OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 13

Panama Covid-19 update – too early for today’s figures…and off to a cathedral (for non-religious reasons!), so will have to update later…

UPDATE – numbers still slowing a slight uptick, with 200+ more active cases. No new fatalities, but 397 new cases reported; with just 8 people in ICU, 66 in other wards and 13 in hospital-hotel quarantine. It is notable that the percentage of positive results in tests taken – 6,554 in the previous 24 hours, was up slightly too, at 6.1%

13 April 2022 

ISLE OF MAN: REVOCATION OF RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE

A news release on 13 April advised that, as with the UK, the General Licence relating to the activities with/of GEFCO had been revoked following the sale of the Russian Railway’ stake in GEFCO.

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/apr/13/financial-sanctions-russia-general-licence/

UK: CHAMPERTY AND PUBLIC POLICY

On 11 March, an article from Gatehouse Chambers involved a recent Court of Appeal hearing in a case where a solicitor firm sought to be substituted as a claimant in place of their now-deceased client in the proceedings.  It involved a number of matters of public policy around champerty and maintenance and the third-party funding of a legal claim.

https://gatehouselaw.co.uk/champerty-public-policy-and-the-winds-of-change-out-of-breath/

ATTACKS ON SHIPS AND SEAFARERS IN UKRAINE “ARE WAR CRIMES”

On 13 April, Seatrade Maritime News reported that the NGO Human Rights at Sea (HRAS) has made this assertion as some 1,000 seafarers on 100 international flagged vessels remain in the firing line in ports and waters of Ukraine as Russian.  HRAS says the attacks on international merchant shipping are war crimes, in the same way as attacks on civilians ashore.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/ship-operations/attacks-ships-seafarers-ukraine-are-war-crimes-say-hras

CANADA: NEW SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA DEFENCE SECTOR

On 13 April, EU Sanctions blog reported that the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Canada had imposed new sanctions involving 33 entities in the Russian defence sector.

https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2022/04/canada-imposes-additional-sanctions-on-russian-defence-sector.html

UK: RECLASSIFICATION OF GHB AND RELATED SUBSTANCES

A Home Office Circular on 13 April advised that there has been a change to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, with the reclassification of Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid, Gamma-Butyrolactone and 1,4-Butanediol from Class C to Class B.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/circular-0012022-reclassification-of-ghb-and-related-substances/circular-0012022-reclassification-of-ghb-and-related-substances

UK: GANG THAT STOLE £17 MILLION IN A ‘MISSING TRADER’ VAT FRAUD JAILED FOR A TOTAL OF 12 YEARS

A news release from HMRC on 12 April advised that the mastermind behind the fraud and his bookkeeper were jailed for a total of more than 12 years in April 2019.  Now the final gang member has been sentenced for cheating the public revenue by posing as a fake scrap metal dealer.  A network of companies – The Bond Group – was used to steal VAT through a ‘missing trader’ fraud.

https://www.mynewsdesk.com/uk/hm-revenue-customs-hmrc/pressreleases/17-pounds-million-scrap-metal-fraudsters-jailed-3175353

UK: CHARITIES ACT 2022 IMPLEMENTATION PLAN

On 13 April, a news release explained how the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will implement the Charities Act 2022.  The changes are expected to come into force in 3 tranches – in Autumn 2022, Spring 2023 and Autumn 2023.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/charities-act-2022-implementation-plan

UK: MAN JAILED AFTER IMPORTING 250 KG OF COCAINE BULKING AGENT

A news release from NCA on 13 April advised that a man has been jailed for 7½ years after importing vast quantities of benzocaine, an anaesthetic used to bulk out quantities of cocaine and increase supplier profits.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/ayrshire-man-jailed-after-importing-250kg-of-cocaine-bulking-agent

US: REPORT CALLS ON CONGRESS AND WHITE HOUSE TO DO MORE TO ENFORCE THE EXISTING PROHIBITION ON IMPORTS OF GOODS MADE WITH FORCED LABOUR

On 13 April, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported on the recent annual report from the Congressional-Executive Commission on China.  The report warns that international businesses continue to be at risk of complicity in the Chinese government’s increased use of forced labour in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region; with reports of forced labour in cotton harvesting, solar panel production, and personal protective equipment production, as well as manufacturing in general.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/april/report-urges-more-action-to-prevent-imports-of-forced-labor-goods-from-china

SITUATION IN LEBANON: SEVERE AND PROLONGED ECONOMIC DEPRESSION

A briefing from the EU Parliament Research Service on 13 April considers the situation in Lebanon since 2019, exacerbated by devastating explosion in the port of Beirut in August 2020.  It says that Lebanon’s severe and prolonged economic depression is, according to the World Bank, ‘likely to rank in the top 10, possibly top 3, most severe crisis episodes globally since the mid-19th Century’.  The European Parliament has called Lebanon’s present situation a ‘man-made disaster caused by a handful of men across the political class’.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2022/729369/EPRS_BRI(2022)729369_EN.pdf

UK: A FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT REQUEST REVEALS THAT THE FCA’S ENFORCEMENT CASELOAD FOR MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATION BREACHES REMAINS RELATIVELY LIMITED

An article from Eversheds Sutherland on 13 April considers the latest figures and discusses the associated risks for financial firms and their senior managers. It notes that, in 5 months, the FCA has doubled the number of dual-track investigations it has underway, and that it’s progressing an additional single-track criminal case relating to breaches of the Money Laundering Regulations, and that  there is nothing to suggest that one will see the deluge of criminal prosecutions that the market fears.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Fraud_and_financial_crime/New_FOI_request_reveals_further_criminal_probes_into_AML_breaches

SEC: FINAL JUDGMENTS AGAINST UNREGISTERED UK FINANCIAL FIRM AND ITS FOUNDER FOR CLEARING BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN US SECURITIES TRANSACTIONS

A news release from the SEC on 11 April announced that the SEC had obtained final judgments against Global Investment Strategy UK Ltd, a London-based financial services firm, and John William Gunn, its founder and principal.  It acknowledges the assistance of the Financial Conduct Authority of the UK.

https://www.sec.gov/litigation/litreleases/2022/lr25360.htm

ODEBRECHT CORRUPTION SCANDAL: DISGRACED ECUADOR AND PERU LEADERS FREED

On 10 April, VoA reported that Ecuador’s former Vice-President Jorge Glas, jailed for corruption involving the Brazilian company, Odebrecht, had been freed on parole.  In Peru, ex-President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, 83, was granted conditional freedom by a court after serving 36 months of house arrest.

https://www.voanews.com/a/odebrecht-corruption-scandal-disgraced-ecuador-peru-leaders-freed/6523221.html

FORMER FIFA OFFICIALS SEPP BLATTER AND MICHEL PLATINI FACE CORRUPTION TRIAL

On 12 April, Euronews reported that Sepp Blatter and Michel Platini will go on trial for fraud and other offences in Switzerland.  The former FIFA officials will face a Swiss federal court in June after more than 6 years of criminal proceedings.

https://www.euronews.com/2022/04/12/former-fifa-officials-sepp-blatter-and-michel-platini-face-corruption-trial

US CITIZEN WHO CONSPIRED TO ASSIST NORTH KOREA IN EVADING SANCTIONS SENTENCED TO OVER 5 YEARS AND FINED $100,000

A news release from the US DoJ on 12 April advised that Virgil Griffith, 39, who conspired to provide services to the DPRK, including technical advice on using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to evade sanctions, had been sentenced to 63 months in prison.  He traveled to the DPRK in 2019 to attend and present at the “Pyongyang Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Conference”, even though the Department of State had denied Griffith permission to travel to the DPRK.  Griffith delivered presentations at the DPRK Cryptocurrency Conference, tailored to the DPRK audience, knowing that doing so violated sanctions against the DPRK.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/us-citizen-who-conspired-assist-north-korea-evading-sanctions-sentenced-over-five-years-and

REPORT: LABOUR ABUSE AND ILLEGAL FISHING WIDESPREAD IN PORTS WORLDWIDE

On 12 April, OCCRP reported that labour abuse is rampant in both legal and illegal fisheries, researchers found when they looked at conditions at some 792 ports in a new study published in the academic journal, Nature Communications.  At nearly half of all the ports they examined did they find evidence of illegal fishing and at more than 41% of them was there evidence of labour abuse including everything from forced labour to unsafe conditions.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16187-report-labor-abuse-and-illegal-fishing-widespread-in-ports-worldwide

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-022-28916-2

CANADA: MONEY MANAGER FOR ULTRA-RICH HAS ALMOST $5 MILLION TAX BILL, BUT AUTHORITIES CANNOT GET ITS HANDS ON ASSETS

On 11 April, CBC reported on a British-Canadian money manager whose name came up in the Pandora Papers leak.  It comments that, without access to the Pandora Papers leak, though, the Canada Revenue Agency would almost certainly not be able to make the link between the man and his multimillion-dollar London apartment, and the man denies all allegations against him.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/charles-shaker-cra-tax-bill-toronto-penthouses-1.6413795

SWISS PROSECUTORS DROP ARAB SPRING PROBE OF EGYPTIANS AND UNFREEZES MILLIONS

On 13 April, Reuters reported that Swiss federal prosecutors have dropped an 11-year investigation into suspected money-laundering by Egyptians close to former President Hosni Mubarak during the Arab Spring uprisings.  Authorities would release the remaining $429 million that had been frozen.  This follows a decision by the EU General Court to annul EU sanctions imposed against Mubarak and his family and unfreeze their assets, as well as ordering the EU Council to pay legal costs incurred by the Mubaraks.

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/swiss-prosecutors-drop-11-year-arab-spring-probe-egyptians-2022-04-13/

https://english.ahram.org.eg/News/464578.aspx

MALTA: ALLEGED KIDNAPPER WITH TIES TO PRIME MINISTER SECURES €250,000 TENDER

On 13 April, the Times of Malta reported that a company linked to an alleged kidnapper with ties to the prime minister had been awarded a government tender to supply 41 vehicles to Transport Malta.  He is also said to be is a central figure in a suspicious property deal involving Prime Minister Robert Abela.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/alleged-kidnapper-with-ties-to-prime-minister-secures-250000-tender.948058

FACTSHEET: EUROPEAN COURT OF HUMAN RIGHTS JUDGMENTS AND PENDING APPLICATIONS INVOLVING NEW TECHNOLOGIES

The ECtHR has produced a useful case-law factsheet summarising over 70 judgments and pending applications on topics including electronic data, email, GPS, Internet, mobile phone apps, musical copyright, online harassment, telecommunications, the use of hidden cameras, and videosurveillance.

https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/FS_New_technologies_ENG.pdf

REPRESSION IN MUSEVENI’S UGANDA HAS ENTERED A DEADLY NEW PHASE

On 12 April, World Politics Review carried an article saying that last year’s election, which saw popstar-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine, challenge Museveni, was even more violent than those in years past.  Violence and intimidation have long been tools of the political elite in Uganda, but the fact that the repression has continued with such force so long after the election suggests that sustained political violence and intimidation may be a new tactic for Museveni’s regime.

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/30456/on-human-rights-uganda-repression-enters-a-deadly-new-phase

ISLE OF MAN: CHANGES TO RUSSIA AND BELARUS SANCTIONS

On 13 April, 2 news releases from the Isle of Man advised that, following changes announced by the UK, 206 entries have been added to the consolidated list in respect of Russia and were now subject to an asset freeze; and that 9 entries on the Belarus sanctions lists had been amended.

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/apr/13/financial-sanctions-russia/

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/apr/13/financial-sanctions-belarus/

CFPB CHARGES MAJOR CREDIT-REPORTING AGENCY WITH VIOLATING LAW ENFORCEMENT ORDER

On 12 April, Fried Frank reported that Consumer Financial Protection Bureau had taken the action in respect of a 2017 order implemented to stop the agency from engaging in deceptive marketing regarding its credit score services and other credit-related products.

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/04/12/2022/cfpb-charges-major-credit-reporting-agency-violating-law-enforcement-order

https://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/documents/cfpb_transunion_complaint_2022-04.pdf

US REVIEW OF EU RESPONSES TO RUSSIAN INVASION

On 12 April, Fried Frank reported that the US Congressional Research Service had produced a report dated 12 April which had reviewed the EU’s responses to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and discussed the implications for US-EU relations.  The CRS is said to have noted areas of congressional interest in future EU initiatives, which include but are not limited to stronger military capabilities in the EU, the development of “clean energy technologies and renewables” and expanding EU membership.

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/04/12/2022/crs-reviews-eus-responses-russian-invasion

https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IN/IN11897

SEAFOOD TRACEABILITY REPORT AND IUU FISHING

The Stimson Center has published this Summary report of the “Seafood Traceability Practitioner’s Workshop: Exploring Programs from Design to Implementation”, dated March 2022.  It says that illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues to plague the world’s marine resources, threatening the long-term viability of fish stocks while damaging efforts to conserve and sustainably manage marine ecosystems.  In September, NOAA Fisheries, the Henry L Stimson Center, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) hosted a practitioner’s workshop on seafood traceability.  The workshop presented a unique opportunity to gather practitioners and technical experts from both importing and exporting states to discuss the establishment, management, and implementation of seafood traceability programmes around the world.  It was hoped that relationships would be fostered and participation would advance the dialogue on international cooperation on seafood traceability.  In addition, participants discussed the need to address human rights and forced labour abuses in the seafood sector, and their intersection with traceability schemes

https://www.stimson.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/NOAAStimsonWWFWorkshopReportMarch2022.pdf

PODCAST: US DOJ ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL KENNETH POLITE JR

The latest TRACE podcast features remarks from Kenneth Polite Jr, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the US Department of Justice, at the annual TRACE Forum.  He discusses recent changes in the DoJ approach to white collar crime, priorities for compliance teams, and the new KleptoCapture initiative.

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

EU: ADVOCATE GENERAL OPINION ON COMPATIBILITY OF MANDATORY DISCLOSURE RULES (DAC6) NOTIFICATION OBLIGATIONS WITH EU LAW

On 13 April, KPMG reported that on 5 April, the Advocate General had published an Opinion that concluded that the requirement for intermediaries, availing of legal professional privilege under the EU mandatory disclosure rules (DAC6), to notify other intermediaries (or the relevant taxpayer) of their reporting obligation, did not infringe on their rights under the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU insofar as the name of the intermediary claiming privilege is not disclosed to the tax authorities.

https://home.kpmg/xx/en/home/insights/2022/04/etf-472-updates-from-court-of-justice-of-the-european-union-dac6-and-withholding-tax-on-foreign-funds.html

WISCONSIN WOMAN AND COMPANIES CHARGED WITH FRAUD AND MISAPPROPRIATION RELATED TO AN OFF-EXCHANGE FOREIGN CURRENCY (FOREX) TRADING SCHEME IN WHICH THEY SOLICITED FUNDS TOTALLING AT LEAST $15.7 MILLION FROM AT LEAST 67 INVESTORS

On 13 April, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission had filed a civil enforcement action against Kay Yang of Mequon, Wisconsin, and her companies, AK Equity Group LLC and Xapphire LLC.  The complaint charges Yang, AK Equity, and Xapphire with fraud and misappropriation related to an off-exchange foreign currency (forex) trading scheme in which they solicited funds totaling at least $15.7 million from at least 67 investors.  Yang’s husband, Chao Yang, is named as a relief defendant for receiving investor funds to which he was not entitled. 

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/cftc-charges-wisconsin-woman-and-her-companies-with-fraud-and-misappropriation/

18 ARRESTED IN BOSNIA OVER ORGANISED CRIME, CORRUPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING

On 13 April, DTT-Net reported that police in Bosnia and Herzegovina said it had arrested today 18 people, including officials, during raids in several cities. 

http://www.dtt-net.com/en/news/4530/39/18-arrested-in-Bosnia-over-org-crime-corruption-money-laundering/

ROMANIAN JUDGE WHO JAILED MILLIONAIRE MEDIA MOGUL FOR CORRUPTION IS SUSPENDED FOR SECOND TIME

On 13 April, Universul reported that Camelia Bogdan who convicted Romanian politician and businessman Dan Voiculescu to a long prison term for fraud and money laundering in 2014 has been suspended for a second time.  She has lost an appeal in a hearing which upheld a 2018 ruling to suspend her for misconduct. 

https://universul.net/romanian-judge-who-jailed-millionaire-media-mogul-for-corruption-is-suspended-for-second-time/

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

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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