acquire goods from China, there is now speculation that the country is relaunching exports, too. It claimed that sources have said that provincial trading companies have begun securing export items in response to the order; and, apparently, they plan to first ship items that have been held in storage.
US: IRANIAN INTELLIGENCE MINISTRY BEHIND HACKING GROUP MUDDYWATER
On 19 January, Kharon reported that a hacking group known in the private sector as MuddyWater was recently identified by the US Cyber Command Cyber National Mission Force as a subordinate element of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS). It has primarily attacked Middle Eastern nations, but it also pursued European and North American countries.
OFAC ISSUES AMENDED VENEZUELUAN SANCTIONS LICENCE
On 20 January, OFAC issued General License 5I which authorises certain transactions related to the Petróleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) 2020 8.5% Bond. It has also issued updated FAQ 595.
ISRAELI ATTACK DRONE MANUFACTURER AND 3 SENIOR EMPLOYEES HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH VIOLATING THE ISRAELI DEFENCE EXPORT CONTROL LAW
On 20 January, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Aeronautics Ltd and the 3 individuals had reportedly been charged, but that a gag order was in place to prevent publication of further details of the indictment.
IED IN THE SAHEL AND WEST AFRICA REGION
On 2 December, the Small Arms Survey published a post saying that it had documented the trafficking of IED components in the Sahel and West Africa, having undertaken fieldwork in Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Mali, and Niger, to date. By considering the regional dimensions of the trafficking in question, the aim is to be able to establish an evidence base for developing a regional response. It uses the UN definition of an IED: ‘a device placed or fabricated in an improvised manner incorporating destructive, lethal, noxious, pyrotechnic or incendiary chemicals and designed to destroy, incapacitate, harass or distract’. It says that some of the components tracked are also important for economic sectors such as mining and agriculture, and this is where the complexity lies. There are multiple stakeholders, from very different sectors — many not associated at all with armed violence.
US: LEADER OF COMPLEX INTERNATIONAL FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING RING SENTENCED TO 14 YEARS IN PRISON
A US DoJ news release on 20 January advised that a federal court had sentenced Mary Kathryn Marr, 42, from Miami, to 14 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering. Marr was the leader of a large, international fraud and money laundering ring that operated out of the US and abroad. Marr contracted with various international “boiler rooms” to launder fraud proceeds that she and other conspirators had obtained from foreign victims, primarily by selling worthless investments. The majority of the victims that Marr and her conspirators targeted were located in Australia, New Zealand, UK, and countries in Asia.
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