OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 16

Panama Covid-19 update – another day with no fatalities (the fourth in a row), but 124 new cases, though recorded active cases have fallen by 100 to 2,469. There are 12 patients in ICU and 69 in other wards.

It was also reported that, of the 8,178 deaths to date, the age group with the highest number of deaths is that between 60 and 79 years old with 3,766 deaths. The over 80 years account for 2,354 deaths. Then for those between 40 and 59 years there were 1,644 deaths; with 20 to 39 year olds seeing 366 and those under 20 48 deaths.

16 APRIL 2022

US SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA’S SEAFOOD HAVE A BIG LOOPHOLE: CHINA PROCESSORS

On 15 April, NBC in Texas reported that Russian companies rely heavily on China to process their catch, which then can be re-exported to the US as a “product of China”.   It is said that China doesn’t catch cod. They don’t catch pollock. But they are one of the largest exporters of these whitefish in the world

https://www.nbcdfw.com/news/national-international/us-sanctions-on-russias-seafood-has-a-big-loophole-china-processors/2941597/

CANADA: SANCTION FEARS DETER RUSSIAN BROKERAGES FROM ADOPTING SBERBANK’S CLIENTS

On 15 April, the Financial Post reported that fears of being targeted by Western sanctions are deterring Russian brokerages from helping Sberbank by hosting its clients’ accounts with foreign stocks holdings.  It says that Sberbank, VTB and Alfa Bank, Russia’s biggest banks, were also top brokerage houses before the latest sanctions, which left their clients holding foreign stocks with the need to park their funds with smaller domestic players.

https://financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/sanction-fears-deter-russian-brokerages-from-adopting-sberbanks-clients-sources

PAKISTAN: HIGH COURT RULING ON ASSETS NOT MADE THROUGH ILLEGAL MONEY

On 16 April, Ary News reported that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has ruled that it is unlawful to frame money laundering charges against anyone merely concealing assets or not declaring them.  It held that money laundering cannot be charged if assets are not made using illegal money.

https://arynews.tv/ihc-declares-money-laundering-charges-over-undeclared-assets-illegal/

US FEDERAL APPEAL COURT UPHOLDS OFAC DESIGNATION OF OLEG DERIPASKA

On 15 April, an article from the Volkov Group reported that the US Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia had rejected Deripaska’s appeal.  In rejecting Deripaska’s appeal, the Court ruled that his designation was supported by proper evidence.  He had argued that he no longer owned 2 major energy companies, but OFAC rejected that claim.  While the Court noted that he may not continue to own the 2 energy companies, the Court upheld OFAC’s finding that he continues to “operate” the companies.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/appellate-court-upholds-ofac-5147730/

HOW PWC HELPED A RUSSIAN STEEL BARON GROW HIS OFFSHORE EMPIRE

In another Pandora papers report, ICIJ on 14 April published an article about longtime PwC client Alexei Mordashov, who was hailed as Russia’s richest man in 2021.  It says that PwC helped a holding company tied to Mordashov set up and administer more than 65 shell companies in the BVI and other jurisdictions. 

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/mordashov-pwc-russia-richest-offshore/

IN FEAR OF SANCTIONS, EXECUTIVES AT 5 OF RUSSIA’S BIGGEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS MADE MOVES TO SAFEGUARD HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS IN ASSETS

On 11 April, another Pandora Papers article from ICIJ says that bankers had already taken steps that may help blunt the impact of sanctions on their personal wealth.  It explains how, over the last decade, 8 executives at 5 of Russia’s biggest financial institutions — Sberbank, Alfa Bank, VTB, Gazprombank and VEB — exploited the secrecy of the offshore financial system to stash wealth in faraway jurisdictions.  The bank executives are part of a group of more than 4,400 Russians whose offshore activities are documented in the Pandora Papers.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/russian-bankers-wealth-sanctions-offshore/

See also –

Landmark expansion of public offshore database – which spotlights vital new information on the covert financial activities of oligarchs, bankers and politicians as waves of Western sanctions target Putin loyalists.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/alpha-offshore-leaks-database-pandora-papers-russia/

HONG KONG – EAST ASIA’S ENTRY POINT FOR MEXICAN METHAMPHETAMINE?

An article from Insight Crime on 15 April asked this question.  It says that Hong Kong has become the gateway to East Asia for Mexico’s methamphetamine trade.

https://insightcrime.org/news/hong-kong-east-asia-entry-point-mexican-methamphetamine/

IMPORTS TO NORTH KOREA STILL ARRIVING, BUT FACE WEEKS IN QUARANTINE

On 13 April, 38 North reported on activity which indicates North Korea is open to imports despite a recent jump in COVID-19 cases in China.  It also comments on the apparent quarantine of such imports.

https://www.38north.org/2022/04/imports-to-north-korea-still-arriving-but-face-weeks-in-quarantine/

HOW GLOBAL IS THE NORTH KOREAN ECONOMY?

An article from 38 North on 15 April says that North Korea may be one of the most autarkic economies in the world, but it is far from isolated from global fluctuations.  It examines how the economy, while it may be more internationally disconnected than most, it is not insulated from global price changes.

https://www.38north.org/2022/04/how-global-is-the-north-korean-economy/

VIETNAM ARRESTS FACEBOOK USER FOR DISCUSSING HIGH-PROFILE FINANCIAL CRIMES

On 14 April, RFA reported that authorities in Vietnam arrested Hanoi resident Dang Nhu Quynh for allegedly posting information on Facebook about the arrest of a business leader, which they said violated state interests.  It is said that he commented on the cases of finance mogul Trinh Van Quyet, chairman of FLC Group who had been arrested for stock market manipulation, and Do Anh Dung, the chairman of property developer Tan Hoang Minh Group who was arrested for bond-issuance fraud.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/quynh-04142022182440.html

CRYPTO-ASSETS AND THEIR PLACE IN THE GLOBAL REGULATORY SCHEME

On 5 April, Thomson Reuters published a new report which is said to show a complex and changing landscape.  The report probes new areas of global regulatory emphasis such as central bank digital currencies (CBDC), non-fungible tokens (NFT), stablecoins, decentralised autonomous organisations (DAO), crypto-advertising, and financial crime.  The report also contains an updated compendium and map, which offers a country-by-country overview of the rapidly developing regulatory and legal framework for cryptos.  The compendium includes approximately 70 important countries, their regulatory approach or stance on cryptos, general tax status along with links to valuable information such as the pertinent regulatory bodies or enacted regulations.

https://www.thomsonreuters.com/en-us/posts/investigation-fraud-and-risk/cryptos-on-the-rise-2022/

DUBAI REGULATOR ANNOUNCES INCREASED PROTECTION FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS

On 7 April, Al-Monitor reported that the Dubai FSA had announced a new regulatory regime for whistleblowing.  It is said to provide enhanced legal protection to people who report misconduct by any Dubai entity regulated by the authority, and applies to those who report the misconduct internally or to Dubai authorities

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/04/dubai-regulator-announces-increased-protection-whistleblowers#ixzz7Qcv20fnm

BRAZIL AND PARAGUAY AGREEMENT WILL ALLOW THEIR SECURITY FORCES TO QUICKLY EXCHANGE INFORMATION, ORGANISE JOINT OPERATIONS AND REDUCE BUREAUCRATIC PROCEDURES WHEN COMBATING ORGANISED CRIME

On 14 April, OCCRP reported on this new agreement, saying that the Southern Cone’s Tri-Border Area, between Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, is reportedly an international hub for smuggling, trafficking in drugs and arms, as well as money laundering.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16203-brazil-and-paraguay-agree-to-fight-organized-crime-together

CYPRUS: BAR ASSOCIATION FINES FOR 4 LAW FIRMS IN CYPRUS FOR BREACHING NUMEROUS RULES INCLUDING THAT ON MONEY LAUNDERING

On 15 April, News in Cyprus reported that a fine of €79,000 was imposed on a law firm involved in a significant number of naturalisations of foreign investors and entrepreneurs.

https://in-cyprus.philenews.com/bar-association-fines-four-law-firms-for-breach-of-money-laundering-rules/

US: FORMER NEW YORK COUNTY EXECUTIVE JAILED FOR 12 YEARS FOR BRIBERY

On 14 April, CBS reported that a former Nassau County Executive, an attorney, has been disbarred and sentenced to 12 years in prison.

https://www.cbsnews.com/newyork/news/executive-ed-mangano-sentenced-in-bribery-scheme/

CATCHING THE KINAHANS

On 16 April, the Observer published an article including interviews with 3 veteran frontline NCA officers tasked with collating information on a transnational crime syndicate known to have murdered at least 12 people, mainly their rivals.  On condition of anonymity, the operatives reveal the challenges and dangers attached to getting close to the Kinahan cartel.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/16/kinahans-officers-risking-lives-to-jail-ireland-most-violent-gang-leaders

BANGLADESH: SUE THE FRAUDULENT EXPORTERS FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

On 16 April, the Daily Star reported that it is alarming that fraudulent agricultural companies have been taking incentives from the government and laundering money by showing false exports. It claims that at least 20 such companies have pocketed 20% export incentive given by the government (farm sector exporters are entitled to the government benefit that aims to boost export of certain goods) over the last 5 years through fake shipments of 965 consignments.

https://www.thedailystar.net/views/editorial/news/sue-the-fraudulent-exporters-money-laundering-3005726

NEW ZEALAND: INQUIRY INTO WHETHER BUY NOW/PAY LATER LENDERS ARE COMPLYING WITH MONEY LAUNDERING LAWS

In its 17 April edition, Stuff reported that the Department of Internal Affairs is investigating whether all buy now, pay later lenders are complying with money laundering laws – they are not as heavily-regulated as other lenders because they do not charge interest.  Questions are posed over compliance with money laundering laws requiring them to verify the identities of their customers.

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/128343658/internal-affairs-looking-into-whether-buy-now-pay-later-lenders-are-complying-with-money-laundering-laws

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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