On 30 March, HM Treasury advised that the entries for OJSC KB Radar-Managing Company Holding Radar System on the Belarus sanctions lists, and Sergey Pavlovich Ivanov on the Russian sanctions lists had been amended. In addition, a duplicate entry relating to Aleksander Aleksandrovich Mikheev on the Russian lists has been deleted.
On 30 March, the US Treasury advised that OFAC had sanctioned an Iran-based procurement agent and his network of companies that procured ballistic missile propellant-related materials for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Research and Self Sufficiency Jihad Organization (IRGC RSSJO), the IRGC unit responsible for the research and development of ballistic missiles, as well as Iran’s Parchin Chemical Industries (PCI), an element of Iran’s Defense Industries Organization (DIO). OFAC is also taking action against a key Iranian intermediary involved in the procurement of parts used to develop missile propellant on behalf of PCI. This action follows Iran’s missile attack on Erbil, Iraq on 13 March and the Iranian-enabled Houthi missile attack against a Saudi Aramco facility on 25 March as well as other missile attacks by Iranian proxies against Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
On 28 March, an article from ACFCS reported that a $140 million penalty levied by FinCEN and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency for AML failings at USAA has a host of lessons for the compliance community, essentially being a roadmap to evade systems, technology and human training pitfalls. It says that abank must never forget about the vital importance of training for analysts, case-crafters and decision-makers – training that goes beyond technical policies and teaches how to think and act like an experienced, effective investigator.
This report says that the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) provides the American public with a direct outlet to report cyber crimes to the FBI. In 2021, IC3 continued to receive a record number of complaints from the American public: 847,376 reported complaints, which was a 7% increase from 2020, with potential losses exceeding $6.9 billion. Among the 2021 complaints received, ransomware, BEC schemes, and the criminal use of cryptocurrency are among the top incidents reported. In 2021, BEC schemes resulted in 19,954 complaints with an adjusted loss of nearly $2.4 billion.
On 30 March, the NGO TRAFFIC reported that traffickers are exploiting the growth of the aviation sector to move illegal wildlife products across India and its international borders. Organisations have joined forces to develop a suite of tools to arm enforcement officials with the knowledge and skills to combat this crime that fuels declines in many Indian and international species. It reported the trafficking of over 70,000 native and exotic wild animals, including their body parts or derivatives (weighing around 4,000 kg) in 140 wildlife seizure incidents at 18 Indian airports between 2011-2020. 46% of seizures were reptiles.
A Report from the Brookings Institute says that wildlife trafficking from Mexico to China receives little international attention, but it is growing, compounding the threats to Mexican biodiversity posed by pre-existing poaching for other markets, including the US. It says that it is likely, however, that the extent of poaching and trafficking, including to China, is larger than commonly understood. The report says that legal wildlife trade from Mexico to China, such as in sea cucumbers and crocodilian skins, provides cover for laundering poached animals; and that illegal fishing accounts for a staggering proportion of Mexico’s fish production. Organised crime groups across Mexico, especially the Sinaloa Cartel, seek to monopolise both legal and illegal fisheries along the entire vertical supply chain.
Panama Covid-19 update – another day with no deaths, but with 325 new cases nevertheless reported. 2,436 active cases include 13 in ICU and 88 in other wards.
29 MARCH 2022
OPEN-SOURCE TECHNOLOGY TOOLS FOR UN SCR 1540 NON-PROLIFERATION IMPLEMENTATION
The Strategic Trade Research Institute (STRI) recently organised a webinar, a recording of which is now available online, featuring a discussion and demonstration of open-source tools and resources available to all UN Member States that can help stakeholders gather information, assess risks, make policy and authorisation decisions, and take effective enforcement measures.
PRIVY COUNCIL WIDENS LAW ON FREEZING INJUNCTIONS IN “GROUND-BREAKING” EXPOSITION OF LAW
On 22 March, an article from RPC reported that the Privy Council had confirmed that a court’s injunctive power extends to the grant of freezing orders where there are no relevant domestic proceedings in prospect and where the sole purpose of the order is to aid enforcement in foreign proceedings. This decision arose in a case from Hong Kong and an appeal involving a claim for damages arising from allegedly fraudulent investments made during his time as a director of the company concerned.
RUSSIA’S INVASION OF UKRAINE AND ITS IMPACTS ON EASTERN EUROPE
On 21 March, a paper from the Centre for European Policy Studies provides an analysis on how the ongoing war in Ukraine is not just impacting Ukraine but all of the major countries in eastern Europe, including Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Russia.
PROPERTIES RAIDED ACROSS GERMANY IN ILLEGAL SLOT MACHINE CRACKDOWN
On 28 March, iGB reported that more than 300 officers from police departments in Hesse, North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg carried out a coordinated operation on 23 March. The case involves individuals who are under suspicion of providing illegal gambling services.
US: NEW FEDERAL BUDGET SEEKS INCREASES FOR FIU AND SANCTIONS UNIT
On 29 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the recent US Budget proposals is looking to boost funding for both the Treasury Department’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence and FinCEN. There is a 14.5% rise from the requested funding for fiscal year 2022 for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence. A recent audit of US sanctions policy said that the agency needed to adapt and modernise its underlying operational architecture to meet the emerging challenges that could potentially reduce the efficacy of sanctions, including cybercrimes, technological innovations such as digital currencies and new methods of hiding cross-border transactions.
US LAWMAKERS LAUNCH PROBE OF CREDIT SUISSE COMPLIANCE WITH RUSSIA SANCTIONS
On 28 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform and the chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security have asked Credit Suisse Group AG to hand over information on its financing of yachts and aircraft owned by potentially sanctioned individuals.
PANAMA: ANTI-CORRUPTION PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE SAYS PRIVATE BUS COMPENSATION SCHEME ‘TURNED INTO BUSINESS’
On 28 March, La Prensa reported that the office had requested trials for 541 people for alleged embezzlement involved in the process of compensation of diablo rojo buses between 2010-2014. Under the scheme, operators were compensated when their bus services were replaced by state-run bus services. It is also alleged that officials of the Transit and Land Transportation Authority (ATTT) partnered with members of transportation concessionaires and carriers to fraudulently compensate buses.
ARMED ATTACKS IN NORTHERN MOZAMBIQUE SEND THOUSANDS FLEEING
On 22 March, VoA reported that escalating violence by unidentified armed groups in northern Mozambique’s oil-rich Cabo Delgado Province has sent tens of thousands of people fleeing for their lives since the start of the year.
LITHUANIA FREEZES €14 MILLION IN FUNDS DUE TO RUSSIA, BELARUS SANCTIONS
On 29 March, LRT reported that Lithuania has frozen funds worth €13.9 million due to EU sanctions against Russia and Belarus, according to the latest figures from the Financial Crime Investigation Service (FNTT).
AUSTRALIA ANNOUNCES MAGNITSKY-STYLE SANCTIONS OF 39 RUSSIANS
On 29 March, SBS News reported that Australia has issued the first tranche of sanctions under its Magnitsky-style sanctions act which allows the targeting of individuals for human rights abuses. 14 Russians responsible for serious corruption and a further 25 Russians who aided and abetted Mr Magnitsky’s abuse and death will face asset freezes and travel bans.
HONG KONG SFC PUBLISHES CIRCULAR ON RECENT FATF PUBLICATIONS ON AML/CFT
On 28 March, Mayer Brown reported that on 14 March, the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong (SFC) published a Circular about 3 recent publications issued by FATF, a statement on High-Risk Jurisdictions; another on Jurisdictions under Increased Monitoring; and the outcomes from the Plenary on 2-4 March.
FRANCE, GERMANY AND LUXEMBOURG SEIZE ASSETS OF LEBANON’S CENTRAL BANK CHIEF
On 29 March, France 24 reported that France, Germany and Luxembourg have seized properties and frozen assets worth €120 million in a major operation linked to alleged money laundering in Lebanon and the probe into the personal wealth of Riad Salameh, the central bank chief.
FAQ: NEW INSTRUCTIONS FOR THE PREVENTION, DETECTION AND CONTROL OF MONEY LAUNDERING IN EL SALVADOR
On 25 March, the Latin Alliance produced an article on the 6 most frequently asked questions and answers about the entry into force of the new Instructions for the Prevention, Detection and Control of Money Laundering, Financing of Terrorism and Financing of the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction issued by the Attorney General of the Republic of El Salvador in October 2022.
On 25 March, an article from Tozers LLP said that as many of 1 million trusts in the UK could be caught by a new requirement to register trusts with HMRC. Failure not to register could result in the risk of fines and potentially difficulties accessing professional advice. The new rules come into force on the 1 September. At the present time is it only trusts that have a tax liability that must report information but under the new rules all trusts, apart from those explicitly exempt, will need to sign up to the register by the deadline or for new trusts within 90 days of the trust’s creation.
On 29 March, RTE reported that fraud more than doubled last year, according to the latest annual crime figures released by the Central Statistics Office. The increase to almost 17,000 offences last year was largely driven by unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone, known as phishing and smishing.
UK: £38 MILLION SUPERYACHT PHI DETAINED IN CANARY WHARF
On 29 March, a news release from the NCA reported that officers from the National Crime Agency’s Combating Kleptocracy Cell have served a detention notice on a superyacht owned by a Russian national. Owned by a Russian businessman, Phi is the third biggest yacht built by prestigious shipbuilders Royal Huisman and includes what the builders call an “infinite wine cellar” and patented fresh-water swimming pool.
On 28 March, an article from OCCRP says that the Suisse Secrets leak lays bare the extent of the relationship between Credit Suisse and the politically-connected Venezuelan financial sector. OCCRP has uncovered ties between Credit Suisse and numerous actors involved in a complex currency-swapping trade known as the permuta market. Many were implicated in highly lucrative yet illegal securities-related schemes. It says that the so-called permuta market’s years of operation, between 2003 and 2010, became what some have dubbed the “savage years,” a nod toward the feeding frenzy it sparked among financial brokers.
OFAC HAS EXTENDED ECONOMIC SANCTIONS AGAINST BURMA TO 4 COMPANIES OWNED BY BURMESE BUSINESS LEADERS
On 29 March, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that all property and interests in property of these entities that are in the US or in the possession or control of US persons are blocked and must be reported to OFAC. In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by one or more blocked entities are also blocked.
BRAZIL’S SOUTHERN PORT OF PARANAGUÁ OFFERS ALTERNATIVE ROUTE FOR EUROPE COCAINE
On 28 March, Insight Crime reported that a 3-year investigation has showcased the important role Brazil’s southern port of Paranaguá plays in supplying cocaine to Europe, with gangs there in close contact with Italian mafia organisations.
GANG MURDER RAMPAGE SENDS SHOCKWAVES THROUGH EL SALVADOR GOVERNMENT
On 28 March, an article from Insight Crime reported that a killing spree unlike anything seen since El Salvador’s civil war has delivered a macabre message from the country’s street gangs, which have learned that spikes in homicides speak to the government. By 27 March, there had been 87 homicides in 72 hours. It also reported that El Salvador authorities later announced the arrest of over 570 gang members over 2 days, including 2 leaders who had allegedly ordered the murders.
SHIPPING ROUTES ARE BEING REDRAWN, WHILE PAYMENTS COULD SOON BE DONE IN NON-DOLLAR CURRENCIES
On 29 March, an article from Hellenic Shipping News reported that the war in Ukraine is already upsetting global shipping and the economy, as new routes are being drawn to compensate for the loss of cargoes from Russia and Ukraine. At the same time, we could be headed towards the limiting of dollar’s dominance as the preferred currency for most – if not all – international shipments.
HONDURAS TOP COURT BACKS EXTRADITION OF EX-PRESIDENT HERNANDEZ TO US
On 28 March, Swissinfo reported that the Supreme Court of Honduras has authorised the extradition of the country’s former president Juan Orlando Hernandez to the US to face drug-trafficking and firearms charges.
MARSHALL ISLANDS COULD EXPEL RUSSIAN SHIPS FROM REGISTRY
On 28 March, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the Marshall Islands has said that it was considering “expelling” from their ship registry any Russian yachts or boats that had been named by sanctions on Russia. Well over 3,000 vessels are currently registered on the register.
WILL FEAR OF PRESCRIBING OPIOIDS FUEL ILLEGAL ADDICTION?
On 29 March, the Crime Report posed this question, saying that as the US Supreme Court begins to look at a liability case of 2 physicians already found guilty of pill peddling hundreds of thousands of opioids, doctors are becoming increasingly reluctant to prescribe opioids for pain treatment for fear of being criminally charged in the future. It notes that overdoses in America have been climbing in recent years, particularly during the pandemic, with estimated annual overdose deaths having topped 100,000 in the 12-month period ending in April 2021.
On 29 March, HM Treasury issued a new General Licence which allows a person (other than Sovcomflot or a subsidiary) to wind down any transactions to which it is party involving the these including the closing out of any positions. The Licence lasts until 15 May.
EUCOMMISSION PROPOSES NEGOTIATING MANDATE FOR NEW UNITED NATIONS CONVENTION AGAINST CYBERCRIME
On 29 March, the EU announced that the Commission has proposed a negotiating mandate enabling the EU to take part in negotiations for a new international convention on countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes. The work on a new convention follows from the December 2019 United Nations Resolution on ‘Countering the use of information and communications technologies for criminal purposes’. Negotiations on the convention began in early 2022 and are expected to be finalised in 2024.
MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE (MLA) THAT CAN BE PROVIDED BY THE UK
On 29 March, the Home Office announced the publication of an updated guide. Among the changes made are that Polish and Turkish translations have been deleted, as they are now out of date and new translations are being developed.
ENFORCEMENT AGAINST TEXAS SELF-STYLED INVESTMENT FIRM THAT ALLEGEDLY MISAPPROPRIATED IN EXCESS OF $7.2 MILLION FROM INVESTORS WHO INTENDED TO TRADE FOREX OR CRYPTOCURRENCY IN MANAGED ACCOUNTS
On 29 March, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has announced that a consent order was entered in the Western District of Texas in an enforcement action against defendants Abner Alejandro Tinoco, and his company, Kikit & Mess Investments LLC, finding that they misappropriated in excess of $7.2 million from investors who intended to trade forex or cryptocurrency in managed accounts. The order imposes injunctive relief, including bans relating to trading and registration.
BANK OF ITALY BANS ONLINE GERMAN BANK N26 FROM TAKING ON NEW CLIENTS
On 29 March, Investing.com reported that the Bank of Italy said that it had banned the local unit of online German bank N26 from taking on new customers after checks late last year flagged money laundering risks.
ECUADOREAN ARRESTED IN MIAMI ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES TIED TO ODEBRECHT BRIBES
On 29 March, the Miami Herald reported that a former senior Ecuadorean official, Carlos Polit Faggioni, 72, who was convicted in his home country of extorting millions from Brazilian engineering firm Odebrecht S.A. had been arrested in Miami in a related US federal money-laundering case.