On 9 March, a news release from the EU advised that Member States had agreed to adopt further targeted sanctions in view of the situation in Ukraine and in response to Belarus’s involvement in the aggression. In particular, the new measures impose restrictive measures on a further 160 individuals; plus SWIFT restrictions in respect of Belarus alongside other financial sanctions measures; new restrictions on the export of maritime navigation and radio communication technology, adding Russian Maritime Register of Shipping to the list of state-owned enterprises subject to financing limitations and introduces a prior information sharing provision for exports of maritime safety equipment.
EU Regulation 2022/396/EU adds 146 members of the Russian Federation Council and 14 persons supporting and benefitting from the Government of the Russian Federation or providing a substantial source of revenue to it, or associated with listed persons or entities.
EU Regulation 2022/394/EU expands, to the maritime sector, the list of legal persons, entities and bodies subject to financing limitations via loans, transferable securities and money market instruments; and extends to nationals of the member countries of the EEA and to nationals of Switzerland the exemption related to deposits.
EU Regulation 2022/398/EU expands the sanctions further in respect of Belarus
On 9 March, K2 Integrity reported that experts and US legislators warn that sanctioned Russian actors and their affiliates may turn to convertible virtual currencies (CVC) in an attempt to evade the sanctions, protect their assets, and restore their ability to transact internationally
On 7 March, a post from the Brookings Institute says that, as US-China bilateral relations have grown more tense, China’s willingness to cooperate with Washington on counternarcotics measures has shrunk. It previews a new report on the relationship and the trade in fentanyl etc. It says that China is also the principal supplier of precursor chemicals for methamphetamine production in East Asia and Mexico.
On 7 March, the Brookings Institute published a Working Paper about problems with people buying US property using shell companies which gave them anonymity. It says that real estate markets in countries like the US and UK have become prime destinations for illicit wealth. Real estate is an attractive investment for money launderers: It offers a safe return, the uncertainty around its true market value makes it useful for hiding illicit proceeds, and in many countries the sector is often subject to few, if any, AML provisions. One report, using only known laundering cases, estimated that at least $2.3 billion was laundered through US real estate 2015-2020. Since January 2016, in response to the threat that money laundering poses to the real estate sector, FinCEN had been operating its real estate Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) program in certain areas. The Paper asks whether the GTO program led to deterrence effects in the 22 American counties where it was introduced.
On 7 March, an Alert from White & Case advised that Switzerland had adopted various measures that add many asset freezes; ban listed individuals from entering Switzerland; restrict exports of dual-use, high-tech and aircraft-related goods as well as oil/gas equipment to Russia and Ukraine and tighten various monetary and financial sanctions. It has also has entirely revised its “Ordinance on measures in connection with the situation in Ukraine,” which was first issued in 2014 only last amended on 28 February.
Panama Covid-19 update – 382 news cases today and 3 new fatalities; with a modest fall in active cases to 3,030 – 22 in ICU, and with slight increases in those in other wards to 127, and in hospital-hotel quarantine to 38. The 7,350 tests recorded showed a psotivity rate of 5.2%.
8 MARCH 2022
WHY IS UKRAINE’S INTERNET STILL WORKING?
On 7 March, Defense One speculated on why the internet continued to work in Ukraine despite the Russian incursion, and despite previous fears of cyberattacks. It is suggested that the Russians have perhaps have found some value to keeping some public communications open for their own purposes.
BOEING’S BET ON RUSSIAN TITANIUM INCLUDES TIES TO SANCTIONED OLIGARCH
On 7 March, the Wall Street Journal reported on Boeing’s dilemma, saying that it had has suspended parts of its business in Russia, but it still has to deal with its relationship to a key titanium supplier led by a sanctioned over titanium, crucial for manufacturing its commercial jets and military aircraft. It has a joint venture with former KGB man, Sergey Chemezov.
On 7 March, the Wall Street Journal carried an article about the Russian supplier of nickel,MMC Norilsk Nickel PJSC (aka Nornickel) provides a large proportion of 2 metals that are essential to greener transport and computer chips. It is responsible for about 5% of the world’s annual production of nickel, a key component of electric-vehicle batteries, and some 40% of its palladium, which goes into catalytic converters and semiconductors.
UK: AMENDMENTS TO THE ECONOMIC CRIME (TRANSPARENCY AND ENFORCEMENT) BILL WHICH WILL AMEND THE SANCTIONS ACT
On 8 March, EU Sanctions blog reported on amendments made to the Bill as it passed its Third Reading in the House of Commons. One important amendment would allow people to be sanctioned for 56 days in an “urgent procedure”.
PUTIN CAN BE CHARGED PERSONALLY FOR CARNAGE IN UKRAINE, LEGAL EXPERTS SAY
On 7 March, the Pass Blue website, which covers the UN, reported the opinion of a Japanese legal expert, who says that Russia’s military invasion in Ukraine meets the definition of an “act of aggression” as defined by the International Criminal Court, and President Putin could be personally prosecuted for the crime.
SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA EMERGES AS GLOBAL EPICENTRE OF TERRORISM
On 8 March, Visions of Humanity reported on its Global terrorism Index 2022, finding that with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for 48% of total global deaths from terrorism; and that 4 of the 10 countries with the largest increases in deaths from terrorism were also in sub-Saharan Africa: Niger, Mali, the DRC and Burkina Faso.
THE UK POST OFFICE SCANDAL – CAN A PUBLIC INQUIRY PROMPT POSITIVE CHANGE?
An article from Shoosmiths on 22 February posed this question, reporting that an Inquiry into the Post Office Horizon IT system finally started hearing evidence relating to what has been described as “the worst miscarriage of justice in recent British legal history”. The article examines the legal history of what is described in the media as the Post Office scandal and considers the important role of Public Inquiries in enabling those most deeply affected by organisational failings to voice their experiences, with the aim of ensuring that all lessons are learned so that such events can never happen again.
On 28 February, Hill Dickinson LLP published an article saying that the ICC, DCSA, BIMCO, FIATA and SWIFT have launched the Future International Trade Alliance (FIT Alliance) and signed a memorandum of understanding seeking to standardise the digitalisation of international trade. They hope to collaborate on the development and adoption of relevant standards to facilitate the use of electronic bills of lading. It explains that the bill of lading is a document that illustrates title to goods, and is considered the most important document in international trade and for centuries has traditionally existed as a paper document.
THE EU’S CROSS-BORDER FINANCIAL CRIME AGENCY EPPO HAS SAID POLAND WILL NOT COOPERATE WITH IT
On 4 March Rahman Ravelli Solicitors in the UK published an article which assesses the significance of the Polish decision. It says that Poland has repeatedly rejected EPPO’s requests for cooperation since the agency started operating in June 2021; and that, while Poland is not a member of EPPO, it is a member of the EU – and so has to comply with EPPO’s requests.
NETHERLANDS PLANS OVERHAUL OF EXPORT LICENCES FOR ‘IRREPLACEABLE AND VITAL’ ART
On 7 March, Dutch News reported that ‘irreplaceable and vital’ artworks of national significance should be better protected from being sold abroad by private owners, a commission set up by the culture council has said.
MYANMAR TIMBER EXPORTS CONTINUE, DESPITE WESTERN SANCTIONS
On 8 March, The Diplomat reported that environmental advocacy group Forest Trends says much more can be done to strangle the junta’s access to natural resource revenues. It says that Myanmar’s military junta exported more than $37 million worth of timber to nations with active sanctions on the country’s state-run timber monopoly.
RUSSIAN SOVCOMFLOT TANKERS FIND SANCTIONS REFUGE IN THE BAHAMAS
On 7 March, gCaptain reported that at least 3 tankers controlled by Russian maritime powerhouse Sovcomflot that have been unable to deliver their cargoes due to sanctions have re-routed to the Bahamas. State-owned Sovcomflot was blacklisted by the US last month.
A LOOK AT CANADA’S SANCTIONS AND OTHER ACTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
On 7 March, the National Post provided an article saying that there are now more than 1,000 people and entities sanctioned, or in the process of being sanctioned, by Canada since Russia’s 2014 annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula.
US CUSTOMS AT BORDER CROSSINGS SEIZED 230 LB OF PROHIBITED PORK BOLOGNA IN 2 SEPARATE UNRELATED INCIDENTS
On 7 March, a news release from US Customs & Border Protection reported that the importation of unregulated pork products has the potential to introduce foreign animal diseases which can be detrimental to the agriculture industry.
FATF AGAIN FLAGS JUNKET-RELATED RISKS IN THE PHILIPPINES
On 7 March, GGR Asia reported that the Philippines has remained on the “grey list” of FATF, regarding jurisdictions that require increased monitoring in relation to risk of financial crimes. Among the recommendations made by FATF was that the Philippines had to demonstrate that it was making use of AML/CFT controls “to mitigate risks associated with casino junkets”.
On 7 March, YLE reported on a thriving black market in snus and a huge increase in smuggling. In 2011, customs seized just over 30 kg of snus, last year it was more than 9,000 kg. It explains that snus is an oral tobacco product, normally placed under a users’ upper or lower lip. Sales were banned by the EU, but Sweden was permitted to continue producing and marketing it; and it was formally banned in Finland in 1995.
PARAGUAY’S NARCO-POLITICS EXPOSED BY COLOSSAL ANTI-DRUG OPERATION
On 7 March, Insight Crime reported that Paraguay has launched the biggest operation against cocaine trafficking and money laundering in its history, unleashing a scandal that has forced the resignation of several politicians, amid growing international alarm about the country’s crucial role in the transatlantic cocaine trade. It started following the targeting a criminal network linked to more than 16 tons of cocaine seized in Europe, including an 11-ton seizure in the port of Antwerp in April 2021, and a further 4.7 tons in Paraguay.
REVISION OF THE EIDAS REGULATION: THE EUROPEAN DIGITAL IDENTITY FRAMEWORK
On 7 March, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper saying that the Framework would provide a trusted and secure way to authenticate and share qualified data attributes online through a ‘digital wallet’ ensured by Member States and allowing transactions across the EU.
FORMER FIFA OFFICIAL VALCKE FACES BRIBERY CASE APPEAL IN SWISS COURT
On 7 March, CNA reported that former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke and Qatari sports and broadcasting executive Nasser Al-Khelaifi has gone on trial in the appeals court of Switzerland’s federal criminal court, in a bribery case involving World Cup media rights.
HOW A MALAYSIAN UTILITY IS TRYING TO STOP ILLEGAL BITCOIN MINING
On 7 March, the Business Times reported that power theft in Malaysia for cryptocurrency mining is a problem that’s growing quickly. But the national utility has a few ideas of how to tamp down the practice. Tenaga Nasional has proposed a special tariff for Bitcoin mining operators in a move to fight electricity theft. In Malaysia, crypto mining itself isn’t illegal, but some miners steal electricity.
UK: IMPORTANT RUSSIAN SANCTIONS UPDATE FROM THE GAMBLING COMMISSION
On 28 February, the Gambling Commission issued this update reminding gambling operators to apply a risk-based approach in any third party or business relationships they conduct, or customer relationships which are associated with Russia and any of the sanctioned individuals, banks or entities named.
OPERATOR OF ONTARIO HEAVY EQUIPMENT BUSINESS ARRESTED IN $200 MILLION COCAINE BUST
On 4 March, the Toronto Star reported that the cocaine was travelling a winding route from Costa Rica, through Colombia, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic inside secret compartments in a large piece of machinery.
US TREASURY LAUNCHES CONSUMER EDUCATION EFFORT ON DIGITAL ASSETS
On 8 March, the US Treasury announced that the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (FLEC) would form a new sub-group on digital asset financial education, which will operate alongside the FLEC’s current workstream analysing the impact of climate change on household and community financial resilience. Through this group, the FLEC will work to develop consumer-friendly, trustworthy and consistent educational materials, tools and outreach to help consumers make informed choices about digital assets.
WHAT THE MONTREUX CONVENTION IS, AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR THE UKRAINE WAR
On 1 March, an article in The Conversation explains that the 1936 Convention gives Turkey control over the water route between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. It sets limits on the passage of civilian vessels and military warships through the Dardanelles and the Bosporus straits, which with the Sea of Marmara between them form the seagoing link between the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.
ISLE OF MAN ADVISES AMENDMENTS TO IRAN AND ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LISTS
On 8 March, the Isle of Man issued 2 new news release advising that, following its listing by the UN and UK, KHATIBA AL-TAWHID WAL-JIHAD (KTJ) had been added to the ISIL/Al-Qaida sanctions lists; and 1 individual and 3 entities on the Iran sanctions lists have been amended.
UK: RUSSIA (SANCTIONS) (EU EXIT) (AMENDMENT) (NO. 6) REGULATIONS 2022
On 8 March, these new Regulations were published. They provide for new aviation and trade sanctions measures in relation to Russia. A major change is that the Regulations prohibit Russian aircraft from overflying or landing in the UK, and the registration of aircraft on the register kept by the CAA is prohibited where they are owned, operated or chartered by demise by a designated person.
On 7 March, the UN advised that KHATIBA AL-TAWHID WAL-JIHAD (KTJ), a terrorist organisation operating under the umbrella of the international terrorist organisation Al-Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant, had been designated.