As you may guess, I am off and away again – this time high in the mountains…so there may be a few gaps and omissions that hopefully one can correct in due course…
Panama Covid-19 update – 13 new fatalities and 1,614 new cases reported today, with active cases down to 36,499, of whom 79 are in ICU and 577 in other wards. In some good news, tests returned a positive hit rate of 19.9%, indicating that community infection, though continuing, is reducing.
7 FEBRUARY 2022
ISLE OF MAN ADVISES OF AMENDMENTS TO VENEZUELAN AND BELARUS SANCTIONS
On 7 February, 2 news releases advised that the sanctions entries for 7 individuals and 1 entity on the Belarus sanctions had been amended, and that the entry for Elvis Eduardo AMOROSO in the Venezuelan sanctions lists had been amended.
ISLE OF MAN BORDER SECURITY INFORMATION-SHARING BILL
On 7 February, the Isle of Man launched a survey into reaction to this Bill to make provision about better coordinating existing public sector functions in relation to the movement of persons and goods to and from the Island; and for connected purposes. The consultation, which was launched on 24 January, closes on 17 February.
US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT ADDS 33 PERSONS TO THE “UNVERIFIED LIST” FOR EXPORT, RE-EXPORT AND IN-COUNTRY TRANSFER PURPOSES
On 7 February, KPMG reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) had added the names to the “unverified list” , which contains the names and addresses of foreign persons who are or have been parties to a transaction involving the export, reexport, or transfer (in-country) of items subject to the Export Administration Regulations (EAR), and whose bona fides—i.e. legitimacy and reliability relating to the end-use and end-user of items subject to the EAR — BIS has been unable to verify through an end-use check.
INDONESISA: MONEY LAUNDERING IS STILL RIFE
On 7 February, the Jakarta Post reported that the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (PPATK) said it had received 73,000 reports on suspicious financial transactions in 2021, up from 68,057 in 2020, as well as 2.4 million reports on suspicious cash transactions, down from 2.7 million in 2020.
US STATE DEPARTMENT REVOKES THE VISA OF FORMER HONDURAN PRESIDENT JUAN ORLANDO HERNANDEZ, BARELY A WEEK AFTER HE LEFT OFFICE
On 7 February, Univision News reported that this comes as the DoJ is believed to be preparing to bring an indictment against Hernandez after he left office on 27 January. The US has a policy of not indicting sitting heads of state.
US: NUN, 80, WHO EMBEZZLED $835,000 FROM A SCHOOL SENTENCED TO YEAR IN PRISON
On 7 February, the Daily Breeze reported that a nun and former principal of a Catholic school in California was sentenced to 1 year in prison, after pleading guilty to embezzling approximately $835,000 from the campus to pay for personal expenses such as gambling trips.
TUNISIA’S AUTHORITARIAN TURN
On 7 February, a Commentary from RUSI argues that a country once labelled the Arab Spring’s only ‘success story’ is now in danger of going backwards. It looks at how and why, as well as arresting political opponents, President Kais Saied’s government has been accused of turning a blind eye to police violence against journalists and of repressing public protests.
UK: A CALL FOR EVIDENCE – AN INDEPENDENT CUSTOMS REGIME
On 7 February, HM Treasury and HMRC said that the Government is taking a fresh look at the fundamental building blocks of the UK’s customs system. They call for respondents’ views on the customs intermediary sector; the Simplified Customs Declaration Process (SCDP); and the Transit facilitation. It is said that evidence produced by the Government review will support changes to policy or processes to make it easier for traders to navigate the UK’s customs system. The consultation closes on 2 May, but HM Treasury and HMRC will host a webinar on 2 March in order to provide guidance on how to respond.
UK: CONSOLIDATED LIST OF STRATEGIC MILITARY AND DUAL-USE ITEMS THAT REQUIRE EXPORT AUTHORISATION
On 4 February, the Department of International Trade published a list of goods, software and technology one can use to determine whether or not they are controlled and require a licence to export.
GUERNSEY TAX REVIEW BEGINS
On 7 February, the Guernsey Government issued a news release saying that all households are to receive leaflet outlining the challenges faced in funding public finances because of the changes to our population.
UNDERSTANDING EU POLICY ON FIREARMS TRAFFICKING
On 7 February, a briefing paper from the EU Parliament Research Service says that precise figures about the numbers of illegal firearms in the EU are lacking, but several indicators point to their widespread availability and accessibility. According to the Small Arms Survey, over half of the estimated total number of firearms held by civilians in the EU in 2017 were unlicensed. Firearms seizures suggest that the EU illicit firearms market is made up mostly of shotguns, pistols and rifles, with converted or convertible weapons also frequently appearing. Illicit firearms trafficking is driven by criminal demand, with organised crime groups that engage in firearms trafficking also involved in other forms of criminality. Although the export of arms remains a national competence, the EU has defined common rules governing the control of exports of military technology and equipment and works actively with third countries that are viewed as source or transit countries for illicit firearms.
US: 5 FEDERAL AGENCIES JOINED FORCES TO REMIND THE PUBLIC ABOUT THE ONGOING DANGERS OF ROMANCE SCAMS. AND HAVE LAUNCHED DATING OR DEFRAUDING?, A NATIONAL AWARENESS EFFORT TO ALERT THE PUBLIC TO ROMANCE SCAMS THAT TARGET VICTIMS LARGELY THROUGH DATING APPS OR SOCIAL MEDIA
An article on Mondo Visione on 7 February, says that, with the proliferation of online dating apps, social media, and even messaging apps, new types of scams are emerging that target new audiences and have drained victims of millions of dollars. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), 2020 was a record year for romance scams.
TRADE CONTROL AND DUAL-USE RESEARCH: A DIFFICULT COMPROMISE
The European Studies Unit at the University of Liège has produced this report on the problem of “academic proliferation” and contacts and commercial application of academic research, and the necessity of implementing trade control rules. It says that since the recast of the EU Dual Use Regulation that clearly identified academia and research centres as part of its scope, they have had to accept to implement some controls on their activities. The difficulty is precisely to define which ones will require an authorisation and which ones will be exempted.
US MARSHALS SEIZED A PAIR OF POPULAR CRUISE SHIPS IN THE BAHAMAS ON ALLEGATIONS THAT THEIR MIAMI-BASED OWNER, CRYSTAL CRUISES, HAS FAILED TO PAY $4.6 MILLION IN FUEL BILLS
On 6 February, the New York Port reported that Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony had only crew members on board. A third ship, the Crystal Endeavor, the line’s newest and most luxurious vessel, was seized in Argentina.
LAW FIRM MISHCON DE REYA ACCUSED OF ‘TURNING A BLIND EYE’ TO THE SOURCE OF ALMOST £3 MILLION OF ‘POTENTIALLY TAINTED’ CASH PAID BY A CLIENT
On 3 February, the Law Society Gazette reported that the money was later found to have misappropriated millions from a property investment business, according to a document filed at the High Court. The firm is said to have accepted 14 payments from Edward Wojakovski, who wrongfully extracted around £13 million from companies in the Tonstate Group of which he was a director.
HOW ENDANGERED BRAZILIAN TIMBER ENDS UP IN THE US
On 4 February, a report from OCCRP told the story of an alleged cocaine trafficker, a trail of fake paperwork, and a cluster of criminals: inside the Amazon rainforest’s illicit timber trade.
CREDIT SUISSE SECURITISED LOANS LINKED TO CUSTOMERS’ YACHTS AND PRIVATE JETS, IN AN UNUSUAL USE OF DERIVATIVES TO OFFLOAD RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH LENDING TO ULTRA-RICH OLIGARCHS AND ENTREPRENEURS
On 7 February, an article in Swissinfo reported that the Swiss lender has quietly sold on a slice of the risk related to $2 billion of its “ultra-high-net-worth” client loans at the end of 2021. The securitisation of the portfolio of loans to tycoons and oligarchs backed by their “jets, yachts, real estate and/or financial assets” was made by a unit of the bank that has previously been plagued with sanctions-related issues.
DUBAI BANK ACCOUNTS LINKED TO THE FISHROT TRANSACTIONS IN NAMIBIA HAVE ALLEGEDLY BEEN EMPTIED
On 4 February, The Namibian reported that the accounts had been emptied, with funds removed through cash withdrawals. The scandal refers to alleged corruption linked to Icelandic fishing company, Samherji .
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