PANAMA COID-19 UPDATE – the media in Panama is reporting that hospitalisations involving Covid have doubled over the past month. Actually, today’s figures show a very small decrease in hospital numbers, with 25 in ICU and 158 in other wards. On the other hand there were 3 fatalities reported, and the positivity rate for tests undertaken reached 23.3%, the highest figure since 4 February. The number of active cases has risen by over 2,200 to 23,654.
13 MAY 2022
RUSSIAN TANKER GIANT IN DEALS TO SELL SHIPS AMID WESTERN SANCTIONS
On 12 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that Sovcomflot, among the world’s largest tanker operators, has sold about a dozen ships to buyers in Asia and the Middle East. It is said to have sold 5 tankers to Dubai-based Koban Shipping and 4 natural-gas carriers to Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping. It is also said to be negotiating with other entities to sell further tankers.
YACHT WAS USED TO SMUGGLE £160 MILLION-WORTH OF COCAINE FROM SOUTH AMERICA TO THE UK HAS BEEN SOLD AT AUCTION
On 13 May, Practical Boat Owner reported that the 120-feett expedition yacht Kahu, which was used to smuggle £160 million-worth of cocaine from South America to the UK has been sold at auction for £473,500. The motor yacht was built in 1979 for the Royal New Zealand Navy, and was converted in 2010 into a pleasure craft and has since travelled the globe.
NIGERIA: PRESIDENT SIGNS 3 BILLS TO TACKLE MONEY LAUNDERING, TERRORISM, OTHER FINANCIAL CRIMES INTO LAW
On 13 May, The Street Journal and other media reported that, on 12 May, President Buhari signed into law, 3 Bills; the Money Laundering (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill, 2022 the Terrorism (Prevention and Prohibition) Bill 2022, and the Proceeds of Crime (Recovery and Management) Bill 2022. They are intended to improve the country’s AML/CFT framework.
AUSTRALIA: ORGANISED CRIME THRIVES BECAUSE NEW SOUTH WALES CANNOT FOLLOW THE MONEY
On 13 May, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that inquiries have shown that organised criminals, including Chinese triads, were likely using gaming tables as their back offices, laundering their drug money and taking out legal cash. It is said that NSW Assistant Police Commissioner Stuart Smith in a secret briefing last December said Australia and NSW are losing the fight against organised crime, saying that police were fighting with “pool noodles” while criminals were armed with guns. He criticised AUSTRAC, the federal agency in charge of chasing financial crime. Calling them “nitwits,” he said they were too focused on money laundering in the banking system and ignoring other forms of crime. The article says that Smith’s briefing is a worrying sign of friction between AUSTRAC and NSW police when they should be working hand in glove.
INDIAN OCEAN COMMISSION HELPS AFRICA’S ISLAND STATES FIGHT SEA CRIME
On 13 May, Defence Web reported that, for the past 25 years or so, Indian Ocean Island nations gradually have bolstered maritime security through membership in the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC), which has helped them increase law enforcement cooperation, intelligence sharing and coordination across borders to counter sea crime. The IOC is the only intergovernmental organisation composed exclusively of island states. The EU funds its maritime security efforts around Africa. The island nations are along a notorious stretch of the Western Indian Ocean that for decades has been a drug transit route. Other maritime issues in the region include illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; piracy and kidnappings; and trafficking in weapons, people and wildlife. A March 2021 report by the Institute for Security Studies argues that the IOC’s efforts to enhance maritime security among the island states could serve as a template for other African nations to follow.
UK: LEGAL SERVICES BOOM CONTINUES DESPITE SANCTIONS
On 13 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that the UK’s legal services sector continues to thrive, official figures show, despite seemingly taking a hit from the sanctions imposed on Russia over the war in Ukraine.
US: HEALTH CARE’S EXPANDING LANDSCAPE OF CRIMINAL ANTI-BRIBERY ENFORCEMENT
On 13 May, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP published an article saying that a case highlights how criminal anti-bribery enforcement in health care looks different now than it did even 5 years ago. It sets out to describe steps companies and executives in this sector can take now to avoid a face-to-face encounter with the statutes as a criminal defendant.
UK: IMPORTS OF ENERGY FROM RUSSIA
On 13 May, a briefing from the House of Commons Library said that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has focussed attention on the importance of Russian exports of gas, oil and coal. In 2021 imports from Russia made up 4% of gas used in the UK, 9% of oil and 27% of coal.
UK: NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE RE AMSTERDAM TRADE BANK NV
On 13 May, HM Treasury issued a new General Licence authorising winding down, basic needs and insolvency related payments in connection with Amsterdam Trade Bank NV. Under the Licence, the bank may make payment for its basic needs including: payment of remuneration, allowances or pensions of employees; payment of tax; payments to suppliers of goods and services.
GUERNSEY: EY APPOINTED TO CARRY OUT REVIEW OF CORPORATE TAX OPTIONS
On 12 May, a news release advised that EY has been appointed, following a competitive tender process, to carry out a review of corporate tax options, as part of the wider Tax Review which looks at how essential services will be funded in the future.
HONDURAS EX-POLICE CHIEF EXTRADITED TO THE US OVER DRUG TRAFFICKING CHARGES
On 13 May, OCCRP reported that Honduras has extradited former police chief Juan Carlos Bonilla Valladares (aka El Tigre) to the US to face drug trafficking charges similar to those ex-President Juan Orlando Hernández was accused of and handed over to the US several weeks earlier.
PODCAST: RANSOMWARE AND CYBER-ATTACKS AFTER UKRAINE-RUSSIA: WHAT’S CHANGED?
This is a podcast from Control Risks on 9 May. It is said that since the start of the Ukraine-Russia conflict, there have been drastic changes to the cyber threat landscape, including a sharp increase in ransomware attacks. In this podcast experts discuss these changes, how they might develop and what this means for organisations preparing for and responding to ransomware attacks.
SUSPECT HELD IN NETHERLANDS OVER 1994 RWANDAN GENOCIDE
On 13 May, the Guardian reported that a Rwandan man has been arrested in the Netherlands based on an extradition request from Rwanda on suspicion that he was involved in the country’s 1994 genocide.
TerraUSD ‘STABLECOIN’ DELISTED FROM CRYPTO EXCHANGES
On 13 May, the Guardian reported that TerraUSD, the “algorithmic stablecoin” whose collapse prompted a multibillion-dollar sell-off across crypto markets, has turned off its blockchain and been delisted from major exchanges, in effect closing the project for good.
MPs AND PEERS URGE BIGGER FINES FOR LAWYERS WHO BREAK AML RULES
On 13 May, Legal Futures reported that they also backed the creation of a specialist unit at the National Crime Agency (NCA) to target professional enablers. The all-party parliamentary groups on fair business banking and on anti-corruption and responsible tax have published a joint economic crime manifesto, setting out what measures should be in the latest economic crime Bill, announced in the Queen’s Speech.
LEGAL PROFESSIONAL PRIVILEGE IN THE UK
On 13 May, an article from Out-Law provided a guide to litigation privilege and legal professional privilege (LPP).
SCREENING OF THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS AT THE EU EXTERNAL BORDERS
On 12 May, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper about a proposal which would introduce a pre-entry screening procedure allowing national authorities at external borders to channel irregular third-country nationals to the appropriate procedure, i.e. asylum or return procedures. The screening would start with preliminary health and vulnerability checks and finish with the transmission of a debriefing form to the appropriate authorities. The proposal would provide for the establishment, by each Member State, of an independent monitoring mechanism for fundamental rights.
US: CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADER SENTENCED TO 42 MONTHS IN PRISON
On 11 May, a news release from US DoJ advised that JEREMY SPENCE, aka “Coin Signals,” was sentenced to 42 months in prison for defrauding more than 170 victims in connection with various cryptocurrency funds that he operated.
EU SANCTIONS MAP
This tool, updated to 20 April, provides an interactive A-Z listing of countries and sanctions regimes, the measures imposed in respect of each, and the legislative acts involved, as well as available guidance.
US DEA PULLS PLANE FROM MEXICO IN FRESH COOPERATION BLOW
On 11 May, Yahoo News reported that the DEA has stopped stationing a plane in Mexico for anti-narcotics operations for the first time in decades after Mexican officials rescinded its parking spot. It is said to be a new hit to joint cooperation against drug crime which has frayed in recent years under Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
GIBRALTAR FIU ANNUAL REPORT
The 2021 Annual Report includes a Strategic Analysis Report.
DEA INVESTIGATING BREACH OF LAW ENFORCEMENT DATA PORTAL
On 12 May, the Krebs on Security blog reported that the DEA says it is investigating reports that hackers gained unauthorised access to an agency portal that taps into 16 different federal law enforcement databases. It says it has learned the alleged compromise is tied to a cybercrime and online harassment community that routinely impersonates police and government officials to harvest personal information on their targets.
HOW TO FIGHT FOREIGN HACKERS WITH CIVIL LITIGATION
On 12 May, an article from Lawfare says that a recent operation reflects the DoJ strategy of prioritising what it calls “disruptive capabilities” over long-term plays for arrests and extraditions. It also notes that, in the same week, Microsoft obtained a court order to seize 7 domains being used by another GRU unit, best known as “Fancy Bear,” to target Ukrainian institutions. It is said that these 2 operations illustrate an important truth: the Justice Department’s best tools for fighting cybercrime can also be wielded by any private company willing to invest the necessary resources, and many companies have been eager to do so.
ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA AND SYRIA SANCTIONS CHANGES
On 13 May, 2 news releases advised of a news release is issued to publicise the addition of 1 entry, correction of 1 entry, removal of 1 entry and amendment of 108 entries in the Syria sanctions regime. These changes include the removal of Yousef ISMAIL. The other news release advises of the addition of 12 entries, the amendment of 8 entries and the correction of 2 entries to the Russian sanctions regime.
UK AMENDS GENERAL LICENCE RELATING TO SOVCOMFLOT
On 13 May, HM Treasury issued a Notice advising that the General Licence in relation to the wind down of positions involving Sovcomflot has had its expiry date extended to 30 June.
NETHERLANDS: EMERGENCY MEASURE FOR CORPORATE SERVICE PROVIDERS REGARDING PROVIDING SERVICES TO CLIENTS IN RUSSIA AND BELARUS
On 12 May, an article from Field Fisher is concerned with corporate service providers (trustkantoren) in the Netherlands doing business with Russian clients. It notes that a new Bill would prohibit CSP from providing trust services if a client, a target company, an ultimate beneficial owner of a client and an ultimate beneficial owner of a target company is resident or established, or has its registered office in the Russian Federation or the Republic of Belarus. However, if such client or beneficial owner is a natural person who is a national of a member state of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland, or holds a residence permit for one of these states, the prohibition will not apply.
TAKING STOCK OF UN ARMS TRADE TREATY (ATT) REPORTING TRENDS AND CHALLENGES
On 27 April, the Stimson Center issued a report which starts by explaining that the ATT) is the first global, legally binding instrument to regulate the trade in conventional arms. It entered into force in 2014, and aims to mitigate the harm caused by irresponsible and illicit arms transfers by establishing common standards for international transfers of conventional arms. The ATT also seeks to enhance transparency and build confidence between States engaging in the international arms trade by establishing mandatory reporting mechanisms. It requires States Parties to submit 2 reports to the treaty Secretariat in order to increase responsibility, accountability, and transparency in the arms trade. However, it says that over the first 6 years of ATT reporting the rate of initial reporting has remained relatively constant while annual reporting compliance rates have steadily decreased. Both initial and annual reporting have suffered from increasing challenges to transparency and reporting practices that limit the practical and analytical utility of the reports themselves. The report from the Stimson Center –
- Provides an overview of the reporting processes and practices of the 35 States that participated in the study to identify trends and examples of good practice;
- Discusses the challenges these States have experienced in fulfilling their initial and annual reporting obligations; and
- concludes with a discussion of recommendations that can be taken to ensure more consistent, comprehensive, and transparent reporting under the ATT.
WHY IS IT SO EASY TO HIDE DIRTY MONEY IN BRITAIN?
On 12 May, The Economist released this 14-minute video which explores how and why London became a laundromat for foreign dirty money — and whether Britain’s new sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will trigger the fall of Londongrad.
US: COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION CHARGES LONG ISLAND RESIDENT AND HIS FIRM IN ONGOING $59 MILLION CRYPTO FRAUD SCHEME
On 13 May, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the CFTC has announced it has filed a civil enforcement action against Eddy Alexandre of Valley Stream, New York, and his company, EminiFX Inc, of Valley Stream and Manhattan, New York, charging them with fraudulent solicitation and misappropriation in connection with soliciting clients to trade foreign currency exchange (forex), commodity futures contracts, and cryptocurrencies. It is alleged that the defendants solicited and accepted at least $59 million from hundreds of people to purportedly trade forex and cryptocurrencies, as well as futures and options, in an investment club. The defendants guaranteed customers returns of 5% per week. In fact, the defendants’ used only approximately $9 million of customers’ funds to trade forex and cryptocurrency.
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