FBI ADDS BULGARIAN ‘CRYPTO QUEEN’ TO MOST-WANTED LIST

On 30 June, the Daily Mail reported that the FBI had put up a $100,000 reward for Ruja Ignatova, who disappeared in Greece in October 2017 around the time US authorities filed a sealed indictment and warrant for her arrest.  The 42-year-old, who is also a German citizen, was behind OneCoin, which she launched in 2014 and was one of the most notorious scams in the world of crypto currencies.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-10970833/FBI-adds-Bulgarian-Crypto-Queen-wanted-list.html

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UK PAYS EU £583 MILLION AFTER CUSTOMS RULING ON CHINESE IMPORTS

On 30 June, the BBC reported that the UK has paid the European Commission €678 million over a long-running dispute with the EU over fraud on imported Chinese clothing, and follows a ruling from the EU’s top court that the UK failed to pass on the correct amount of tax to the EU for imports between 2011 and 2017.  The Commission had sued the UK for €2.7 billion in 2018.  HM Treasury said that the UK was liable for interest payments of 16% plus the Bank of England base rate on any outstanding amount, and it said it was paying this amount to “protect UK taxpayers from significant continued interest accrual”.

https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-62001446

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PUERTO RICO SUSPENDS OPERATIONS OF BANK AMID GLOBAL PROBE

On 30 June, the Daily Mail reported that authorities have announced that they have suspended the operations of Puerto Rico-based Euro Pacific International Bank, which officials previously said was under suspicion of facilitating money laundering and offshore tax evasion. It is said that the bank that was established in Puerto Rico in October 2017 came under scrutiny following a lack of internal controls, a lack of compliance and a level of insolvency.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-10970785/Puerto-Rico-accuses-bank-money-laundering-tax-evasion.html

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US TREASURY BLOCKS OVER $1 BILLION IN SULEIMAN KERIMOV TRUST

On 30 June, the US Treasury reported that OFAC had announced it has issued a Notification of Blocked Property to Heritage Trust, a Delaware-based trust in which OFAC-designated Russian oligarch Suleiman Abusaidovich Kerimov holds a property interest.  As of 30 June, Heritage Trust holds assets valued at over $1 billion, and this action ensures that those assets remain blocked and inaccessible to Kerimov.   Heritage Trust was formed in July 2017 for the purpose of holding and managing Kerimov’s US-based assets.  It is said that enforcement investigation unearthed the oligarch’s use of a network of relatives, advisers, and opaque legal entities to invest in the US.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/maryland/articles/2022-06-30/treasury-blocks-1-billion-trust-owned-by-russian-oligarch

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-treasury-blocks-over-1-billion-in-suleiman-kerimov-trust-enforcement-inv/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/jun/30/us-russian-oligarch-sanctions-suleiman-kerimov

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CRYPTOCURRENCIES AS AN ENABLER OF ORGANISED CRIME

On 16 June, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published this report which aims to provide a broad overview of cryptocurrencies and organised crime.  It is meant for readers that may have an expertise in one, both or neither, as a means to better understand the challenges posed by emerging blockchain technologies and decentralised finance.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/cryptocurrencies-crime/

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ISLE OF MAN REGULATION OF GLOBAL CANNABIS INVESTMENTS

On 30 June, Appleby published an article about the situation in the Isle of Man following legislation enacted in 2021 permitting the cultivation, production, supply, possession, importation and exportation of certain medicinal cannabis products under licence.  The first licence for a pharmacy to import and dispense certain cannabis-based products for medicinal use has been granted and an “approval in principle” for a company to cultivate, extract, manufacture, import and export medicinal cannabis.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/getting-into-the-weeds-isle-of-man-regulation-of-global-cannabis-investments/

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FATF: UPDATE ON IMPLEMENTATION OF FATF STANDARDS ON VIRTUAL ASSETS AND VASP

On 30 June, FATF published a targeted update on implementation of FATF Standards on virtual assets (VA) and virtual asset service providers (VASP), with a focus on FATF’s Travel Rule.  This report comes 3 years after FATF extended its AML/CFT measures to VA and VASP to prevent criminal and terrorist misuse of the sector.  The report finds a continued need for many countries to strengthen understanding risks of the VA and VASP sector, and to rapidly implement FATF Recommendation 15/INR.15 to mitigate such risks.  Of the 98 jurisdictions that responded to FATF’s March 2022 survey, only 29 jurisdictions have passed relevant Travel Rule laws, and a small subset of these jurisdictions have started enforcement.  This, FATF says, demonstrates an urgent need for jurisdictions to accelerate implementation and enforcement to mitigate criminal and terrorist misuse of virtual assets. 

https://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/fatfrecommendations/documents/targeted-update-virtual-assets-vasps.html

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