OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 25

Somehow this got lost…

25 April 2022

RUSSIA IS LOSING A WAR AGAINST HACKERS STEALING HUGE AMOUNTS OF DATA

On 22 April, The Intercept published an article saying that dozens of Russian companies and government agencies have been hacked in apparent retribution for the invasion of Ukraine.

https://theintercept.com/2022/04/22/russia-hackers-leaked-data-ukraine-war

EU PROPOSED DIRECTIVE ON CORPORATE SUSTAINABILITY DUE DILIGENCE

On 20 April, an article from Ashurst LLP said that, on 23 February, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence. 

https://www.ashurst.com/en/news-and-insights/legal-updates/eu-proposed-directive-on-corporate-sustainability-due-diligence/

FORGED DOCUMENT CLAIMS UKRAINE IS SELLING SURPLUS WEAPONS TO AFRICAN COUNTRIES

On 22 April, the Atlantic Council published a post saying that on 19 April, the Telegram channel Rezident published a forged document claiming that Ukraine was selling surplus weapons to African countries. It alleged that Ukraine planned to sell armoured cars, tanks, submachine guns, rifles, grenades, and bulletproof vests to African countries.   

https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/russian-war-report-forged-document-claims-ukraine-is-selling-surplus-weapons-to-african-countries/

GERMANY’S ARMS EXPORTS TO UKRAINE HIGHLIGHT ITS COMPLEX HISTORY WITH ARMS DEALS

On 19 April, a Commentary published on Inkstick points out that Germany is currently the world’s fifth-largest arms exporter, and a January 2022 report showed that sales to Egypt boosted its weapons exports to record levels in 2021. So why, it asks, is selling arms to Ukraine considered an about-face?

https://inkstickmedia.com/german-arms-exports-a-history-of-restraint/

ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA SANCTIONS

On 25 April, the Isle of Man issued 3 news releases.  One details new regulations which enforce the UK measures imposing trade and financial measures against Russia.  The second advises that a new General Licence, mirroring one from the UK, allows payments to Gazprombank or a Subsidiary for the purpose of making Gas available in the EU.  A third amended the existing General Licence in respect of VTB to broaden the actions that can be permitting to include receiving, processing and taking any other action regarding payments, insolvency proceedings, services, maintenance and fees relating to an Isle of Man Subsidiary; and it also extended the expiry date from March 2023 to April 2023, as well as being amended to include Sberbank CIB (UK) Ltd.

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/apr/25/sanctions-russia/

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/apr/25/financial-sanctions-russia-general-licence/

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/apr/25/financial-sanctions-russia-general-licence-rus006-amendment/

PANAMA TO HAVE A FACE-TO-FACE WITH FATF AND DEFEND THE PROGRESS IT HAS MADE IN ITS ACTION PLAN

On 25 April, ANP Panama reported that Panama will have a face-to-face with parties from other countries and FATF in Trinidad and Tobago where the Government will defend the progress it has made in the action plan to implement FATF standards.

https://anpanama.com/11657-Panama-tendra-un-cara-a-cara-con-el-GAFI-en-Trinidad-y-Tobago.note.aspx 

GUINEA AND BURKINA FASO JUNTAS RISK MORE SANCTIONS OVER TRANSITION DELAYS

On 25 April, FX Empire reported that Guinea’s ruling junta has signalled it might break a deadline to set out its plans to return to civilian rule, opening up the prospect of more sanctions from ECOWAS.  It also mentioned that there was no immediate announcement from the military rulers of Burkina Faso who were facing the same deadline to present “acceptable” plans to hand back power to civilians after their January coup.

https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/guinea-and-burkina-faso-juntas-risk-more-sanctions-over-transition-delays-978514

FRENCH NATIONAL ARRESTED TRYING TO SMUGGLE GOLD AT CAMEROON AIRPORT

On 25 April, News Ghana reported that Cameroon customs officers seized 16 gold bars with a total weight of 14 kg from a French citizen as he tried to smuggle it out of the country.  He was about to board a flight to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

https://newsghana.com.gh/french-national-arrested-trying-to-smuggle-gold-at-cameroon-airport/

WEMA BANK PLC HAS DENIED A MEDIA REPORT CONTAINING ALLEGATIONS OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND BRIBERY 

On 25 April, the New Telegraph reported that the bank has urged the general public to ignore the report, stated that the allegations were completely false.

https://www.newtelegraphng.com/wema-bank-faults-report-on-money-laundering-bribery/

US: 2 GHANAIANS ARRESTED FOR THEIR ROLES IN THE ALLEGED ILLEGAL TRANSFER OF MONEY THROUGH ONLINE SCAM SYNDICATES TO PERPETRATORS IN GHANA

On 24 April, News Ghana reported that the mother and daughter based in Maryland were picked up by the FBI. 

https://newsghana.com.gh/two-ghanaians-assisting-fraud-boys-in-money-laundering-arrested-in-us/

SUSTAINABLE CHEMICALS: EU COMMISSION ADVANCES WORK ON RESTRICTIONS OF HARMFUL CHEMICAL SUBSTANCES

On 25 April, the EU announced the Restrictions Roadmap, which includes a rolling list of substances, which will become the basis for the multiannual planning under the REACH Regulation.  The Roadmap prioritises group restrictions for the most harmful substances to human health and the environment.

https://ec.europa.eu/docsroom/documents/49734

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/apr/25/eu-unveils-plan-largest-ever-ban-on-dangerous-chemicals

UK: PROTECTING CULTURAL OBJECTS ON LOAN

On 25 April, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport published updated guidance on how UK museums and galleries can arrange to protect exhibits on loan from abroad from court-ordered seizure.  Objects on loan from abroad in temporary exhibitions in UK museums are protected from seizure by the UK courts when they are on display in a museum or gallery which has been approved by the Culture Secretary and where the museum or gallery has published information about the objects on loan.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/protecting-cultural-objects-on-loan

PERU: PROSECUTOR ARRESTED OVER CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS

On 25 April, OCCRP reported that authorities had arrested a prosecutor for allegedly having requested between $5,000 and $30,000 in exchange for not pursuing criminal charges against outlaws in Peru.  He is believed to have been receiving bribes at least since 2012 from various criminal organisations and land traffickers operating out of the coast of Lima Sur.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16237-peru-arrests-prosecutor-over-corruption-allegations

JEFF BEZOS, BILL GATES, AND OTHERS ARE BETTING BIG ON GREENLAND AS COBALT MINING IN THE CONGO GETS TOO DIRTY

In its May edition, Vanity Fair carried an article saying that a small coterie of individuals and companies grew immensely wealthy from the DRC resources at scant benefit to ordinary Congolese people.  Now, as cobalt’s value skyrockets would-be investors has set their sights as far afield as Greenland.  The article also looks at the activities of Dan Gertler, now sanctioned by the US Government, in the DRC.

https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/04/the-billionaire-clubs-run-on-cobalt-says-everything-about-our-battery-powered-future

HOW RUSSIA AVOIDS OIL SANCTIONS: TRANSFER AT SEA TO “DESTINATION UNKNOWN”

On 21 April, a post on Mish Talks reported that oil exports from Russian ports bound for EU states, which historically have been the biggest buyers of Russian crude, grew to an average of 1.6 million barrels a day in April.  It claims that oil from Russian ports is increasingly being shipped with its destination unknown, saying that this is a sign that the oil is being taken to larger ships at sea and unloaded. 

https://mishtalk.com/economics/how-russia-avoids-oil-sanctions-transfer-at-sea-to-destination-unknown

ORGANISED CRIME DYNAMICS IN PACIFIC ISLAND COUNTRIES

On 22 April, a report from the Global Initiative on Transnational Organised Crime argues that shifts in transnational dynamics are changing the region’s organised crime landscape, and that more needs to be done to address these emerging issues multilaterally.  It says that organized crime can take many forms within the Pacific Islands region.  On the surface, it may appear that the region is faring well; however, in addition to drug trafficking, low-tax jurisdictions such as Vanuatu are vulnerable to money laundering; and elsewhere, such as in the Marshall Islands, human trafficking is an ongoing risk.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/oceania-ocindex/

FCA SECURES £2 MILLION ACCOUNT FORFEITURE ORDER FROM CLAIMED DUE DILIGENCE FINTECH START-UP

A news release from the FCA on 21 April advised that QPay Europe Limited, which claims to be a fintech start-up offering due diligence and underwriting services, has consented to a court order to give up £2 million held in its name following proceedings brought by the Financial Conduct Authority under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.  The FCA is said to have observed the QPay moved the money in question repeatedly to different bank accounts in several countries and none of the transactions appeared to be related to legitimate business. 

https://www.fca.org.uk/news/press-releases/fca-secures-account-forfeiture-order

US TREASURY SANCTIONS MORE NORTH KOREA-LINKED ETH WALLETS OVER $600 MILLION RONIN HACK

On 22 April, Coindesk reported that OFAC had added 3 Ethereum addresses to its sanctions list, joining an address previously listed that the US Government had tied it to the theft of around $600 million in crypto from Axie Infinity’s Ronin bridge.  All 3 addresses had received sizable inbound transfers of stolen ether (ETH) from the originally sanctioned wallet over the previous week.  It is said that the operators of the Ronin exploit wallet, said by the FBI and OFAC to be North Korea’s Lazarus hacking group, have been laundering funds.

https://www.coindesk.com/policy/2022/04/22/treasury-sanctions-more-north-korea-linked-eth-wallets-over-600m-ronin-hack/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/04/23/north-korea-hack-crypto-access/

https://www.nknews.org/pro/north-korea-moves-illicit-crypto-as-authorities-struggle-to-keep-up/

https://www.statista.com/chart/27291/non-signatories-of-the-2008-convention-on-cluster-munitions-map

UK GOVERNMENT REFUSES TO RULE OUT FURTHER DELAYING PHYTOSANITARY BORDER CHECKS AND PROLONGING IMPLEMENTATION OF FULL BREXIT CUSTOMS CONTROLS

On 25 April, Loadstar reported that a Cabinet Office spokesperson wouldn’t confirm whether the final phase of the Brexit transition period would happen in July as intended, or there would be another delay.

https://theloadstar.com/uk-phytosanitary-border-checks-may-be-delayed-again-we-need-to-know/

A new report from the CSIS Europe, Russia, and Eurasia Program and Strategic Technologies Program finds that strategic competitors are seeking to shape the geostrategic environment in their favour, including by waging economic warfare and utilising tools as illicit finance and strategic corruption.

https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/220425_Conley_Gray_Zone.pdf?jXJyc7_NdlTp0YLDQexq65KqXLeG1DTZ

BELGIAN ANTI-FRAUD PLAN INCLUDES TOUGHER TAX ENFORCEMENT AGAINST CROSS-BORDER TRANSACTIONS

On 25 April, STEP reported that the project as a whole includes more than 20 action items to combat social and tax fraud.  One key item will extend the standard reassessment and investigation period for income tax from 3 years to 4, and this could be extended further to 10 years for ‘complex’ tax returns – such as any tax matter where information is needed from abroad.  From September 2022, there will also be a wave of audits into cross-border arrangements disclosed under the EU DAC6 regime.  It is said that the proposed measures make it clear that the Belgian Government is seeking to considerably expand the current investigation powers of the Belgian tax authorities ‘without necessarily limiting such expansion to cases of tax fraud’.

https://www.step.org/industry-news/belgium-fraud-action-plan-focuses-cross-border-transactions

FATF AND THE FUTURE OF THE GLOBAL NETWORK – STRATEGIC VISION

On 21 April, FATF issued a statement following a meeting of ministers and this laid out the factors comprising the strategic vision will support FATF and FATF-style regional bodies (FSRB) collective efforts to achieve the common objectives of preventing and combating money laundering and the financing of terrorism and proliferation, and of fostering effective AML/CFT/CFP regimes.

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfgeneral/documents/strategic-vision-global-network.html

3 PEOPLE SENTENCED FOR ATTEMPTED MONEY LAUNDERING IN JERSEY

On 25 April, ITV reported that 3 people have been sentenced to a total of 10 years in prison for attempting to launder £60,000 in Jersey.  They attempted to move the money through businesses such as car dealerships, high street retailers and banks in the island.

https://www.itv.com/news/channel/2022-04-25/three-people-sentenced-for-attempted-money-laundering-in-jersey

ISLE OF MAN: CONSULTATION RESPONSE ON CIVIL PENALTIES REGULATIONS FOR CONTRAVENTIONS OF THE BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP ACT 2017

On 25 April, a news release from the Isle of Man FSA contained response to public consultation on the draft Beneficial Ownership (Civil Penalties) Regulations 2022 for contraventions under the Beneficial Ownership Act 2017.  They are expected to come into effect on 31 July.  The FSA says it received 12 responses – 5 gave feedback about the level of the penalties, with 3 saying that the penalties were too low to be dissuasive and 2 that the penalties were too harsh and should be reduced.

https://consult.gov.im/financial-services-authority/beneficial-ownership-civil-penalties-regulations/

UK BREXIT LOSSES MORE THAN 178 TIMES THE SIZE OF TRADE DEAL GAINS

On 25 April, The Independent reported that all of the Government’s new post-Brexit trade deals put together will have an economic benefit of just £3 to £7 per person over the next 15 years, according to the government’s own figures, or just 0.01 to 0.02% of GDP, and less than 50p per person a year.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-trade-deals-australia-new-zealand-b1959478.html

HUMAN TRAFFICKING CORRIDORS IN CANADA

The Canadian Centre to End Human Trafficking has issued a report which focuses on the element of movement and transportation in human trafficking by investigating human trafficking corridors in Canada. Although transportation can be a core aspect of survivors’ exploitation, this is said to be the first research in Canada that investigates how trafficking corridors operate.  It says that previous research revealed 2 overarching types of human trafficking in Canada: sex trafficking and labour trafficking.

https://www.canadiancentretoendhumantrafficking.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/CCTEHT-Human-Trafficking-Corridors-ENG-FINAL.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

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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