Panama Covid-19 update – 3 new fatalities reported today, as the number of active cases rises again – to 15,188, with 1,828 new cases today. 33 patients are in ICU and 189 in other wards.
29 JUNE 2022
A PRIMER ON HUMAN RIGHTS LEGISLATION
On 22 June, the Transnational Litigation Blog carried a post explaining the development of modern human rights law.
DELAWARE: HOW A LITTLE-KNOWN TAX HAVEN MADE THE RULES FOR CORPORATE AMERICA
On 27 June, ICIJ posted an interview with the author of a new book,“What’s the Matter with Delaware?”, which explores the tiny state’s massive role in global financial secrecy; saying that one of the world’s biggest tax havens actually sits within the bounds of mainland US: the tiny, tax-free state of Delaware.
NORTH KOREA SMUGGLES BANNED COAL TO CHINA
On 29 June, Nikkei Asia reported that an investigation by Nikkei had found that North Korea is likely shipping coal directly to Chinese ports, activity that is banned from international trade under UN Security Council sanctions.
US PROSECUTORS DROP HAITI BRIBERY CASE
On 28 June, the Wall Street Journal reported that prosecutors had dropped charges against 2 people accused of attempting to bribe officials in Haiti after new evidence came to light regarding lost recordings of calls that undercover agents conducted with one of the defendants. They had been accused of attempting to solicit bribes from FBI agents posing as potential investors in a project to develop an $84 million port in the Mole-Saint-Nicolas area of Haiti.
ISLE OF MAN: MEDICINAL CANNABIS FOR EXPORT LICENCE APPROVED
On 29 June, a news release advised that the Island’s Department for Enterprise had confirmed that GrowLab Organics (GLO) has been offered the first conditional medicinal cannabis licence for export in the Isle of Man. This came after the Isle of Man Gambling Supervision Commission (GSC), which is handling applications, issued the first letter of approval in principle to GLO to cultivate, extract, manufacture, import and export medicinal cannabis from the Isle of Man.
RUSSIAN ELITES, PROXIES, AND OLIGARCHS TASK FORCE JOINT STATEMENT
On 29 June, a news release from the US Treasury comprised a joint statement saying that REPO Task Force has leveraged extensive multilateral coordination to block or freeze more than $30 billion worth of sanctioned Russians’ assets, freeze or seize sanctioned persons’ high-value goods, and heavily restrict sanctioned Russians’ access to the international financial system. REPO members have achieved these successes through close and extensive national and international coordination and collaboration. The Task Force, launched in March, involves the US, UK, EU, Japan, Canada and Australia.
US TREASURY EXEMPTS CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY MEASURES FROM RUSSIA SANCTIONS
On 29 June, Flight Global reported that the US Treasury’s sanctions on Russian aircraft manufacturer United Aircraft would not apply in respect of the export and provision of services and technology aimed at ensuring civil aviation safety.
UK: CONSULTATION ON CODE PROVIDING GUIDANCE FOR PROSECUTORS ON THE EXERCISE OF THE INVESTIGATION POWERS UNDER POCA
On 29 June, the Home Office launched a public consultation on a new draft Code of Practice under section 377A of the proceeds of Crime Act 2002. This follows the commencement of Part 2 of the Economic Crime (Transparency and Enforcement) Act and changes made to the Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO) regime. The consultation period closes on 22 September.
EU AGREEMENT ON ‘KEY ELEMENTS’ OF ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE PACKAGE
On 29 June, EurActiv reported that the EU Parliament, Council and Commission have bridged their differences on several fundamental points regarding accessing cross-border electronic evidence, but that some political issues remain. The e-Evidence package is intended to facilitate access to electronic communications across EU countries in the context of criminal investigations – and, as a result, law enforcement agencies could request access to evidence directly from the service provider in the other member state or even ask that the data be retained. A political point still to be solved is if the executing member states ‘might’ or ‘shall’ contest the order if one or more grounds for refusal were found.
EU COMMISSION PROPOSES TO PROHIBIT FLAVOURED HEATED TOBACCO PRODUCTS
On 29 June, the EU reported that the European Commission proposes to prohibit the sale of flavoured heated tobacco products in the EU, in response to the significant increase in the volumes of heated tobacco products sold across the EU.
2.2 MILLION ILLICIT CIGARETTES SEIZED IN GLASGOW RAID
On 29 June, the BBC reported that 2 men have been charged with excise duty fraud after HMRC officers seized about 2.2 million illicit cigarettes at a business unit in Glasgow. One of the men was also charged over a seizure of 1.1 million cigarettes in April. Another raid netted 1.8 tonnes of compressed raw tobacco leaf at a haulage depot on 24 June.
CANADA’S PROPOSED FINANCIAL CRIME AGENCY
A Commentary from RUSI on 29 June says that Canada’s response to financial crime lags behind global peers, and that the planned financial crime agency is only part of the solution. It says that there are 2 big unknowns about Canada’s proposed financial crime agency: the specific problems the government thinks this new agency will solve; and the form the new agency will take.
LAW COMMISSION OF ENGLAND AND WALES ASKED TO REVIEW THE LAW ON CONTEMPT OF COURT
On 29 June, the Law Society Gazette reported that the Law Commission has been asked by the UK Government to review the ‘disordered and unclear’ law on contempt of court and consider ways to improve its effectiveness, consistency, and coherence; and that among the possibilities is codification. A consultation paper seeking views will be published at the end of this year.
UKRAINE UNCOVERS ANTIQUITIES LOOTED FROM CRIMEAN MUSEUMS
On 29 June, OCCRP reported that, while investigating money laundering linked to the funding of Russian occupied territories, Ukrainian authorities said they discovered a trove of ancient Scythian weapons believed to have been looted from museums in occupied Crimea.
13 ARRESTED OVER GERMAN CASHPOINT EXPLOSIONS THAT NETTED GANG OVER €1.6 MILLION
On 29 June, Europol announced that German authorities, together with their Dutch and Belgian counterparts, have arrested 13 members of a Dutch gang linked to 21 attacks against cash machines in Germany, causing millions of euros in damage.
3 CZECHS CHARGED WITH EU SUBSIDY FRAUD MONEY SPENT ON MODEL TRAINS INSTEAD
On 29 June, Radio Prague International reported that the European Prosecutor’s Office has filed charges against 3 people and 3 companies for subsidy fraud, damage to the EU’s financial interests and money laundering. It is said that the chief perpetrator pretended to be working on a project in the field of nanotechnology, but spent the bulk of the EU finances on model trains.
BANK OF ALBANIA REVOKED 12 FOREIGN EXCHANGE LICENCES IN FIGHT AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING
On 29 June, Exit News reported that the Bank of Albania revoked 12 foreign exchange office licences over the last year, predominantly for non-compliance with AML measures, according to its Annual Supervision Report. It inspected some 90 exchanges during 2021 and, of these, 12 had their licences suspended, and 26 were fined, meaning over a third were found non-compliant in some form. Albania is currently on the FATF grey list for money laundering, and consecutive US State Department reports have found little in the way of progress in combating the issue.
SWITZERLAND: GAMBLING PASTOR IMPRISONED FOR BEGGING FRAUD
On 27 June, Swissinfo reported that a pastor who fraudulently begged parishioners for money to fuel his gambling habit has been handed a 3-year suspended jail sentence and must serve 6 months behind bars. He conned $3.4 million out of his flock by asking for loans between 2009 and 2018 to pay off his gambling debts – but rather than being cured of his gambling habit, he used the money to fund fresh losing sprees at casinos.
CAYMAN ISLANDS: STERLING ASSET MANAGEMENT SEEKS JUDICIAL REVIEW OF $300,000 AML FINE
On 27 June, Cayman Compass reported the firm was seeking judicial review of the penalty imposed on it by the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority for its AML failings, arguing that the fine imposed did not come within the legal powers of CIMA.
PODCAST: KHADIJA ISMAYILOVA ON KEEPING WHISTLEBLOWERS SAFE
In the latest TRACE podcast, Khadija Ismayilova speaks at the TRACE Prize for Investigative Reporting in Vancouver, describing the risks to whistleblowers and what one can do to encourage and protect them.
SEMICONDUCTORS AND SECURITY
On 28 June, an article from CSIS says that in the US semiconductor funding a national security issue. It is said to be falling behind in both funding and encouraging development. It says that interdependence with China means there are transfers from the US should be allowed to continue. Sales of commodity chips or even some production in China pose no national security risk, and US export controls prevent the transfer of the advanced manufacturing equipment needed in China. It also discusses disagreements over providing subsidies to already wealthy companies in the US.
GIBRALTAR: COURT ORDERS SALE OF ARRESTED SUPERYACHT LINKED TO SANCTIONED RUSSIAN BUSINESSMAN
On 27 June, the Gibraltar Chronicle reported that the Supreme Court has ordered the sale of a superyacht linked to a Russian billionaire whose name appears on the UK’s Ukraine sanctions list. The Malta-flag vessel Axioma was arrested in Gibraltar in March over an admiralty claim filed by J.P. Morgan bank. Court documents state the bank had provided a €20.5 million loan in December and claims the owner effectively defaulted on the loan.
MATCH-FIXING GANG TARGETING SPANISH AND GIBRALTAR FOOTBALL LEAGUES MADE €500,000
On 29 June, the Gibraltar Chronicle reported that a “highly-structured” organised crime group involved in alleged match-fixing in the Royal Spanish Football Federation leagues and the Gibraltar National League is believed to have made more than €500,000 in profits, mostly on activities linked to Spain’s third division, Spain’s Policia Nacional said. Authorities have arrested 21 people and an additional 6 are under investigation.
UBS TO PAY $25 MILLION TO SETTLE SEC FRAUD CHARGES INVOLVING COMPLEX OPTIONS TRADING STRATEGY
On 29 June, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the SEC has announced that UBS Financial Services Inc has agreed to pay approximately $25 million to settle fraud charges relating to a complex investment strategy referred to as YES, or Yield Enhancement Strategy. UBS marketed and sold YES to approximately 600 investors through its platform of domestic financial advisors from February 2016 through February 2017.
RUSSIA: LEGISLATIVE AMENDMENTS AIMED AT IMPLEMENTING FATF RECOMMENDATIONS
On 28 June, a news release from the Office of the President announced that President Putin had signed a federal law on amendments to the federal law on countering the legalisation of criminal proceeds (money laundering) and the financing of terrorism and certain legislative Acts of the Russian Federation. It is said that the amendments provide for an adjusted procedure for freezing monetary funds or other property of persons listed by the UN Security Council or bodies specially created by decisions of the UN Security Council as organisations or individuals associated with terrorist organisations and terrorists or involved with the proliferation of WMD.
NIGERIA: INTERNATIONAL FRAUDSTER JAILED FOR 235 YEARS
On 29 June, media in Nigeria reported that a federal court had sentenced a “notorious international fraudster”, Scales Olatunji, to 235 years imprisonment for internet fraud and money laundering. He was sentenced to 5 to 7 years for each of 45 charges on the indictment, with sentences to run concurrently.
STUDY OF THE FACILITATION OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERROR FINANCE THROUGH THE TRADE IN WORKS OF ART
A reminder that in February the US Treasury published this study.
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