OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 16

Panama Covid-19 update – another big drop in active cases and in the positive test results. There were 15 new fatalityies and 1,328 new cases; active cases are down to 10,787, with 57 in ICU and 295 in other wards.

FEBRUARY 16 2022

UNDERSTANDING THE FUNDAMENTALS IN THE UAE FOR AML/CFT

On 15 February, Alsuwaidi & Company has produced this guide.

https://alsuwaidi.ae/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/220126-AML-KYC.pdf 

NEPAL: POLICE ARRESTED 8 PEOPLE FROM BOUDDHA AREA OF KATHMANDU ON THE SUSPICION OF SMUGGLING AROUND 3 KG OF URANIUM

On 16 February, The Himalayan reported that, acting upon a tip-off, police arrested them from the premises of Hyatt Regency Hotel in Bouddha.  A ‘uranium-like’ substance was found inside a car in the parking lot. 

https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/eight-suspected-uranium-smugglers-held 

On 15 February, AML Intelligence published an article by the Chair for AML Intelligence at MONEYVAL.  She comments on the growing scale of the money laundering threat and the persistence of launderers to abuse the international financial system to hide their illicit proceeds.  She says the world is are facing a combination of older money laundering methods and newer trends – both requiring coordinated action from governments in Europe and around the world.

UK SUPREME COURT: SUSPECT UNDER INVESTIGATION HAS REASONABLE EXPECTATION OF PRIVACY

On 16 February, the Law Society Gazette reported that a person under a criminal investigation has a reasonable expectation of privacy before they are charged, the Supreme Court has ruled in a decision which effectively confirms the ‘general rule’ of pre-charge anonymity.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/suspect-under-investigation-has-reasonable-expectation-of-privacy-sc-confirms/5111529.article

OECD REPORTS SOLID PROGRESS ON BEPS ACTION 5 AND 14

On 16 February, Tax News reported that the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS has published the outcome of more reviews into territories’ preferential tax regimes and on tax dispute resolution through the Mutual Agreement Procedure; and that findings of reviews into 9 preferential tax regimes have been published –

  • 2 newly introduced regimes, introduced in Hong Kong (China) and Lithuania, are “not harmful”;
  • 2 regimes that were subject to scrutiny have been abolished in Mauritius;
  • Qatar amended its 3 preferential regimes to be in line with the standard and, therefore, these regimes are now considered “not harmful”;
  • Costa Rica has made a commitment to amend recent legislative changes that were made to its free trade zone regime; and
  • 1 new regime is under review in Armenia concerning free economic zones.

Peer review monitoring reports have been released for Brunei Darussalam, Curacao, Guernsey, Isle of Man, Jersey, Monaco, San Marino and Serbia. These look at progress the territories have made in implementing recommendations.

https://www.tax-news.com/news/OECD_Reports_Solid_Progress_On_BEPS_Action_5_And_14____98002.html

UK: GHANAIAN DRUG TRAFFICKING NETWORK DISMANTLED

On 16 February, a news release from the NCA announced that 4 members of a Ghanaian cocaine smuggling group have been jailed for over 28 years following a NCA investigation.  The group attempted to import almost £3 million worth of the class A drug concealed in their luggage on flights from Ghana to the UK.  Other individuals in Ghana connected to this drugs supply group have recently been arrested and apprehended by Narcotics Control Commission. 

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/ghanaian-drug-trafficking-network-dismantled

45 ARRESTS IN CRACKDOWN ON ALBANIAN GANG FLOODING EUROPE WITH COCAINE

A news release from Europol advised that an international operation involving judicial and law enforcement authorities in 7 countries has resulted in the takedown of one of Europe’s most active Albanian-speaking cocaine trafficking networks in Europe.  Eurojust and Europol supported a series of actions carried out in Belgium and Spain, during which over 80 places were searched and 45 suspects arrested. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/media-press/newsroom/news/45-arrests-in-crackdown-albanian-speaking-criminals-flooding-europe-cocaine

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/15965-police-from-7-european-countries-dismantle-cocaine-smuggling-gang

NEW REQUIREMENTS IN FORCE FOR CROSS-BORDER DATA TRANSFERS FROM CHINA

On 16 February, Out-Law reported that China’s Personal Information Protection Law (PIPL) came into force on 1 November, setting new requirements on the transfer of personal data from China to other jurisdictions.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/new-requirements-in-force-for-cross-border-data-transfers-from-china

BULGARIA GRANTED RESIDENCY TO RUSSIA’S TOP BANKERS THROUGH GOLDEN VISA PROGRAMME

On 15 February, Schengen Visa Info reported that authorities in Bulgaria have given golden visa passports to some of Russia’s top bankers, according to Euractiv.  Russian top bankers are said to have benefited from Bulgaria’s Citizenship by Investment Program, despite there is no evidence that they have made real investments.

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/bulgaria-granted-residency-to-russias-top-bankers-through-golden-visa-program/

MINING COMPANY DROPS $1.2 BILLION COURT CASE WITH BENY STEINMETZ AND 5 OF HIS ASSOCIATES OVER ALLEGED BRIBERY

On 14 February, Mining.com reported claims that Vale SA had dropped its $1.2 billion London court case less than half way through a planned 11-week trial into alleged bribery.  Its lawyer told the High Court that its claim was brought out of time. 

https://www.mining.com/web/vale-backs-out-of-1-2-billion-bribery-trial-against-beny-steinmetz/

POLICE OPERATION AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING IN MALLORCA

On 15 February, the Majorca Daily Bulletin reported that it is understood that the operation is part of an investigation into a European plot involving predominantly Albanian nationals but also Swedes, Germans and Russians, among others.

https://www.majorcadailybulletin.com/news/local/2022/02/15/97269/mallorca-police-huge-operation-against-money-laundering.html

VIJAY MALLYA SAVES HIS LONDON HOME THROUGH TRUSTS REGISTERED IN BAHAMAS

On 14 February, The Drinks Business reported that, despite a High Court ruling that Swiss bank UBS could repossess the property because the fugitive former head of India’s United Spirits and United Breweries had serially defaulted on a £20 million mortgage, a court in the Bahamas has come to his rescue.  It ruled that Mallya’s mother and children are beneficiaries of 3 trust funds established there in his name.  Mallya fled to the UK almost 6 years ago and has exhausted all court processes to avoid extradition to India but remains in the UK until it is believed an asylum claim is resolved.

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2022/02/vijay-mallya-saves-his-london-home-through-trusts-registered-in-bahamas/

LONDON MARINE INSURERS ADD RUSSIAN, UKRAINIAN WATERS TO HIGH-RISK LIST

On 16 February, Insurance Marine News reported that London’s marine insurance market have added the Ukrainian and Russian waters around the Black Sea and Sea of Azov to its list of areas deemed high risk.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/london-marine-insurers-add-russian-ukrainian-waters-to-high-risk-list/

US: STATE DEPARTMENT PROPOSES CHANGES TO ITAR

On 14 February, a post from Baker McKenzie reported on a proposed Rule from the State Department that, most significantly, would amend provisions of the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) affecting how the nationality of foreign persons is determined for purposes of deemed exports/re-exports – so that only a foreign person’s current citizenship(s) and current permanent residence(s) would need be taken into account for deemed export/re-export purposes. 

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/state-department-proposes-changes-to-itar-nationality-rule-and-other-substantive-clarifications-to-itar/

US: BLOCK ON PROPERTY OF DA AFGHANISTAN BANK FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PEOPLE OF AFGHANISTAN

On 11 February, an Executive Order which will block the property of Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), Afghanistan’s central bank, that is held in the US by US financial institutions, and require US financial institutions to transfer the property into a consolidated account held at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  It is to be used “for the benefit of the Afghan people”, as well as being available to settle claims brought by US victims of terrorism against the Taliban

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/afghanistan_bank_eo.pdf

PODCAST: “THE TINDER SWINDLER”

In the latest TRACE podcast, investigative journalist Erlend Ofte Arntsen of Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang joins the podcast to discuss his work on the “Tinder Swindler” story, recently adapted into a Netflix documentary.  Erlend and his colleagues broke the story of Shimon Hayut, an Israeli con man who found women on the dating app, impressed them with private jets and bodyguards, concocted stories about being in great personal danger and then drained their bank accounts and left them with extraordinary credit card debt. 

https://www.traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

US BLACKLISTS CHINESE COMPANY SUSPECTED OF VIOLATING SANCTIONS AGAINST NORTH KOREA

On 16 February, NK News reported that new export controls apply to Jiangsu Tianyuan Metal Power Co Ltd, a Chinese manufacturer of specialised metallic powder used in ballistic missiles

https://www.nknews.org/2022/02/us-blacklists-chinese-firm-suspected-of-violating-sanctions-against-north-korea/

UK ISSUES SOLUTION FOR UK PERSONAL DATA TRANSFERS

On 14 February, a post from Greenberg Traurig said that the long-awaited UK data transfer mechanism has been published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), resolving the question of how international transfers of personal data from the UK will be handled post-Brexit. It explains that companies now need only add a UK-approved addendum to existing 2021 EU SCC to govern UK data transfers to third countries not considered to provide “adequate” data protection. 

https://www.gtlaw-dataprivacydish.com/2022/02/finally-uk-issues-solution-for-uk-personal-data-transfers/

ROGER NG – GOLDMAN’S FALL GUY FINALLY BROUGHT TO COURT?

On 16 February, an article from the Sarawak Report says that it is disheartening to see that the one person who has ended up facing trial over 1MDB in the US from Goldman Sachs is the sole Malaysian and practically the lowliest person involved at the bank.  His bonus-rich multi-millionaire bosses have either taken their retirement or otherwise avoided trouble.

https://www.sarawakreport.org/2022/02/roger-ng-goldmans-fall-guy-finally-brought-to-court/

ERICSSON SHARES FALL 9% ON IRAQ CORRUPTION PROBE

On 16 February, RTE reported that shares of Ericsson fell more than 12%, after the Swedish telecom gear maker disclosed results of an internal investigation that detailed suspect payments and misconduct in Iraq.

https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2022/0216/1281265-ericsson-shares-fall-9-on-iraq-corruption-probe

AMERICAN BANKERS ASSOCIATION AND BANK POLICY INSTITUTE ON FINCEN’S PROPOSED RULES FOR CORPORATE TRANSPARENCY ACT

On 16 February, an article from Ballard Spahr LLP about proposed rules regarding the beneficial ownership reporting requirements of the Corporate Transparency Act. 

https://www.moneylaunderingnews.com/2022/02/american-bankers-association-and-the-bank-policy-institute-weigh-in-on-fincens-proposed-rules-for-corporate-transparency-act/

ALLEGED KIDNAPPER ALLEGEDLY HAD AROUND €3 MILLION IN TRAFFIC FINES FOR A CAR HIRE COMPANY WHICH HE OWNED WAIVED

On 16 February, the Malta Independent reported that an MP had used Parliamentary immunity to claim that alleged kidnapper Christian Borg used 2 individuals inside the Local Enforcement System Agency (LESA) and Transport Malta to help erase around €3 million in traffic fines which a car hire company which he owned had against it. He is one of 6 people charged last month with the abduction and beating of a man, where he pleaded not guilty. 

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2022-02-16/local-news/Christian-Borg-used-authority-insiders-to-erase-3-million-fines-on-his-car-hire-company-PN-MP-6736240692

MADURO FINANCIER ALEX SAAB WAS A DEA INFORMANT BEFORE INDICTMENT

On 16 February, BNN Bloomberg reported that a Colombian businessman and close ally of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was DEA informant for almost a year before he was indicted in Florida on money-laundering charges in 2019. 

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/maduro-financier-alex-saab-was-a-dea-informant-before-indictment-1.1724476

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GUATEMALA ARRESTS ANTI-CORRUPTION OFFICIALS AMID BREWING POLITICAL CRISIS

On 16 February, Reuters reported that the Guatemalan Prosecutor’s Office confirmed the arrest of 2 assistant prosecutors from the Special Prosecutor’s Office against Impunity (FECI), the latest in a string of detentions of anti-corruption officials.  Both were involved in uncovering a corruption plot between lawyers, politicians and businessmen to elect judges, and authorities say arrest warrants are pending against 2 more assistant prosecutors involved in that case.

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/guatemala-arrests-anti-corruption-officials-amid-brewing-political-crisis-2022-02-16

LEBANON’S CENTRAL BANK CHIEF VANISHES AS CORRUPTION PROBE MOUNTS

On 16 February, VoA reported that the whereabouts of Lebanon’s Central Bank head Riad Salameh is not known, and observers say he appears to be on the run after police raided his office and 2 homes.  Salameh has come under intense scrutiny since the collapse of Lebanon’s banking sector in 2019; and Germany, Luxembourg, France, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are also investigating him on suspicion of money laundering.

https://www.voanews.com/a/lebanon-s-central-bank-chief-vanishes-as-corruption-probe-mounts-/6444473.html

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GREENBERG TRAURIG’S SERIES OF POSTS ANALYSING CROSS-BORDER DATA TRANSFERS IN LIGHT OF THE NEW SCC APPROVED BY THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION IN JUNE 2021

Greenberg Traurig has produced a series of posts explaining how the June 2021 Standard Contractual Clauses published by the EU operate.

https://www.gtlaw-dataprivacydish.com/category/data-collection/

UK ISSUES SOLUTION FOR UK PERSONAL DATA TRANSFERS

On 14 February, a post from Greenberg Traurig said that the long-awaited UK data transfer mechanism has been published by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), resolving the question of how international transfers of personal data from the UK will be handled post-Brexit. It explains that companies now need only add a UK-approved addendum to existing 2021 EU SCC to govern UK data transfers to third countries not considered to provide “adequate” data protection. 

https://www.gtlaw-dataprivacydish.com/2022/02/finally-uk-issues-solution-for-uk-personal-data-transfers/

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

UK MAKES MANY MORE AMENDMENTS TO SANCTIONS CONSOLIDATED LIST AND TO THE IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS REGIME

On 16 February, HM Treasury advised that 48 entries have been amended in the new version of the Consolidated List.  Amendments have been made to entries under the following financial sanctions regimes: Afghanistan, Belarus, Counter-Terrorism, North Korea, Global Human Rights, DRC, Iraq, ISIL/Al-Qaida, Libya, Russia and Somalia.  The relevant notices can be found on the respective regime pages.  It also advised that amendments have been made to entries under the Iran (Human Rights) regime on the new and previous versions of the consolidated list.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1055453/Notice_Iran__Human_Rights__160222.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/financial-sanctions-consolidated-list-of-targets

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1055464/Notice_Democratic_People_s_Republic_of_Korea_160222.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1055463/Notice_Counter_Terrorism__International__160222.pdf

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1055469/Notice_Somalia_160222.pdf https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1055466/Notice_Iraq_160222.pdf

USE OF ONLINE MARKETPLACES AND VIRTUAL CURRENCIES IN DRUG AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

On 14 February, a report from the US Governmental Accountability Office says that drug and human traffickers are increasingly using online marketplaces and virtual currencies to connect with buyers and hide payments. 

https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-22-105101

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UK: POLITICALLY EXPOSED PERSONS (PEP) REGIME

On 16 February, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper observing that FATF in December 2018 rated the UK as  “compliant” with its main recommendation on PEP, noting that “all criteria are met”.  However, it also notes that, in November 2021 a number of peers raised concerns that firms were still imposing disproportionate due diligence requirements on them and their families.

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-7376/CBP-7376.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

US ADDS 7 TO ENTITY LIST

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2022/02/14/2022-03029/addition-of-certain-entities-to-the-entity-list