On 10 May, FATF published this report. Turkey has been in an enhanced follow-up process following the adoption of its mutual evaluation in 2019. To reflect Turkey’s progress, FATF has now re-rated the country on the following FATF Recommendations:
23 – DNFPB: Other measures – from partially compliant to compliant
24 – Transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons – from partially compliant to largely compliant
25 – Transparency and beneficial ownership of legal arrangements – from partially compliant to largely compliant
Turkey is now compliant on 12 of the FATF 40 Recommendations and largely compliant on 22. It remains partially compliant on 4 Recommendations and non-compliant on 2 Recommendations. It will remain in enhanced follow-up and will report back to FATF on progress achieved on improving the implementation of its AML/CFT measures in June 2023. As usual, effectiveness was not addressed, only technical compliance.
On 12 April, solicitors Rahman Ravelli produced a briefing document looking at all aspects of Cum-Ex case(s). Its brief details the background to Cum-Ex, the current situation and the issues that may arise. The 16-page publication was devised and designed to be a concise and informative point of reference for companies and individuals that may have had either direct or indirect involvement with Cum-Ex trading. Cum-Ex is the name given to a huge volume of dividend trading strategies (also known as arbitrage) that came into use around the turn of the century. Its use was only discovered by the authorities in 2012, in Germany. Other European countries have also been heavily affected, with losses of approximately €55.2 billion. Certain European states, such as Denmark and Austria, have demonstrated an aggressive approach regarding Cum-Ex transactions, and have engaged in criminal and civil proceedings and regulatory settlements.
After a helpful reader advised me that the “Buy me a Coffee” link below didn’t work I have corrected it, in the unlikely event that someone wants to make a contribution…
Panama Covid-19 update – while the government has chosen not to close schools, to date 1,243 infections have been registered in schools, of which 40% are for students, teachers and administrators. It is said that students are 90% vaccinated, and more than 93% of teaching staff. hence, it is said that the school year remains normal and closures have not been considered, but that decisions will be made in some schools as required.
Meanwhile, today were reported 1,359 new cases and 1 new fatality, with the number of active cases rising by another 396 to 13,732. The test positivity rate remains high at 22.4%. There are now 19 people in ICU and 136 in other wards.
9 MAY 2022
LIMITATION PERIODS FOR FRAUD, CONCEALMENT OR MISTAKE: KNOW YOUR LIMITS
An article from Charles Russell Speechlys on 5 May focused on the Limitation Act 1980 in the UK, and which prevents the pursuit of stale claims and promotes finality in litigation. It refers to recent cases which have considered the appropriate test to apply when assessing a claimant’s knowledge where fraud, concealment or mistake were involved and provide important guidance on when the limitation period starts running.
DUTCH-POLISH GUN SMUGGLING GANG ROUNDED UP WITH 82 PEOPLE ARRESTED
On 9 May, Dutch News reported that police in the Netherlands and Poland have taken down a gang of gun-runners who were smuggling arms into Poland using parcel delivery companies. The arrests were made in late April but the investigation has only now been made public by Europol.
INTERPOL LAUNCHES A DEDICATED FINANCIAL CRIME AND ANTI-CORRUPTION CENTRE
On 9 May, Nyman Gibson Miralis reported that INTERPOL had launched its Financial Crime and Anti-Corruption Centre (IFCACC) which will adopt a multi-agency approach, working closely with key stakeholders to strengthen collective efforts against financial crime and corruption.
PAKISTAN: NATIONAL ACCOUNTABILITY BUREAU (NAB) ESTABLISHES AML CELL
On 9 May, The News reported that the chairman of NAB has said that an AML cell has been set up at the NAB headquarters, adding that liaison, implementation, monitoring, and analysis with the National Financial Action Task Force Secretariat and relevant stakeholders are the main responsibilities of this cell.
IRISH GOVERNMENT PAYS €2 MILLION EU FINE FOR AML FAILINGS
On 9 May, The Times reported that the Irish Department of Justice has paid a €2 million fine imposed by the European Court of Justice for failing to transpose an EU AML Directive. This followed the delay in implementing a money-laundering directive and the enactment of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act in November 2018.
FINTRAC FINES LAURENTIAN BANK OF CANADA FOR STR SUBMISSION FAILINGS
On 9 May, Comply Advantage reported that FINTRAC had imposed a $486,750 fine for the bank’s failure to submit suspicious transaction reports (STR) when there were reasonable grounds to suspect the transactions were related to money laundering.
US SANCTIONS NORTH KOREAN CRYPTO-LAUNDROMAT AND INDICTS BITCOIN MINING CEO
On 9 May, an article from OCCRP said that US authorities have sanctioned a cryptocurrency ‘tumbler’, Blender, used by North Korea to launder stolen digital currency, the first such measures to be brought against a virtual currency mixer.
EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT GIVES GREATER POWERS TO EUROPOL
On 9 May, OCCRP reported that the European Parliament has given Europol greater powers, enabling the law enforcement agency to deal with new threats that have emerged with the digital age. It will allow Europol to pursue research and innovation projects, handle massive datasets, and assist national agencies in security-related screenings.
HOW A RUSSIAN OPERATOR URGED CATALONIAN LEADERS TO BREAK WITH MADRID
A report from OCCRP on 8 May said that Catalonian leaders referred to the man who offered them troops and money in 2017 to secede from Spain as “Putin’s envoy” (allegedly in return for making Catalonia as a haven for cryptocurrency). Reporters identified him as Nikolai Sadovnikov, a long-time diplomat who reportedly worked as a strategic adviser to the Russian foreign minister.
US CUSTOMS SEIZED OVER $10 MILLION WORTH OF COUNTERFEIT ROLEX WATCHES IN APRIL
On 7 May, CNN reported that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Indianapolis seized 2 shipments of counterfeit watches in April, and the fake luxury watches would have had a total value of $10.1 million if real. Both shipments had originated in Hong Kong and were destined for Brooklyn, New York.
On 6 May, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper says that the IUU Regulation is the core of the EU’s legal framework for action against global IUU fishing. Its primary objective is to prevent, deter and eliminate the trade of IUU-caught products into the EU. One of its key components is a multiple-step procedure for dealing with non-EU countries considered uncooperative in the fight against IUU fishing. This edition further updates an earlier one, the previous edition of which was in March 2021.
On 6 May, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper which looks into the confirmed or suspected use of the Pegasus spyware and other similar cyber-surveillance instruments in the EU and its Member States or targeting EU citizens or residents, EU reactions and previous activities on issues related to surveillance.
UK: CRYPTOASSETS, MONEY LAUNDERING AND THE END OF THE TEMPORARY REGISTRATION REGIME
On 29 April, law firm Corker Bining reported that regulation of cryptoassets in the UK has reached a significant milestone following the expiration of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) Temporary Registration Regime (TRR) on 31 March. This article considers the immediate impact of the TRR expiry for UK businesses and investors.
ROMANIA BLACK SEA PORT BECOMING UKRAINIAN EXPORT HUB
On 9 May, Hellenic Shipping News reported that Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s seaports has forced the country’s exporters to look for alternatives to move their wheat. So now the country’s grain is loaded onto trains, lorries or barges in the small Danube ports of Reni and Izmail in the south-west, for transport to the Romanian port. Romania’s government has also come up with 2 projects to unblock road traffic and facilitate the flow of cargo to the port.
REPORT: FIU ROLE IN FIGHTING MONEY LAUNDERING WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC
The Egmont Group has published this report dated February 2022. It is said to present a corruption-related risk environment snapshot during the COVID-19 pandemic’s first year and considers how FIU efforts contributed to overcoming its challenges.
EX-VENEZUELA MAYOR SURRENDERS IN MIAMI FOR OIL BRIBE SCHEME
On 5 May, AP reported that Jhonnathan Marín, a one-time ally of Hugo Chávez wanted for prosecution by his socialist successor Nicolás Maduro has quietly surrendered in Miami in connection to a major bribery scheme involving joint oil ventures with foreign partners.
On 7 May, a news release from Hong Kong advised that Customs had announced that it detected a suspected money laundering case and arrested four people who were suspected of using personal bank accounts at various banks in Hong Kong, including virtual banks, to launder about $600 million from unknown sources since 2020.
SWISS POLITICIANS VOTE AGAINST LOOSENING NOTORIOUS BANKING SECRECY LAW
On 6 May, the Guardian reported that Swiss politicians have voted against loosening the banking secrecy laws, drawing criticism from the UN and campaign groups who said the laws will continue to harm press freedom. Article 47 makes it a criminal offence to disclose information about a bank’s clients, even if it is in the public interest. It means whistleblowers and journalists who report on potential wrongdoing can be prosecuted.
ACTION AGAINST €69 MILLION TAX SCAM INVOLVING ILLEGAL ‘CLONING’ OF ITALIAN INTO BULGARIAN COMPANIES
A news release from Eurojust on 6 May advised that Eurojust had supported the Italian and Bulgarian authorities to counter an elaborate tax scam of at least €69 million, with 26 suspects were identified who had illegally changed or ‘cloned’ Italian into Bulgarian enterprises, to avoid paying tax.
UK MIDDLEMEN ALLEGEDLY PAID £9.7 MILLION IN BRIBES TO SAUDIS FOR CONTRACTS
On 5 May, the Guardian reported on a London court case in which it is alleged that 2 men funnelled bribes totalling millions of pounds to a Saudi prince and other high-ranking officials to secure lucrative commercial contracts, to land the contracts for a British subsidiary of the European aerospace group Airbus.
US TREASURY SPECIFIES “SERVICES” PROHIBITED FOR EXPORT TO RUSSIA
On 9 May, Torres Law published an article explaining the new prohibitions introduced by the US Treasury affecting accounting services, trust and corporate formation services, and management consulting services. The prohibition takes effect on 7 June 7, but and does not apply to services provided to entities located in Russia owned or controlled by US persons, or any services in connection with the wind down or divestiture of any entity in Russia not owned or controlled by a Russian person.
Unsurprisingly perhaps, given the effect of sanctions on US aircraft and components, on 27 April, Homeland Security Today reported that the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has downgraded the air safety rating for Russia, restricting any expansion of service or partnerships since Russia’s Federal Agency for Air Transport does not comply with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) safety standards.
ISIS DECLARES IT A DUTY’ AND ‘WAR POLICY’ TO DEPLOY DISINFORMATION AS A WEAPON
On 6 May, Homeland Security Today reported that disseminating disinformation is a “duty” of jihadists in order to deceive and ultimately divide their foes and should be considered “part of the war policy,” ISIS Khorasan declared in a new issue of the group’s English-language magazine.
EX-FRENCH PM FRANCOIS FILLON AND HIS BRITISH WIFE LOSE BID TO OVERTURN FRAUD CONVICTIONS
On 9 May, the Mail Online reported that the pair have lost a bid to overturn their fraud convictions after a court found they created a fake parliamentary job that paid Penelope Fillon nearly £1 million in public cash. The so-called ‘Penelopegate’ scandal was revealed in a media report while Mr Fillon was the front-runner in the 2017 presidential race.
UK USED ‘DENIABLE FIDDLE’ TO HIDE £60 MILLION OF PAYMENTS TO SAUDIS, COURT TOLD
On 9 May, the Guardian reported that a court has been told that the UK government approved payments of up to £60 million to a future king of Saudi Arabia, his son and other high-ranking officials as part of a huge arms deal and then sought to conceal them in what it described as a “deniable fiddle”. It was also alleged that the UK government ensured payments continued to be paid to high-ranking Saudis until 2020 – 8 years after the SFO began an investigation into the same payments. In the case, 2 men are being prosecuted by the SFO for authorising corrupt payments to senior Saudis between 2007 and 2012. The payments were made, according to the SFO, to ensure that a British company, GPT, received lucrative contracts from the Saudi military.
FCA HAS PROHIBITED 5 DIRECTORS OF FINANCIAL ADVICE FIRMS FROM WORKING IN FINANCIAL SERVICES AND FINED THEM OVER £1 MILLION, AFTER THEY CAUSED SIGNIFICANT LOSSES TO PENSION CUSTOMERS
A release on Mondo Visione on 9 May advised that the 5 had failed to act with integrity having either acted dishonestly or recklessly. Each had been directors at failed financial advice firms which provided unsuitable advice to over 2,000 customers causing them to place their pensions in high-risk financial products in self-invested personal pensions in which an unauthorised firm had a significant financial interest, and the customers had been referred to them by that same firm which was also involved in designing the pension advice process used by the other firms.