OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 17

Panama Covid-19 update – not a good day for Covid statistics with 3,910 new cases reported, a 1,501 increase in active cases and hospital numbers up – and 4 new fatalities. The positive result rate on tests remains high, with 22.1% on 17,618 tests performed. There are 25,630 active cases, with 35 in ICU, 189 in other wards and 60 in hospital-hotel quarantine.

17 MAY 2022

DETAINED RUSSIAN YACHT COSTING FIJI $640,000 A WEEK

Superyact news from eSysman reported claims that the detention of a Russian-owned superyacht, that the US authorities were seeking to seize under sanctions was costing the small country of Fiji $640,000 a week to detain and maintain.  The High Court in Fiji allowed a stay on the seizure and handing of the yacht to US authorities, with a further court hearing due on 18 May.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DOp0RovNVLo

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-05-15/amadea-wedged-fiji-between-russian-oligarch-and-us-government/101061480

MOST EXTREMIST VIOLENCE IN THE US COMES FROM THE POLITICAL RIGHT

https://www.adl.org/murder-and-extremism-2021

SFO LONG-RUNNING INVESTIGATION INTO A BOILER ROOM FRAUD HAS HELPED HUNDREDS REGAIN MONEY THEY LOST

On 12 May, an article from Rahman Ravelli says that the SFO is set to return a further £1 million to more than 200 people who lost money to a boiler room fraud as part of its investigation codenamed Operation Steamroller.  It said the case involved one of the biggest-ever examples of a boiler room fraud, where people are pressured into buying over-valued or even worthless shares.  The 7-year investigation led to the successful prosecution of Australian national Jeffrey Revell-Reade in 2014, who was jailed for 9½ years and given a confiscation order totalling £7.5 million.

https://www.mondaq.com/uk/white-collar-crime-anti-corruption-fraud/1192480/the-serious-fraud-office39s-long-running-investigation-into-a-boiler-room-fraud-has-helped-hundreds-regain-money-they-lost

AN OVERVIEW OF THE TYPES AND USES OF GUERNSEY LAW TRUSTS

An article from Carey Olsen on 16 May is concerned with features, uses and taxation of trusts.

https://www.mondaq.com/guernsey/trusts/1193318/an-overview-of-the-types-and-uses-of-guernsey-law-trusts

FIRST BVI FREEZING ORDER GRANTED AGAINST ‘PERSONS UNKNOWN’ IN CRYPTO FRAUD CASE

On 12 May, an article from Walkers was concerned with a decision of the BVI Commercial Court on 4 May.  This was the first time that the BVI court has granted a freezing order over assets held by persons unknown in relation to crypto fraud and follows similar decisions in the UK and other Commonwealth countries where such relief is now commonly granted.

https://www.mondaq.com/fin-tech/1192314/first-bvi-freezing-order-granted-against-39persons-unknown39-in-crypto-fraud-case-

SWISS SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA –OVERVIEW AND USEFUL LINKS

On 13 May, Lenz & Staehelin published a document detailing the current state of Swiss sanctions on Russia.

https://www.lenzstaehelin.com/fileadmin/user_upload/2022_05_12_Swiss_sanctions_against_Russia_-_Current_overview_and_useful_links.pdf

UK: NEW RIGHT TO WORK CHECK GUIDANCE FOR EMPLOYERS

On 16 May, an article from Richmond Chambers said that new provisions came into force on 6 April which will begin the phasing out of the use of Biometric Residence Cards and Permits (BRC/BRP) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) to prove lawful immigration status in the UK when seeking employment.  New guidance was published on 22 April.

https://immigrationbarrister.co.uk/new-right-to-work-check-guidance-for-employers/

THE EUROPEAN COMMISSION HAS UPDATED ITS RUSSIA SANCTIONS-RELATED FAQ

On 17 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU had updated its various FAQ.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/05/eu-commission-updates-russia-sanctions-faqs-2/

US AGREES TO EASE TRUMP-ERA SANCTIONS ON CUBA

On 16 May, the BBC reported that, under new measures approved by the Biden administration, restrictions on family remittances and travel to the island will be eased. The processing of US visas for Cubans will also be speeded up.  However, no bodies will be removed from the Cuba Restricted List, a State Department register of companies linked to the communist government in Havana with whom US citizens are barred from doing business.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-61473884

WESTERN BRANDS NEED TO BE AWARE OF RAFT OF NEW RUSSIAN SANCTIONS COUNTERMEASURES WHICH MAY IMPACT ON THEIR EXIT STRATEGIES

On 13 May, Field Fisher published an update about Russia trying to put in place measures to ensure they are complying with the evolving and expanding list of sanctions rules which have been imposed on Russia; and laws which seek to punish persons and entities who are associated with “unfriendly states”.

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/services/franchising/franchise-commercial-law-blog/russia-update—western-brands-need-to-be-aware-of

CHILE’S CONSTITUTIONAL ASSEMBLY REJECTS MAJOR MINING OVERHAUL

On 14 May, Reuters reported that the constitutional assembly in the world’s top-copper producing nation rejected a major overhaul to mining rights, including expanding Chilean state ownership.  It would have given the state exclusive mining rights over lithium, rare metals and hydrocarbons and a majority stake in copper mines, but faced fierce opposition from the mining sector.

https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/chiles-constitutional-assembly-rejects-major-mining-overhaul-2022-05-14

SWITZERLAND: NGO FEARS DUBAI GOLD IMPORTS EVADING RUSSIA SANCTIONS

On 17 May, Swissinfo reported that Switzerland has recorded a significant increase in gold imports from the UAE since the introduction of sanctions against Russia, and NGO Swissaid calls for more transparency to determine whether this gold is coming from Russia.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/ngo-fears-dubai-gold-imports-evading-russia-sanctions/47600382

IRAN: ALL BANKS MUST CREATE AML/CFT DEPARTMENTS

On 15 May, the Financial Tribune reported that the Central Bank of Iran has announced rules for an independent AML and counter-terrorist financing department for all banks and credit institutions.

https://financialtribune.com/articles/business-and-markets/113520/all-banks-must-create-amlcft-departments

EU: RULES ON EXPORT AND IMPORT AUTHORISATIONS AND TRANSIT MEASURES FOR FIREARMS

On 17 May, a briefing from the EU Parliament Research Service considers amendments of EU Regulation (EU) No 258/2012 which lays down procedural rules at EU level for export, import and transit of firearms, their parts and components and ammunition.  The Regulation’s overall strategic objective is to reduce the risk of illicit trafficking in firearms for civilian use by ensuring coherence across EU Member States with regard to rules on external trade.  Following a review, the Commission established that shortcomings were mainly derived from a lack of clarity in certain parts of the regulation, and legal mismatches generating security risks.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2022/699507/EPRS_BRI(2022)699507_EN.pdf

WILL SOARING GANG ARRESTS IN EL SALVADOR OVERWHELM ITS PRISONS?

On 16 May, Insight Crime reported that President Nayib Bukele has overseen the mass imprisonment of tens of thousands of people, potentially jeopardising recent efforts to mitigate overcrowding and gang control in the country’s jails. Authorities claim to have made over 30,000 arrests since 27 March, when the legislature approved emergency powers that loosened rules on arrests and curtailed civil liberties. 

https://insightcrime.org/news/elsalvador-arrests-overwhelm-prisons/

ABU DHABI HOTEL SAID TO HAVE SERVED AS MONEY LAUNDERING FRONT

On 13 May, The Print in India reported that the Enforcement Directorate has claimed that a hotel based in the UAE “served” as a money laundering front for the Popular Front of India (PFI).

https://theprint.in/india/abu-dhabi-hotel-served-as-money-laundering-front-for-pfi-ed-charge-sheet/954973/

LEBANON CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR’S SON MOVED MILLIONS ABROAD

On 13 May, OCCRP reported that, in late 2019, a financial crisis led Lebanese banks to block most depositors from withdrawing or transferring US dollars, but the central bank governor’s son was able to move more than $6.5 million overseas.  The restrictions were never made official, meaning that a well-connected few could still access and move their deposits.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/lebanon-central-bank-governors-son-moved-millions-abroad-while-lebanese-watched-blocked-savings-dwindle

UK GAMBLING COMMISSION SETTLEMENT WITH GAMBLING OPERATORS FOR £675,000 FOR SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AND AML FAILURES

On 17 May, Gambling Industry News reported that the UK Gambling Commission had announced that Jumpman Gaming Limited and Progress Play Limited were to pay a combined total of £675,000 in regulatory settlements following investigations that uncovered social responsibility and AML failures.  A review found that found that AML protocols were not followed correctly while the company also failed to promoter safer gambling and, as a result, failed to protect those vulnerable to the harms of problem gambling.

https://gamblingindustrynews.com/news/regulation/ukgc-fines-jumpman-gaming-progress-play/

CHINESE COUPLE DENY ENGAGING IN MONEY LAUNDERING IN TAIWAN

On 17 May, Focus Taiwan reported that the husband and wife were arrested on suspicion of spying for China, and they were indicted on money laundering charges in 2021 – the spy case was dropped in November 2021 due to a lack of evidence.  They are CEO and a board member, respectively, of China Innovation Investment, a Hong Kong-based company that invests in areas such as information technology, telecommunications, manufacturing, service, property, infrastructure, and life science.  It is alleged that money transfers and real estate purchases in Taiwan were an attempt to conceal funds obtained by fraudulent means.

https://focustaiwan.tw/cross-strait/202205170020

NIGERIA’S TREASURY CHIEF ARRESTED OVER MULTI-BILLION FRAUD

On 17 May, FIN24 in Nigeria reported that head of Nigeria’s Treasury has been arrested for alleged involvement in fraud and money laundering.  Ahmed Idris, Nigeria’s accountant-general, was arrested on 16 May.

https://www.news24.com/fin24/International/nigerias-treasury-chief-arrested-over-multibillion-rand-fraud-20220517

NEW SANCTIONS FROM US LEAD TO TANKER REMAINING UNDER DETENTION IN GREECE

On 16 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the tanker Pegas (IMO 9256860), which had been seized by the Greek authorities on 20 April but which was then ordered to be released because the flag had been changed and the owner was not a sanctioned company, has been “re-detained” after new US sanctions put the owner, Russian shipping company TransMorFlot LLC, under sanctions.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/new-sanctions-from-us-lead-to-pegas-remaining-under-detention-in-greece/

CRYPTOCURRENCIES IN ASIA AND BEYOND: LAW, REGULATION AND ENFORCEMENT

The Basel Institute on Governance has published this Working Paper which draws on a detailed analysis of how selected countries are addressing legal, regulatory and enforcement issues around cryptocurrencies and other virtual assets. The analysis is focused on Asia, but set in the context of global trends in crypto law, regulation and enforcement.  It explores critical questions that will shape policies around virtual assets at the corporate, national and international levels.

https://baselgovernance.org/sites/default/files/2022-05/WP-38.pdf

UK: ENFORCEMENT ACTION BY THE GAMBLING COMMISSION AND 2 POLICE FORCES AGAINST INDIVIDUALS ORGANISING ILLEGAL LOTTERIES ON FACEBOOK GROUPS

On 16 May, an article from Ince said that officers have secured a POCA order for the forfeiture of £140,000 seized from the bank account of one of the individuals identified as running raffles and competitions for private gain.  It says that the case highlights the need for specialist legal advice to be taken on complying in full with the provisions in the Gambling Act when seeking to offer a lottery.  It notes that, in 2020/2021, the Gambling Commission issued almost 400 ‘cease and desist’ orders against the organisers of unlawful promotions, usually raffles to win high-value goods, advertised on Facebook.

https://viewpoints.incegd.com/post/102hoit/dont-gamble-on-profiting-from-illegal-raffles-for-private-gain

AN ITALIAN COURT WILL APPOINT A SPECIAL ADMINISTRATOR TO TAKE CHARGE OF A DEUTSCHE BAHN UNIT AFTER IT BECAME CAUGHT UP IN AN ANTI-MAFIA INVESTIGATION INTO ONE OF ITS SUBCONTRACTORS

On 17 May, Reuters reported that a special administrator to take charge of transport group Schenker Italiana SpA after an investigation that began in April 2020 into a haulage business suspected of being run by the ‘Ndrangheta, found business ties to 2 companies.  The order, issued by a court in Milan, will be in place initially for a year.

https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/italian-authorities-take-charge-of-deutsche-bahn-unit/ar-AAXnOyp?ocid=msedgntp&cvid=e3622baa015d4e63a7081389584ab29e

NFT: US, EU, AND UK KEY TRADEMARK CONSIDERATIONS

On 17 May, an article from Jones Day explores the interaction of IP with NFT with the focus on trademarks.  It argues that the law relating to trademarks will need to be tested in court to establish how existing laws will apply in this new context.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/nfts-u-s-eu-and-uk-key-trademark-4162237/

HOW COCAINE IS FLOWING BETWEEN LATIN AMERICA AND AUSTRALIA

On 17 May, Insight Crime published an article saying that cocaine found around Australia’s coastlines have shone a spotlight on a variety of methods apparently used to smuggle it from South America.  It says that, seeking to more consistently penetrate the final frontier of cocaine markets, Latin American traffickers have laid the groundwork for more effective cocaine shipments to Australia, seen as an extremely lucrative market.

https://insightcrime.org/news/crafty-trafficking-how-cocaine-is-flowing-between-latam-and-australia/

CAN PERU COUNTER DRUG TRAFFICKING BY BUYING ALL THE COCA?

On 17 May, Insight Crime posed this question, saying that a government proposal for Peru to purchase all the country’s coca production has generated fierce debate, but experts question whether it is even feasible.

https://insightcrime.org/news/can-peru-counter-drug-trafficking-by-buying-all-the-coca/

18 ARRESTED IN RAIDS CONNECTED TO TWITCH MONEY LAUNDERING SCANDAL IN TURKEY

On 17 May, Dexerto reported that a new wave of raids in Turkey, in response to a Twitch money laundering scam, has resulted in 18 arrests as authorities crackdown on alleged perpetrators.

https://www.dexerto.com/entertainment/18-arrested-in-raids-connected-to-twitch-money-laundering-scandal-in-turkey-1825849/

https://www.dailysabah.com/turkey/investigations/new-wave-of-operations-on-twitch-fraud-nets-18-in-turkey

https://www.svg.com/725611/the-twitch-money-laundering-scandal-explained/

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FATF CONSOLIDATED AML/CFT EVALUATION RATINGS

Following the issue of the French mutual evaluation report, FATF has released an updated consolidated schedule of all AML/CFT ratings to date.

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/4th-Round-Ratings.pdf

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UK: NEW APP TO COUNTER MALICIOUS APPROACHES ONLINE

On 17 May, the Home Office announced the new ‘Think Before you Link’ App to help businesses and the public protect themselves from potential espionage.  It is intended to help users of social media and professional networking sites, to better identify the hallmarks of fake profiles used by foreign spies and other malicious actors, and take steps to report and remove them.  The app is freely available to download on the Google Play or Apple store.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-app-to-counter-malicious-approaches-online

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FATF: AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION REPORT ON FRANCE

On 17 May, FATF published the report on the evaluation of the AML/CFT systems in France which was adopted at the FATF Plenary in March.  The on-site visit took place in June/July 2021.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/mer4/Mutual-Evaluation-France-2022.pdf

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/mutualevaluations/documents/mer-france-2022.html

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EU SANCTIONS RE CYBER-ATTACKS THREATENING THE EU OR ITS MEMBER STATES EXTENDED TO 2023

EU Council Decision 2022/754/CFSP has extended the effect of Council Decision (CFSP) 2019/797 and the measures which apply as regards the natural and legal persons, entities and bodies listed in the Annex until 18 May 2023.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2022.138.01.0016.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2022%3A138%3ATOC

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EU: SOUTH SUDAN SANCTIONS – EU MAINTAINS SANCTIONS ON GOVERNMENT MINISTER

EU Regulation 2022/748/EU replaced the entry relating to Michael Makuei Lueth, the Minister for Information and Broadcasting since 2013, who continues to hold that position in the Transitional Government of National Unity. 

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2022.138.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2022%3A138%3ATOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2022.138.01.0017.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2022%3A138%3ATOC

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UK INTRODUCES CHANGES TO THE EXPORT CONTROL ORDER 2008

On 17 May, a post from Baker McKenzie reported changes which will come into force on 19 May.  It says that an additional control on military end-use will apply; but there are no amendments to the underlying dual-use regulation and the existing end-use control will continue to apply separately.

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/uk-introduces-changes-to-the-export-control-order-2008/#page=1

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US BRINGS FIRST CRIMINAL CHARGES INVOLVING BITCOIN-BASED SANCTIONS-BUSTING

On 16 May, The Register and others reported that prosecutors have accused a US citizen of illegally funnelling more than $10 million in Bitcoin into an economically sanctioned country. It is alleged that the defendant used a US-based online financial institution account tied to the Payments Platform, a US-based virtual currency exchange and foreign-based virtual currency exchange to transmit over $10 million worth of Bitcoins.

https://www.theregister.com/2022/05/16/judge_cryptocurrency_sanctions/

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/doj-issues-charges-first-criminal-cryptocurrency-sanctions-case

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 16

Panama Covid-19 update – the fifth wave continues (with our district identified one of 4 in the country with the highest level of infections) 11 more fatality reported today, with 1,799 new cases, and testing still showinga positive result figure of over 20%. There are now 32 patients in ICU who have tested positive for Covid, with another 176 in other wards, and a total of 24,129 reported active cases.

16 MAY 2022

CUM-EX: A VISION OF THE FUTURE FOR INTERNATIONAL FRAUD INVESTIGATIONS?

On 11 May, an article from Hickman & Rose Solicitors says that the Cum-Ex scandal, originating in Germany, has prompted criminal and regulatory investigations – and civil law actions – around the world.  It argues that the international, interconnected nature of Cum-Ex marks a new era in the way major frauds are investigated, and that a key issue for any organisation or individual caught up in Cum-Ex allegations is the question of which country will take the investigatory lead.  The criminal and regulatory response to Cum-Ex shows no sign of relenting, and the pool of suspects is expanding and the appetite for prosecution appears to be growing worldwide.

https://www.hickmanandrose.co.uk/cum-ex-a-vision-of-the-future-for-international-fraud-investigations/

OPINION ON MOLDOVA’S APPLICATION FOR MEMBERSHIP OF THE EU

A paper from the Centre for European Policy Studies on 12 May responds to Moldova’s request in March to accede to membership of the EU.  The paper gives the opinion of CEPS on the position that it would like to see the EU Commission take, namely that the EU should extend candidate status to Moldova.

https://www.ceps.eu/download/publication/?id=36378&pdf=CEPS-PI2022-18-Moldova-EU-membership.pdf

US EASES SANCTIONS ON SYRIAN AREAS OUTSIDE ASSAD’S CONTROL

On 13 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the easing of sanctions on parts of Syria outside Damascus’ control was needed to alleviate an economic crisis and prevent a resurgence by Islamic State militants, a move that Turkey has criticised.  A new sanctions licence permits private-sector activity in certain areas of Syria not controlled by President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-eases-sanctions-on-syrian-areas-outside-assads-control-11652460888

EU COURT DISMISSES APPEAL BY INDIVIDUAL OVER DRC SANCTIONS

On 16 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU Court of Justice dismissed an appeal brought by Évariste Boshab challenging the General Court’s February 2021 decision to uphold the December 2018 inclusion on the EU’s DRC sanctions list.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/05/ecj-dismisses-drc-sanctions-appeal-2/

THE MAN WHO LEAKED SECRET FILES TO THE FBI ABOUT DEUTSCHE BANK TIES TO MONEY LAUNDERING, THE TRUMP ORGANISATION AND RUSSIA HAS DIED

On 13 May, the New York Times reported that Val Broeksmit, the whistle-blower who wielded his dead stepfather’s passwords to reveal Deutsche Bank’s role has died mysteriously last month in Los Angeles. He was 46.

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/05/13/us/val-broeksmit-dead.html

SPANISH INVESTMENT GROUPS DENOUNCE PANAMA SCAM

On 15 May, MENA FN reported that 2 Spanish investment groups have denounced the legal insecurity in Panama after one company had been caught up in a $7 million scam 15 years ago by being sold the same land to undertake urban projects.

https://menafn.com/1104215678/Spanish-Investment-Groups-Denounce-Panama-Scam&source=28

5 SUPERYACHTS OWNED BY RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS HAVE DOCKED IN TURKEY, SAFE FROM WESTERN SANCTIONS

On 16 May, Yahoo News reported that 5 superyachts owned by Russian oligarchs are now docked in Turkey in a bid to avoid Western sanctions triggered by the invasion of Ukraine.

https://news.yahoo.com/5-superyachts-owned-russian-oligarchs-104220608.html

IMO ADOPTS NEW GUIDELINES TO COMBAT WILDLIFE SMUGGLING

On 13 May, the NGO TRAFFIC reported that the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had adopted new ‘Guidelines for the Prevention and Suppression of the Smuggling of Wildlife on Ships Engaged in International Maritime Traffic’.  It is said to send a strong message on the growing international engagement against the illegal wildlife trade (IWT) and its impacts on global biodiversity, directly threatening the survival of many species in the wild.  It notes that, in July 2021, WWF and TRAFFIC launched the ‘The Red Flag Compendium for Wildlife and Timber Trafficking in Containerised Cargo’ which details the warning signs of corruption, wildlife smuggling and other related crimes.  In January, a UNDP-led project, in partnership with TRAFFIC, United for Wildlife, UNODC and WWF, published an awareness-raising video ‘Combating Illegal Wildlife Trade through Ports’ to raise awareness on the issue, impacts and scale of illegal wildlife trade through containerized cargo; indicate red flags for law enforcement that may indicate possible illegal cargo, and emphasise the importance of public and private sector collaboration to combat wildlife trafficking.

https://www.traffic.org/news/new-international-maritime-organization-guidelines-to-combat-wildlife-smuggling/

UK: STUDY REVEALS MISUNDERSTANDINGS OVER EARLY DISCLOSURE SCHEME IN PRE-CHARGE ENGAGEMENT (PCE) 

On 16 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that research says that a lack of understanding and low fees have contributed to pre-charge engagement (PCE) being a ‘wasted opportunity’ in helping to drive down the court backlog.  Pre-charge engagement is the voluntary engagement between the parties to an investigation after the first PACE interview before a suspect has been formally charged.  It says that research to ascertain the level of awareness about PCE and how it is being used by the police and defence lawyers, suggests a mixed level of understanding. 

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/study-reveals-misunderstandings-over-early-disclosure-scheme/5112497.article

ENRC HAS WON PART OF ITS HIGH COURT CLAIM AGAINST INTERNATIONAL FIRM DECHERT AND ITS FORMER HEAD OF WHITE-COLLAR CRIME IN RELATION TO THE SFO ONGOING INVESTIGATION INTO ALLEGATIONS OF BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION

On 16 May, the Law Society Gazette published what it described as breaking news.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/breaking-enrc-secures-partial-high-court-win-against-dechert-and-ex-partner/5112498.article

UK: FRAUDSTER PARALEGAL TOOK £438,000 FROM FIRM TO SPEND ON GAMBLING

On 16 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that a paralegal who helped himself to nearly £440,000 from his firm has been jailed for 3 years.  He pleaded guilty to fraud by false representation after diverting money to various personal accounts whilst working in the Manchester office of Berrymans Lace Mayer (BLM).

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/fraudster-paralegal-took-438000-from-firm-to-spend-on-gambling/5112495.article

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/paralegal-jailed-for-stealing-438k-from-law-firm-to-feed-gambling-habit

US CUSTOMS EMPHASISES THIRD PARTIES UNNECESSARY FOR ENTRY SCHEME ENROLLMENT

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 3 May said that officers have noticed an increasing number of third-party sites attempting to mimic official US Government websites or claiming to assist with applying for the Trusted Traveler Programs (TTP), including Global Entry, Sentri, FAST and NEXUS.  It says that while this may seem like a convenient alternative, these companies can be quite expensive to the traveller and are not necessary.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/national-media-release/third-parties-unnecessary-ttp-enrollment

GERMAN AUTHORITIES PROBE WHO IS BEHIND THE FRAUDULENT SALE OF RUSSIAN PROPERTY

On 14 May, OCCRP reported that German authorities are investigating a peculiar case involving a Berlin dentist who sold millions of euros’ worth of properties owned by the Russian state, allegedly by using forged powers of attorney.  Investigators are still trying to work out whether the sales resulted from corruption, fraud, sabotage, or for some other reason.  It explains that the Soviet Union maintained various barracks and residential complexes in Germany after the end of the Second World War and a large amount of property still belongs to Russia today, including old military properties, commercial agencies, or consulates, often in prime locations.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16325-german-authorities-probe-who-is-behind-the-fraudulent-sale-of-russian-property

RWANDA PRESIDENT SUGGESTS UK EXTRADITE GENOCIDE SUSPECTS AFTER ASYLUM DEAL

On 16 May, the Guardian reported that the president of Rwanda has suggested the UK extradite suspects wanted in the east African country for alleged roles in the 1994 genocide, after a controversial deal to process UK asylum seekers there.  Until now, British judges have blocked extradition on the grounds the suspects would not receive a fair trial in Rwanda and officials in Kigali have called for a trial in the UK instead.  Despite having brought stability, security and economic growth to a shattered country, President Kagame has also been accused of running a repressive, authoritarian state.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/16/rwanda-president-suggests-uk-extradite-genocide-suspect-asylum-deal-paul-kagame

EU COMMISSION 2021 RULE OF LAW REPORT

On 16 May, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper about this monitoring tool which allows the Commission to collect data concerning the state of the rule of law in each of the 27 EU Member States.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/ATAG/2022/729417/EPRS_ATA(2022)729417_EN.pdf

EX-VENEZUELAN TREASURER, EXTRADITED TO SOUTH FLORIDA

On 13 May, Yahoo News reported that former Venezuelan national treasurer Claudia Patricia Díaz Guillén has been extradited from Spain to South Florida to face charges of accepting millions in bribes from a billionaire businessman who paid her and her husband through Miami bank accounts so the tycoon – Raul Gorrín, who has had close relationships with Venezuela’s socialist presidents over the past decade – could make a fortune off the Venezuelan government’s lucrative currency exchange system.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/ex-venezuelan-treasurer-accused-hiding-135319394.html

UK: ECONOMIC CRIME ACT 2022 – AN EFFECTIVE TOOL OR DEAD IN THE WATER

An article from Shoosmiths explores the powers enacted under the new Economic Crime Act 2022, which came into force in March, and what this means for those involved.

https://www.shoosmiths.co.uk/insights/articles/the-economic-crime-transparency-and-enforcement-act-2022

HOW TO SPOT FAKE CRYPTO EXCHANGE WEBSITES

On 13 May, Cryptopolitan published a feature saying that since cryptocurrencies are a hot commodity, it unfortunately also makes them a prime target for scams and fake projects, and it can be challenging to tell which ones are legitimate or not.  So, it asks, what are some tell-tale signs that a crypto project is fake and how can you spot exchange websites that are scams?

https://www.cryptopolitan.com/how-to-spot-fake-exchange-websites/

FORMER HSBC WORKER TOOK £900,000 FROM CUSTOMERS’ ACCOUNTS

On 14 May, the BBC reported that Hamzah Issak, 30, a former bank employee has been jailed for taking almost £900,000 out of accounts, havingaltered account details while working at a Leicester branch of HSBC between 2016 and 2018. All 3 victims, who are Nigerian, were in their home country at the time the transactions were taking place within the UK.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leicestershire-61431112

DeFi SECTOR “RESPONSIBLE FOR 97% OF HACKS”

On 15 May, Cryptopolitan reported on a Chainalysis report looking into criminal activities in the crypto market.  It says that most of the hacks carried out in the sector occurred in the Decentralised Finance market.  It also says that, aside from the fact that money laundering activities have also skyrocketed, hackers are coming up with new ways to hit protocols in the decentralised finance sector.

https://www.cryptopolitan.com/chainalysis-report-defi-responsible-hacks/

UK: A LIST OF BUSINESSES THAT HAVE NOT MET THEIR OBLIGATIONS OR HAVE HAD REGISTRATION SUSPENDED OR CANCELLED UNDER THE AML 2017 REGULATIONS

On 16 May, HMRC, as a supervisor under the 2017 regulations, has a duty to publish details of businesses that do not comply with the regulations.  It also separately provides a list of businesses whose registration for AML supervision has been suspended or cancelled.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/businesses-not-complying-with-money-laundering-regulations-in-2018-to-2019

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/suspension-and-cancellation-of-anti-money-laundering-supervision

SOME CHOCOLATE HAS A DARK SIDE TO IT – CHILD LABOUR

An article in The Conversation on 16 May says that exploitative labour, especially child labour, is among the most troublesome ways in which global chocolate is tied to inequality.

https://theconversation.com/some-chocolate-has-a-dark-side-to-it-child-labor-179271

https://www.statista.com/chart/19376/number-of-mass-shootings

FACTSHEET: UKRAINE DEMOCRACY DEFENSE LEND-LEASE ACT

The Center for International Policy has produced this factsheet about the new law which would expedite the transfer of weapons and equipment to Ukraine.

https://securityassistance.org/publications/ukraine-democracy-defense-lend-lease-act/

CURRENT STATUS OF US TAX TREATIES AND INTERNATIONAL TAX AGREEMENTS

Bloomberg Tax and KPMG have produced this update, as of 29 April.

https://tax.kpmg.us/content/dam/tax/en/pdfs/2022/update-us-treaties-status-tmij.pdf

IRAN OIL EXPORTS TO CHINA INCREASE AS WEST ‘DISTRACTED’ BY RUSSIA-UKRAINE

On 16 May, Seatrade Maritime News reported on an increase in illicit Iranian exports.  It reports that the Wall Street Journal said Iran’s oil exports, largely China-bound, rose to 870,000 barrels a day in the first 3 months of the year, up 30% from an average of 668,000 barrels a day in full-year 2021.  It is also said that Iran anticipates that sanctions will be lifted soon as the world seeks additional oil supplies to mitigate Russian sanctions, amid supply shortfalls and volatility.  It is claimed that Iran is banking on the fact that the US and Europe are distracted by the European theatre to take much notice or express concern about its activities.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/tankers/iran-oil-exports-china-rise-west-distracted-russia-ukraine

https://elements.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-u-s-crude-oil-imports-and-consumption-in-2021/

SEC: ASSET FREEZES AND OTHER EMERGENCY RELIEF TO HALT ONGOING SECURITIES VIOLATIONS RESULTING IN PONZI SCHEME-LIKE PAYMENTS

On 16 May, a release on Mondo Visione reported that the SEC had acted against StraightPath Venture Partners LLC, StraightPath Management LLC, Brian K. Martinsen, Michael A. Castillero, Francine A. Lanaia, and Eric D. Lachow to halt ongoing securities violations, including allegedly selling pre-initial public offering (IPO) shares they did not own, pocketing undisclosed fees, and commingling investor funds, resulting in Ponzi scheme-like payments. It is claimed that an unregistered broker-dealer with a vast network of sales agents raised at least $410 million from more than 2,200 investors from November 2017 through February 2022.  

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-obtains-emergency-relief-to-halt-pre-ipo-stock-fraud-scheme-by-unregistered/

HONG KONG: COURT ORDERS PYRAMID AND PONZI SCHEME FRAUDSTERS TO COMPENSATE INVESTORS

A release on Mondo Visione on 16 May advised that a court has granted orders sought by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) against fraudsters of a global Pyramid and Ponzi scheme to compensate victims involved in a fraud in 2014-15.  The Court has appointed administrators to receive and distribute the proceeds of the scheme remaining in the 2 bank accounts – approximately totalling $2.8 million – for the benefit of the investors on a pro rata basis

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/hong-kong-securities-and-futures-commission-court-orders-pyramid-and-ponzi-sche/

JERSEY: 30 FINDINGS IDENTIFIED IN SUPERVISORY RISK EXAMINATIONS

On 16 May, a news release from the Jersey FSC was concerned with finding from supervisory risk examinations conducted at 9 supervised persons, including Deposit-taking Business (Banking), Money Service Business, Fund Services Business, Investment Business and Trust Company Business licence-holders during 2021.  It says that findings highlighted a range of statutory and regulatory requirements that had either not been complied with or had only partially been complied with.  37% of the findings identified were considered to be of a more serious nature. 

https://www.jerseyfsc.org/industry/examinations/2021-supervisory-risk-examinations-feedback-paper/

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US TREASURY: NORTH KOREA INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY WORKERS ADVISORY AND FACTSHEET

On 16 May, the US Treasury, State Department and FBI published a new joint Advisory to alert the international community, the private sector, and the public to attempts by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and DPRK information technology (IT) workers to obtain employment while posing as non-DPRK nationals.  The 3 agencies have also published a factsheet providing some red flags and due diligence measures.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/20220516_dprk_it_worker_advisory.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/20220516_dprk_it_worker_fact_sheet.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.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!