Panama Covid-19 update – had to remonstrate with teenager on a bus today, “reminding” him to wear his facemask. This seems important as the BA.2-fuelled wave rolls on. 3 new fatalities today, a level which has not been seen since 18 March, and the positivity rate on tests rises to 14.3%. Meanwhile, another 652 new cases reported, with ICU numbers unchanged at 12, but numbers in other wards having risen from 88 to 106.
3 MAY 2022
ISLE OF MAN EXTENDS RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE
On 3 May, the Isle of Man advised that it had changed the expiry date of the General Licence for payments out of non-frozen funds to the Crimean Sea Ports for services provided at the ports of Kerch Fishery Port, Yalta Commercial Port and Evpatoria Commercial Port, and for services provided by Gosgidrografiya and by Port-Terminal branches of the Crimean Sea Ports. The new expiry date is 23 February 2023.
CANADA: BUSINESS PARTNER LIABLE FOR BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY AND CIVIL FRAUD FOR MISUSE OF PARTNERSHIP FUNDS
On 2 May, an article from Gardiner Roberts reports on a recent court case in Canada, saying that business partners generally owe each other fiduciary duties and can be liable for civil fraud if funds invested in the partnership business are not used for their intended purpose. After receiving the plaintiff’s funds the defendants used it for their immediate needs, and used the balance of the advance on a residential property but the real estate project failed.
‘FAT LEONARD’ WILL NOT BE A PROSECUTION WITNESS IN US NAVY BRIBERY TRIAL
On 2 May, Military.com reported that Leonard Glenn Francis, the military contractor better known as “Fat Leonard,” will not be called by the prosecution to testify against 5 former naval officers charged with accepting bribes from him.
UK INQUIRY ‘TO ESTABLISH WHETHER BRITISH COMPONENTS USED IN RUSSIAN WEAPONS’
On 2 May, the Guardian reported that RUSI has said that research conducted by the Ukrainian armed forces of Russian weapons systems recovered from the battlefield showed a “consistent pattern” of dependence on foreign-made components, in some cases British – such as the use of UK-manufactured high-frequency transistors in the Borisoglebsk-2 jamming system.
US SUPPLIER AND 8 EMPLOYEES IN ALLEGED EEL SMUGGLING
On 3 May, Undercurrent News reported that US prosecutors in New Jersey had indicted Eel Depot and 8 of its employees for alleged smuggling of $160 million of endangered eels to China.
BVI PREMIER CLAIMS IMMUNITY OVER US DRUG-SMUGGLING CHARGES
On 2 May, Market Watch reported that Andrew Fahie has demanded his immediate release from custody, arguing he is immune from prosecution on cocaine-smuggling charges because he is the elected, constitutional head of government of the British Overseas Territory.
CARIBBEAN STATES WARN AGAINST DIRECT RULE OF BVI
On 3 May, the Guardian reported that 7 member states of the Organisation of East Caribbean States (OECS) have condemned as “retrograde” the potential imposition of direct rule from London on the BVI amid allegations of corruption and the arrest of the former BVI premier.
DUTCH GAMBLING REGULATOR CALLS OUT STAKEHOLDERS ON AML/CFT SHORTCOMINGS
On 3 May, Gambling News reported that the KSA believes that stakeholders have been coming short of their AML/CFT and this has prompted the regulator to issue a reprimand and call for action among stakeholders.
2 LEBANESE CITIZENS EXTRADITED FROM REPUBLIC OF GEORGIA ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
On 3 May, The Financial reported that the 2 men were arrested in September 2021 and extradited to the US on 30 April. It is said that they operated a sophisticated money laundering conspiracy that used the international banking system to move bulk cash by sending wire transfers for criminals throughout the world, as part of a sophisticated Lebanon-based money laundering organisation.
UK GOVERNMENT RESPONSES TO THE INDEPENDENT COMMISSION FOR AID IMPACT (ICAI) REPORTS OF FRAUD THROUGH MULTILATERAL ORGANISATIONS
On 3 May, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office published its response to the ICAI rapid review recommendations on tackling fraud in UK aid through multilateral organisations. It says that it welcomes ICAI’s recognition of the government’s commitment to reducing fraud and establishing effective processes to highlight potential fraud in the multilateral organisations it works with.
ROMANIA: SEARCHES CONDUCTED INTO EU FUNDS FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION
On 3 May, OCCRP reported that Romanian authorities have searched 10 locations throughout the country as part of an investigation into alleged fraud concerning EU funds. Investigators suspect the use of false and inaccurate documents to obtain over €3 million in EU funds and subsequently transferred them abroad through companies based in Spain, Portugal and Cyprus in order to hide the origins of the money.
HONG KONG CUSTOMS MAKES BIGGEST SEA SMUGGLING BUST OF YEAR SO FAR
On 2 May, the South China Morning Post reported that officers seized high-value electronic products, musical instrument accessories and audio equipment from vessel bound for Guangzhou.
HUMAN ORGAN SALES IN VENEZUELA: A NEW ONLINE SCAM?
On 2 May, Insight Crime reported that the arrests of 3 people in Venezuela for Facebook Marketplace posts in which they allegedly offered kidneys for sale have raised questions about the illegal organ trade in a country with a thriving online black market for medical products.
BALKAN TRAFFICKERS BECOMING EVER MORE IMPORTANT TO TRANS-ATLANTIC COCAINE TRADE
On 2 May, Insight Crime reported that Balkan cocaine traffickers have steadily been gaining influence over the transatlantic cocaine trade, as evidenced by information stemming from key recent arrests. The article looks at the evolution of Balkan cocaine traffickers in South America: tracing their rise, potential for targeted violence and ability to conduct business from behind bars.
VIRTUAL ASSET SERVICE PROVIDERS (VASP) NOW HAVE TO REGISTER IN BELGIUM
On 1 May, Eversheds Sutherland reported that, with effect from 1 May, VASP need to be registered with the Financial Services and Markets Authority, with the introduction of the Virtual Currency Royal Decree.
WESTERN SHIP INSURERS ARE TERMINATING COVER FOR RUSSIA’S LEADING SHIPPING COMPANY SOVCOMFLOT AS SANCTIONS START TO BITE
On 3 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that Russia’s maritime sector is seeing the wind down of multiple services, including ship certification by leading foreign providers – vital for accessing ports and securing insurance – shipping companies pulling out and ship engine makers suspending training on their equipment. Ships typically have protection & indemnity (P&I) insurance which covers third party liability claims including environmental damage and injury. Separate hull and machinery policies cover vessels against physical damage.
SEC ALLEGES FRAUD IN DIGITAL ASSET SECURITIES OFFERINGS
On 28 April, a news release from the SEC says that it has charged 4 men for their roles in raising over $10 million through 2 fraudulent and unregistered digital asset securities offerings using NASGO, a company that claimed to have developed a blockchain-based platform on which clients could use digital asset securities called NSG tokens.
SWITZERLAND IMPLEMENTS FIFTH EU SANCTIONS PACKAGE
On 3 May, Baker McKenzie reported that, on 27 April, in line with its announcement from 13 April, the Swiss Federal Council imposed further sanctions against Russia and Belarus. Switzerland has adopted the EU’s latest package of sanctions with a few exceptions.
NBAA ADVISES US AIRLINES TO REGISTER FOR EU PASSENGER SYSTEMS
On 3 May, AIN Online reported that the EU is requiring all carriers that fly passengers into Europe to register for 2 new entry programmes that are set to take effect in September of this year and then May 2023. The EU uses the term “carrier”, which applies to any person whose profession is to provide transport of persons. From September, the Entry/Exit System (EES) will be used to electronically capture the entry and exit of visitors who require single or double-entry visas in Europe. In May 2023, operators must verify travel details in the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS) and must ensure, before boarding, that their visa-exempt passengers have a valid travel authorisation to enter the Schengen area.
US ATTORNEY GENERAL RECONFIRMS HANDS-OFF APPROACH TOWARD FEDERAL MARIJUANA PROSECUTION
On 3 May, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP reported that Attorney General Merrick Garland has reiterated that the DoJ will not prioritize prosecuting marijuana use, a position that Garland expressed during his confirmation hearings. He did not comment on whether the DoJ intends to reinstate an official policy of prosecutorial discretion in states that have decriminalised or legalized marijuana.
SANCTIONS FORCE MASSIVE SOVCOMFLOT TANKER SALE
On 3 May, Lloyds List reported that up to a third of Sovcomflot’s fleet if for sale as the Russian state tanker company looks to repay outstanding western loans before restrictions kick in. It also says that Sovcomflot vessels head into opaque network of subterfuge operators, with companies in Dubai, backed by Chinese finance, are understood to be behind some of the Sovcomflot vessel sales already agreed.
ISLE OF MAN EVALUATION BY GROUP OF INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CENTRE SUPERVISORS (GIFCS) IN MAY
A news release from the Isle of Man FSA advised that GIFCS assesses TCSP standards and conducts periodic evaluations covering areas such as licensing and authorisations, corporate governance, prudential conduct, control over assets, international co-operations, and financial crime. The organisation’s assessors are said to have started preparing for their onsite evaluation during the week of 9-13 May.
GLOBAL TAX ENFORCEMENT GROUP PROVIDES NFT RED FLAG GUIDANCE
On 3 May, a post on LexBlog advised that the Joint Chiefs of Global Tax Enforcement (J5) had issued a first-of-its-kind intelligence bulletin warning the public of the dangers of dealing with NFT.
SOCIALITE JAMES STUNT ACCUSED OF BEING PART OF £266 MILLION MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATION
On 3 May, The Independent reported that socialite James Stunt, the ex-husband of heiress Petra Ecclestone, has gone on trial accused of being part of £266 million money laundering operation involving depositing cash into the account of Bradford gold dealer Fowler Oldfield.
US: MOVIE PRODUCER FOUND GUILTY IN $60 MILLION FILM FINANCING SCHEME
A news release from US DoJ on 3 May advised that Jason Van Eman, 44, a former actor and movie producer from Oklahoma has been convicted of conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering for his role in a financing scheme that defrauded movie and theatre producers out of more than $60 million.
FORMER US AMBASSADOR PLEADS GUILTY TO ILLEGAL FOREIGN LOBBYING ON BEHALF OF QATAR
On 2 May, Lawfare reported that former US Ambassador Richard Olson said he will plead guilty to illegal lobbying and failing to disclose gifts he received when an ambassador. Court filings state that gifts, as well as monthly payments of $20,000, were paid to Olson by an unnamed Pakistani American lobbyist associated with a Qatari official.
UK TO STEP UP COUNTER RADICALISING EFFORTS IN PRISONS AFTER REPORT FINDS FAILINGS
On 29 April, Homeland Security Today reported that more dangerous and influential terrorists will be separated in specialist units as part of an approach to clamp down on terrorist activity in jails in England and Wales, following the publication of a landmark review from the UK Government’s Independent Reviewer of Terrorism Legislation.
US REMOVES TURKEY NATIONAL WITH TIES TO TERRORISM
On 27 April, Homeland Security Today reported that US Immigration and Customs Enforcement had removed an unlawfully present Turkish national, suspected of providing support to terrorist organisations. Volkan Gogebakan, 31, was flown to Turkey and turned over to Turkish officials. Gogebakan illegally entered the US without inspection in September 2021 in El Paso.
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