THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 19

Panama Covid-19 update – 1,143 new cases and 4 new fatalities reported today; with 16,825 active cases – 35 in ICU and 208 in other wards.

Still away from home…so posts unsifted…

19 June 2022

NEW HONG KONG CABINET INCLUDES 4 UNDER US SANCTIONS

On 19 June, RFI reported that the new Hong Kong administration includes 4 senior officials under US sanctions.  They are leader-in-waiting John Lee, security minister Chris Tang, mainland affairs minister Erick Tsang and newly appointed chief secretary for administration Eric Chan.

https://www.rfi.fr/en/new-hong-kong-cabinet-includes-four-under-us-sanctions

PHILIPPINES STILL ON FATF MONEY LAUNDER GREY LIST

On 19 June, PhilStar Global reported on FATF having retained the Philippines in its “grey list,” citing the country’s need to further strengthen its action plan to address strategic deficiencies in efforts to counter money laundering, terrorist financing and “proliferation financing”.

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2022/06/19/2189372/philippines-still-money-launder-gray-list

PROPERTY MANAGER HIT WITH £73,000 CONFISCATION ORDER AFTER CONVERSION OF FAMILY HOMES INTO FLATS WITHOUT PERMISSION

On 16 June, Local Government Lawyer reported that a property manager who illegally converted 2 family homes in Dagenham into 8 flats without permission has been ordered to pay £73,850.  Despite several rejected applications to convert the homes into self-contained apartments, officers later discovered the properties had been split into 5 flats at one address and 3 at the other. 

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/planning/401-planning-news/50767-property-manager-hit-with-73k-confiscation-order-after-conversion-of-family-homes-into-flats-without-permission

UK INVESTIGATES VIETNAMESE BILLIONAIRE’S FUNDING OF OXFORD UNIVERSITY COLLEGE

On 17 June, RFA reported that the controversial plan would see a college being renamed after VietJet founder Nugyen Thi Phuong Thao.  The review was revealed after a question in Parliament pointing out that Vietnam is a country where people seldom enjoy freedom of speech.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/vietnam/uk-investigates-vietnamese-billionaires-funding-of-oxford-university-college-06172022014245.html

FRENCH ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITIES PUBLISH FIRST-EVER GUIDANCE ON INTERNAL ANTI-BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION INVESTIGATIONS

On 17 June, Ropes & Gray reported that the French Anti-Corruption Agency (Agence Française Anticorruption, or AFA) and the National Financial Prosecutor’s Office (Parquet National Financier, or PNF) jointly published a draft of their first-ever guidance on how businesses should conduct internal investigations related to bribery and corruption.  It says that the Guide is particularly notable given France’s June 2017 enactment of sweeping anti-corruption legislation known as Sapin II.  It says that together with other guidance on internal investigations and deferred prosecution agreements, the new guide serves as a critical reference for businesses operating in the world’s seventh-largest economy.

https://www.ropesgray.com/en/newsroom/alerts/2022/06/French-Enforcement-Authorities-Publish-First-Ever-Guidance-on-Internal-Anti-Bribery

VINCE McMAHON STEPS DOWN AS WWE CEO OVER BRIBERY INVESTIGATION

On 17 June, Marca.com reported that McMahon will be in charge of the creative content released by the WWE, and his daughter will take the CEO seat while the investigation advances.  It is said that the organisation is working with an independent party to review the work environment among WWE workers.

https://www.marca.com/en/more-sports/2022/06/17/62ac9d39268e3efd168b456c.html

RUSSIAN SEABORNE OIL EXPORTS COULD FIND WAYS ROUND EU INSURANCE BAN

On 18 June, Hellenic Shipping News cited sources saying that they are not convinced an EU insurance ban will prevent shipowners from seeking Russian barrels as alternative insurance providers from further afield remain an option.  It notes that the UK has not yet banned provision of insurance or financing to Russian seaborne oil. However, some market participants expect this to come in due course, and that London is a pivotal player in the marine insurance sector.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/russian-seaborne-oil-exports-could-find-ways-round-eu-insurance-ban-sources/

RUSSIAN-FLAGGED SHIPS TRANSPORT UKRAINE’S GRAIN TO SYRIA

On 18 June, Hellenic Shipping News reported claims that Russian-flagged ships have been carrying grain harvested in Ukraine last season and transported it to Syria.  It says that images showed 2 Russian-flagged bulk carrier ships docked in the Russian-controlled Crimean port of Sevastopol in May and being loaded with grain – and the same ships docked in Syria, with their hatches open and semi-trucks lined up ready to haul the grain away.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/russian-flagged-ships-transport-ukraines-grain-to-syria-maxar-says/

PARIAH OR PARTNER? CLARIFYING THE US APPROACH TO CAMBODIA

A report from CSIS on 14 June said that US policy toward Cambodia is conflicted, contradictory, and unsustainable.  Is Cambodia an authoritarian pariah to be punished until it undergoes systemic political change?  Or is it a necessary partner on the front lines of great-power competition?  The US Government has spent the last decade torn between righteous indignation over democratic backsliding and pragmatic engagement given US interests in the region.

https://csis-website-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/220614_Poling_Pariah_Partner.pdf?KmblgE_l1bKt42yaWwkrvRaw82aoIwdn

GERMANY’S TRUSTEESHIP OVER GAZPROM GERMANIA

On 6 June, a post on the blog of the European Journal of International Law reminds one that in April the German authorities imposed a trusteeship over Gazprom Germania GmbH until 30 September, and hence Germany now controls all of Gazprom Germania’s Germany-located assets.  It explains how and why this happened.  It points out that relevant treaties provide that states must not directly or indirectly expropriate investments, unless they do so for a good public purpose, act with due process, do not discriminate, and pay compensation- and asks if Germany’s conduct amount to either a direct expropriation or an indirect expropriation?  It concludes that the trustee model might provide a suitable defence for Germany, and least for now.

https://www.ejiltalk.org/germanys-trusteeship-over-gazprom-germania-a-brewing-expropriation-claim/

3 ISRAELIS ARRESTED FOR TIES TO FOREX FRAUD FOLLOWING AN INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION

On 19 June, Finance Magnates reported that Italy is requesting the extradition of 3 Israelis for suspected forex fraud.  The 3 men may be prosecuted for allegedly operating a criminal organisation, illegal financial activity, money laundering and aggravated fraud.  The 83-year-old father of one of them was arrested in Italy several months ago and is currently staying in a hotel in Rome with an ankle bracelet.  The 3 men are suspected to have operated a network of Italian websites that only appear to provide trading in financial products, with a call centre based in Poland.  Shell companies were located in Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Georgia, Seychelles and Vanuatu.

https://www.financemagnates.com/forex/three-israelis-arrested-for-ties-to-forex-fraud-following-an-international-investigation/

UAE RAMPS UP EXTRADITION PACTS IN BID TO FIGHT DIRTY MONEY

On 10 June, Bloomberg reported that the UAE  expects to sign 7 extradition agreements with countries this year, underscoring a push by officials to improve the country’s image since, in March, FATF added the UAE to its “grey list”.  It currently has 37 mutual legal assistance and extradition accords in place, including with the UK, France, Italy, India and China. 

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-06-10/uae-ramps-up-extradition-pacts-in-bid-to-fight-dirty-money

S&P Global published on 14 June an updated version of its Sanctions on Russian Commodities Tracker, initially published on 17 March and updated on 28 March.

https://www.spglobal.com/commodityinsights/en/market-insights/latest-news/oil/031722-infographic-russia-sanctions-ukraine-energy-commodities-explained

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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