On 3 May, ICIJ published this article saying that the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists launched the Offshore Leaks Database in 2013. Nearly a decade and millions of leaked documents later, the database has quietly become one of the most valuable resources on the offshore financial system. Every month, regulators, academics, reporters and the public rack up 300,000 pageviews tracking the hidden wealth of drug dealers, human traffickers and corrupt oligarchs — not to mention the diverted profits of brand name multinationals.
On 3 May, ICIJ reported on a new release incorporating additional data from the Pandora Papers investigation about beneficial owners, shareholders, directors and other types of officers from more than 9,000 offshore companies, foundations and trusts. The new data comes from 7 offshore providers – Asiaciti Trust Asia Limited, CILTrust International, Commence Overseas Limited, IlShin, Overseas Management Company Inc, SFM Corporate Services and Trident Trust Company Limited. 16 current and former country leaders were connected to offshore entities that received services from these providers.
On 4 May, a news release from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office advised that the Foreign Secretary had announced a ban on services exports to Russia, cutting them off from doing business with UK sectors that are critical to the Russian economy. It will mean Russia’s businesses can no longer benefit from the UK’s world class accountancy, management consultancy, and PR services, which the Department says account for 10% of Russian imports in these sectors.
On 4 May, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that 63 entries have been added to the sanctions consolidated list and are now subject to an asset freeze. In addition, the existing entries for ROSSIYA SEGODNYA and TV-NOVOSTI have been amended. A news release from the Isle of Man confirmed the changes in respect of the Island.
On 4 May, CBC reported that Canada has become one of the first countries in the world to require online crowdfunding platforms to report to its AML/CFT watchdog FINTRAC. The move means that some large donations over $10,000 to Canadian fundraising campaigns hosted by online crowdfunding companies like GoFundMe or GiveSendGo, or which the platform thinks may be suspicious, could now be reported to FINTRAC and then potentially be flagged to police.
On 4 May, the FATF-style regional body published its annual report 2021, saying that governments need to step up their efforts and coordination to combat money laundering and terrorist financing by adopting stricter regulation and supervision of the virtual assets sector and the specialised “gatekeeper” professions, such as lawyers, accountants and other services providers. The covering news release says that the ‘Pandora Papers’ showed that specialised professionals can be complicit in the large-scale transnational money laundering schemes involving corrupt politicians and high-net-worth individuals seeking to evade taxes, often using offshore jurisdictions and complex corporate structures. By the end of 2021, 18 of the 22 jurisdictions evaluated by MONEYVAL in its 5th round of mutual evaluations were subject to its enhanced follow-up procedure for their insufficient level of compliance with AML/CFT standards: Albania, Andorra, Croatia, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Georgia, Gibraltar, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Isle of Man and Ukraine. Meanwhile Armenia, the Holy See, San Marino and Israel (the latter was jointly evaluated by the FATF and MONEYVAL) are subject to MONEYVAL’s regular follow-up procedure.
On 4 May, the Art Law & More blog from Boodle Hatfield reported that the High Court in London has ruled that NFT are to be considered legal property, marking a significant step forward for victims of NFT theft, who will now be more confidently able to apply for an injunction when finding that their NFT have been misappropriated. The case was brought by a woman who claimed that 2 digital works had been stolen from her online wallet.