Panama Covid-19 update – not a lot of change to report, with the percentage of positive tests (of 10,470 recorded) still high at 18.7% (the WHO says 5% or else is acceptable). Today saw no new fatalities reported, but 1,957 new cases; with 15,887 active cases, including 34 in ICU, 197 in other wards and 19 in hospital-hotels. Of course, it is unclear how many, except for those in the hospital-hotel quarantine, are in hospital “with” Covid or “because” of it.
22 JUNE 2022
CREDIT SUISSE SEEKS LOOPHOLE TO SHED $600 MILLION COURT JUDGMENT IN “ROGUE BANKER” CASE
On 21 June, the Wall Street Journal reported that lawyers for a life insurance unit of the bank said a billionaire former client can only collect damages from his own account under Bermuda company law. A last-minute legal challenge, if successful, would wipe out a large liability hanging over the bank. The amount represents what Mr Ivanishvili would have made from his accounts at Credit Suisse Life Bermuda Ltd if his money had been invested in a medium-risk investment portfolio. He had sued for breach of contract and fiduciary duty after his private banker, Patrice Lescaudron, admitted to cutting and pasting signatures to make unauthorised stock bets. Credit Suisse had said it, too, was a victim of Mr. Lescaudron and shouldn’t be held liable for his actions.
US COURT DEEPENS SPLIT OVER EXTRATERRITORIALITY OF CIVIL RICO
On 20 June, a post on the Transnational Litigation Blog discussed a recent decision on the extraterritorial application of RICO’s private right of action. In determining whether there is injury to business or property in the US, the court rejected a decision rejecting the residency-based test. It is said that the decision is significant not only for what it has to say about the extraterritoriality of civil RICO, but also because it develops another tool for judgment creditors to recover assets from judgment debtors. It reminds one that the RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) targets organised crime by prohibiting patterns of criminal activity in connection with an enterprise. It also allows “[a]ny person injured in his business or property” by a criminal violation of RICO to sue for treble damages.
CAYMAN ISLANDS FUNDS: SANCTIONS IMPLICATIONS
On 17 June, an article from Mourant focusses on the current state of play in the Cayman Islands and some of the questions which Cayman Islands funds are facing in practice. In practice, the financial sanctions in force in the Cayman Islands are essentially those in force in the UK. It is the UK’s policy to ensure that British Overseas Territories like the Cayman Islands are legally and practically enabled to implement UN and UK sanctions in order to ensure compliance with international obligations.
IRELAND: RECENT UPDATES TO VAT TREATMENT OF eGAMING SERVICES
On 20 June, an article from law firm Matheson reported that the Irish Revenue Commissioners recently updated their guidance material in respect of the VAT treatment of e-gaming services. They have announced certain updates to the Guidance in Revenue e-Brief 112/22 published on 21 May which are summarised in the article. These updates provide some welcome clarity to the methodology to be applied when calculating the VAT liability on supplies of eGaming services to Irish customers.
THE ECONOMIC CRIME (TRANSPARENCY AND ENFORCEMENT) ACT 2022: AN ISLE OF MAN PERSPECTIVE
On 21 June, Finance IOM published this short guide to the effect of the UK Act in the Isle of Man. The Act will apply to all Isle of Man entities that are treated as legal persons under Isle of Man law.
PANAMA ASKS FOR THE MILLIONS SEIZED IN THE US FROM THE MARTINELLI BROTHERS
On 22 June, El Siglo reported that the Public Prosecutor’s Office has held talks with the judicial authorities of the US about money seized from the brothers Luis Enrique and Ricardo Alberto Martinelli (sons of former President Martinelli). $18 million were deposited in a Swiss bank, in addition to a property in Miami, which was confiscated.
IRELAND HAS FROZEN €1.72 BILLION OF RUSSIAN ASSETS THROUGH SANCTIONS
On 21 June, the Irish Times reported that Ireland has frozen €1.72 billion of assets linked to sanctioned Russian individuals and entities. This marks a significant increase from a figure of €839 million that was contained in an EU document in early April.
CANADA: AML RULES EXPANDED TO INCLUDE PAYMENT SERVICE PROVIDERS AND CROWDFUNDING PLATFORMS
On 21 June, Bennett Jones LLP published an article saying that payment service providers and crowdfunding entities that were not previously subject to AML/CFT legislation in Canada should be aware of changes that came into force on 5 April. The amendments made follow the so-called “freedom convoy” protests.
EU EXTENDS SANCTIONS IN RESPONSE TO THE ILLEGAL ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA AND SEVASTOPOL TO JUNE 2023
EU Council Decision 2022/962/CFSP extended EU Council Decision 2014/386/CFSP to 23 June 2023.
IRELAND: EX-MILLIONAIRE IN LEGAL ACTION TO CLEAR NAME OVER ALLEGED PROPERTY FRAUD
On 22 June, the Irish Independent reported that Philip Marley has initiated proceedings against the Director of Public Prosecutions, Ireland and the Attorney General. He is due to go on trial in April 2024 on 8 charges in relation to alleged dealings involving 2 properties. Earlier this year he failed in a High Court bid to have the fraudulent registration charges he is facing dealt with at 2 separate trials.
INDONESIA DEPORTS JAPANESE FUGITIVE ACCUSED OF COVID RELIEF FRAUD
On 22 June, the Mail Online reported that Indonesia has deported Mitsuhiro Taniguchi, 47, a fugitive accused of masterminding a lucrative scheme in his native Japan to defraud a government fund offering Covid-19 relief subsidies. He reportedly entered Indonesia in October 2020, several months after the scheme was uncovered by Japanese police.
DOZENS OF ELDERLY AMERICANS WERE DUPED OUT OF $13 MILLION IN FAKE WINE AND WHISKEY INVESTMENT SCAM AFTER BEING CONNED BY ‘MEN WITH BRITISH ACCENTS’ POSING AS EXPERTS
On 22 June, the Mail Online reported that at least 150 elderly people were swindled out of $13 million over a 5-year scam which spanned 2 continents utilising 3 companies to allegedly defraud investors by dangling promises of high returns on their investments in rare wines and whiskeys.
KAZAKHSTAN INVESTIGATES ANOTHER RELATIVE OF FORMER RULER NAZARBAYEV
On 22 June, OCCRP reported that authorities are investigating claims made by a local businessman who accused the brother of ex-President Nursultan Nazarbayev and one of his unofficial wives of having illegally taken over his share in a mining company.
RUSSIAN TANKERS DELIVERING OIL TO EU PORTS DESPITE SANCTIONS
On 22 June, OCCRP reported that a Russian state-backed shipping company sanctioned by the US and EU in February continues to deliver crude oil to European ports. Experts say the company disguised its ownership of the vessels by basing subsidiaries in Cyprus and the UAE and sailing under Liberian flags. Hence, oil tankers owned by Russia’s state-backed fleet operator Sovcomflot are still delivering to ports in Europe and earning Moscow much-needed foreign currency, despite Western sanctions aimed at limiting imports of Russian crude oil.
PHISHING GANG BEHIND SEVERAL MILLION EUROS WORTH OF LOSSES BUSTED IN BELGIUM AND THE NETHERLANDS
On 21 June, a news release from Europol announced that a cross-border operation, supported by Europol and involving the Belgian Police and the Dutch Police, resulted in the dismantling of an organised crime group involved in phishing, fraud, scams and money laundering.
OBTAINING IMAGING ORDERS FROM THE ENGLISH COURTS
On 22 June, an article from Out-Law explains that, at their core, imaging orders are effectively a screenshot of electronic evidence held by the individual or organisation against whom the order is made, including potentially relevant evidence that could implicate the fraudster. Such an order requires a party to give immediate access to electronic storage devices to an independent computer specialist, to copy the contents. Such devices range from computers to smart phones to virtual cloud storage, as well as online accounts including email accounts and payment systems.
BRAZIL’S PABLO ESCOBAR IS FINALLY ARRESTED
On 21 June, Insight Crime reported that one of the largest suspected drug traffickers in the world, Sergio Roberto de Carvalho, a former Brazilian army major, has been arrested in Hungary after a prolonged manhunt. After being arrested in Spain under a false name in 2020, Carvalho disappeared without a trace. According to media reports, Carvalho was rumoured to have spent time in Portugal, Ukraine and Dubai since fleeing from Spain.
UK: FCA FINES INSURANCE BROKER £7.8 MILLION FOR FINANCIAL CRIME CONTROL FAILINGS
On 22 June, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the FCA had fined JLT Specialty Limited (JLTSL) £7,881,700 for financial crime control failings, which in one instance allowed bribery of over $3 million to take place. JLTSL is based in the UK and provided insurance broking, risk management and insurance claims services. It was part of JLT Group plc, which had a number of subsidiaries around the world. JLTSL placed business in the London reinsurance market for JLT Re Colombia, another company in the JLT group. The business had been introduced by a third-party based in Panama.
CANADA: KPMG CLAIMS IT HAS BEEN ‘CLEARED’ BY CRA PROBE OF OFFSHORE TAX SCHEME
On 20 June, CBC reported that KPMG claims it has been “cleared of any wrongdoing” by a months-long Canada Revenue Agency criminal probe into an offshore tax scheme that allowed wealthy Canadians to receive tax-free funds. KPMG set up a system through which wealthy Canadians transferred assets to the Isle of Man tax haven and then recovered the funds tax-free.
MEXICO INVESTIGATES STOLEN MILITARY EQUIPMENT SOLD TO CARTELS
On 20 June, OCCRP reported that the Mexican navy is investigating a large theft of military equipment, including uniforms, body armour and other paraphernalia, which is intended to be sold to powerful cartels who could then use it to impersonate the military. The goods are believed to have been stolen by active military members.
RUSSIA SANCTIONS: OFSI UPDATES GUIDANCE ON THE PROVISION OF INSURANCE AND REINSURANCE SERVICES RELATING TO AVIATION AND SPACE GOODS AND TECHNOLOGY
On 22 June, EU Sanctions blog reported that OFSI has amended the guidance to make clear when the prohibition contained in the sanctions does not apply.
EU COURT REJECTS APPLICATION BY GEORGE HASWANI TO ANNUL LISTING UNDER SYRIA SANCTIONS
On 22 June, EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU General Court had rejected the application by the influential businessman operating in Syria.
FORMER ERICSSON EXECUTIVES ACQUITTED OF DJIBOUTI BRIBERY CHARGES BY SWEDISH COURT
On 21 June, ICIJ reported that 4 former Ericsson executives were acquitted in Sweden on charges of bribing high-ranking Djibouti officials to win a 3G contract worth nearly $20 million. The Prosecutor said that that he will review the verdict to see if there are grounds to appeal. Ericsson had previously admitted to engaging in bribery and other misconduct in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait from 2000 to 2016 in a billion-dollar corruption settlement with the US DoJ.
PODCAST: MONEYLAND, KLEPTOPIA AND ON CORRUPTION IN AMERICA
In the latest TRACE podcast, Oliver Bullough, Tom Burgis and Sarah Chayes, authors of 3 of the best books on global corruption, gather for a panel at the Annapolis Book Festival for a fascinating discussion about how the corrupt operate, often with impunity, and what can be done to slow the pace of looting.
US: STATEMENT ON BANK SECRECY ACT DUE DILIGENCE FOR INDEPENDENT ATM OWNERS OR OPERATORS
On 22 June, FinCEN issued a statement to provide clarity to banks on how to apply a risk-based approach to conducting customer due diligence (CDD) on independent Automated Teller Machine (ATM) owners or operators.
BANK OF ISRAEL CONTINUES TO REGULATE USE OF CRYPTOCURRENCIES
On 22 June, an article from Barnea Jaffa Lande & Co says that Israel’s financial regulatory authorities are regulating virtual currencies (cryptographic currencies). It says that the Capital Market, Insurance and Savings Authority (CMISA) issued an AML order specifically addressing cryptocurrencies, which came into effect in November 2021. The Supervisor of Banks is continuing this trend and has recently taken an initial measure to regulate the use of virtual currencies and the amendment to the Proper Conduct of Banking Business Directive 411 will come into effect on 9 November.
EBF RESPONSE TO EUROPEAN COMMISSION’S TARGETED CONSULTATION ON A DIGITAL EURO
On 16 June, the European Banking Federation published its response to the EU consultation.
SEAFOOD TRACEABILITY, INCLUDING ARE YOU SURE YOUR SEAFOOD ISN’T RUSSIAN?
To mark World Oceans Day on 8 June and the 2022 UN Ocean Conference on 27 June to 1 July, the Stimson Center has reissued 2 articles from March –
Seafood Traceability Practitioner’s Workshop Summary Report
About best practices in seafood traceability to combat Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and keep IUU fish out of major market states.
Are you sure the seafood you just bought isn’t Russian?
The ban on seafood could pack a significant blow to Russia’s economy. It is meaningless, however, without tools to help trace the origins of the food that ends up in restaurants, grocery stores and seafood markets in the US.
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
NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!