On 12 May, OFAC announced General License 22 authorising activities in certain economic sectors in non-regime held areas of North-east and North-west Syria. It also issued several new FAQ, and an amended FAQ 884.
A report from the WWF and its partners says that FTZ/SEZ can serve as facilitators for illicit trade, by offering an additional layer of opaqueness, complexity, and inadequate controls in which illegal economies can flourish. The report uses 3 case studies, in Laos, Spain and China.
On 12 May, OCCRP reported that police had identified 26 suspects “who had illegally changed or ‘cloned’ Italian into Bulgarian enterprises, to avoid paying tax”. Without actually transferring over ownership, the suspects administratively altered the registration of businesses in the tourism, construction, and food distribution sectors from Italian to Bulgarian, this way avoiding taxes in Italy since 2013.
On 12 May, FATF published a follow-up report on Mexico’s AML/CFT regimes. Mexico has been in an enhanced follow-up process since its evaluation in 2018. FATF has now re-rated the country on the following FATF Recommendations:
37 – Mutual legal assistance, from partially compliant to compliant 38 – Mutual legal assistance: freezing and confiscation, from partially compliant to compliant
Mexico is now compliant on 10 of the FATF 40 Recommendations and largely compliant on 22 of them. It remains partially compliant on 7 Recommendations, and non-compliant on 1 Recommendation. It will continue to report back to the FATF on its progress. As is usual with such follow-up reports, effectiveness is not addressed, only technical compliance.
The Budapest Convention is the foundation for anti-cybercrime legislation in 80% of countries worldwide and has been signed by all EU Member States. A Second Additional Protocol provides tools to improve co-operation and disclosure of electronic evidence, while protecting fundamental rights, including with strong data protection safeguards. Such tools include for instance direct co-operation with service providers in other jurisdictions, co-operation in emergency situations, and joint investigation teams. 22 countries have so far signed the Protocol. It will enter into force once ratified by 5 of the signatories.