The C4ADS website includes the paper “Who Owns Offshore Real Estate? Evidence from Dubai”, an EU Tax Observatory Working Paper which analyses a dataset capturing the ownership of about 800,000 properties in Dubai. It finds that at least $146 billion in foreign wealth is invested in the Dubai property market; about 20% of offshore Dubai real estate is owned by investors from India and 10% by investors from the UK (other large investing countries include Pakistan, Gulf countries, Iran, Canada, Russia, and the US); a number of conflict-ridden countries and autocracies have large holdings in Dubai relative to the size of their economy, equivalent to 5%–10% of their GDP; and in the case of Norway, 70% of Dubai properties owned by Norwegian taxpayers were not reported for tax purposes in 2019.
On 6 May, OFAC advised that a large number of web addresses and BLENDER.IO (aka @BLENDERIO_ENGLISH; @BLENDERIO_RUSSIAN; @MADEAMAZE_BOT; and BLENDERIO) have been added to its SDN List. It has also made amendments to the existing entry for the Lazarus Group. BLENDER.IO is described as a virtual currency mixer which is used by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) to support its malicious cyber activities and money-laundering of stolen virtual currency.
An Advisory from FINTRAC focuses on money laundering and terrorist activity financing risks associated with underground banking through unregistered money services businesses (MSB) that are not registered with FINTRAC. The advisory reviews trends and patterns identified through FINTRAC’s analysis of suspicious transaction reports and disclosures to law enforcement related to underground banking.
On 4 May, the FBI issued an updated Public Service Announcement to complement an earlier PSA, and which includes new Internet Crime Complaint Center complaint information and updated statistics from October 2013 to December 2021.
A news release from Europol on 5 May advised that the report is an in-depth look at the cocaine and methamphetamine markets, the agencies point to increased production activities in Europe and how collaboration between criminal groups worldwide is creating new security threats and expanding the market. Analysis shows that the European cocaine market is expanding, driven by unprecedented levels of trafficking leading to historically high availability. Cocaine is the second most commonly consumed illicit drug in the EU after cannabis. Methamphetamine — the most widely consumed synthetic stimulant drug in the world — still plays a relatively small role in Europe’s drug market. It says that while established criminal networks often manage their own activities, others now outsource a range of services along the supply chain – and the analyses show how logistical support has become a parallel business. Violence and corruption, long seen in traditional drug-producing countries, are increasingly seen within the EU. A prominent cross-cutting theme is the environmental impact of drug production. Despite the unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, cocaine and methamphetamine markets in the EU have continued to evolve.
On 5 May, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper saying that in April, the findings of a Commission of Inquiry into alleged corruption and mismanagement in the BVI was published. This followed the arrest of the BVI Premier, Andrew Fahie, in the US, although his arrest is unrelated to the Commission’s findings or conclusions. The Commission recommended the dissolution of the locally elected House of Assembly and ministerial government for at least 2 years. The UK-appointed Governor, potentially with a local advisory council, would instead oversee reform.