Teachers return to classes at state schools on 2 August, part of a deal which sees 6% of GDP committed for education, and the school year will be extended until 30 December, with be no recess in the remainder of the school year.
Also, from now until October, humpback whales are said to be present in the Pacific waters off Panama – but I have yet to see one. I think I will have to book a whale watching trip.
31 JULY 2022
UK: LICENCE FOR IMAGE SENSOR TECHNOLOGY BLOCKED IN FIRST USE OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT ACT POWERS
On 28 July, Kharon reported that the UK Government had halted a technology agreement between a UK university and a Chinese company, blocking a licence agreement between the University of Manchester and Beijing Infinite Vision Technology Company Ltd. The National Security and Investment Act (NSIA) came into force on 4 January, and under the Act, the Government can scrutinise and intervene in certain acquisitions that could harm UK national security.
PANAMA: PYRAMID SCHEME CONMAN GETS 10 YEARS JAIL TIME
On 30 July, Newsroom Panama reported that a Colombian, David Eduardo Helmut Murcia Guzmán, who defrauded thousands of people in Panama and Colombia through pyramid schemes has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. His DMG company, and related companies, during 2006-2008, is said to have obtained $15,589,452.73 from 3,268 cardholders and 7,269 contracts, and was said to be linked to groups involved to drug trafficking in Colombia.
US: MAN FINED $350,000 FOR SMUGGLING COSMETICS TO IRAN
On 30 July, the Ridgefield Times reported on a local man who had pleaded guilty to participating in a years-long scheme to smuggle cosmetics to Iran and had been ordered to pay more than $350,000 in fines and perform 300 hours of community service. Michael Rose was the president of a Long Island-based cosmetics manufacturer and supplier. He was arrested in April 2021. He was said to have partnered with an Iranian import company to exclusively distribute its products in the country between 2015 and 2018.
HONG KONG: 100 TONNES OF FROZEN MEAT SMUGGLED INTO MAINLAND CHINA EACH NIGHT
On 30 July, the South China Morning Post reported on the continuing struggle against smugglers, saying that customs officers seized 224 tonnes of frozen meat in first half of this year – almost two-thirds more than in the same period last year.
AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE SWOOP ON ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERER
On 31 July, The News Daily and others reported that 8 properties and 4 luxury vehicles have been seized by police in Canberra as part of a $10 million haul following an investigation of alleged money laundering. They seized more than $1.5 million in cash as well as documents and electronic devices. Police allege the man laundered cash and cryptocurrency from the sale of stolen identities and illegal goods, as well as money from various scams and illegal online gambling.
GIABA ACCUSES NIGERIAN CASINOS OF MONEY LAUNDERING
On 31 July, Punch in Nigeria reported that the FATF-style regional body has said 300 casinos operating in Nigeria may be involved in money laundering. GIABA noted that noted that money laundering risks to the casinos which are operating mainly in Lagos and Abuja were high; and that they were mostly owned by foreigners from South Africa, China, Lebanon, the US, Germany, and the UK. The allegations are found in a new GIABA report which focuses on the casino and gaming sectors in six GIABA member states of Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, and Benin. In March, ECOWAS reported that there are 300 licensed casinos in operation in Nigeria. Money Laundering risks to the casino sector are said to be considered relatively high in Lagos and Abuja, and there are approximately 150 licensed casinos in Lagos alone (50% of all licensed casinos in the country).
US: BOSTON CHINATOWN RESTAURANT ACCUSED OF MULTIMILLION DOLLAR MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATION
On 30 July, the Boston Herald reported that at least one restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown had a secret menu, according to a recent federal indictment — a multi-state money laundering operation. A federal grand jury in Boston has indicted 8 alleged members of the conspiracy that allegedly funnelled tens of millions of dollars in drug money and more in a gift card fraud scheme.
WHY IS CHINESE INVESTMENT DRYING UP IN RUSSIA AND PAKISTAN?
On 31 July, Rferl reported that a new report by a Shanghai university found that new investment in Russia through China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) fell to zero in the first half of 2022, while Chinese outlays in Pakistan dropped by 56% during the same period. It says that the report highlights the changing nature of the BRI. It provided an interview with Christoph Nedopil Wang, the director of the Green Finance and Development Center at Fudan University who helped write the report.
CHANNEL ISLANDS: NO JAIL FOR BILLIONAIRE ISLAND OWNER OVER UNPAID DIVORCE MILLIONS
On 31 July, the Jersey Evening Post reported that Sir Frederick Barclay, who co-owned the island of Brecqhou with his late brother Sir David, has avoided jail after the High Court in London ruled that he was not in contempt of court as a result of failing to pay tens of millions of pounds he owes in a divorce settlement, and ailing to pay the £100 million settlement. The judge said he would consider what penalties might be imposed on Sir Frederick, as a result of orders being breached, at a further hearing.
CENTRAL BANK OF KENYA DIRECTS BANKS AND MICROFINANCE INSTITUTIONS TO SEIZE DEALING WITH PAYMENTS TECHNOLOGY FIRMS FLUTTERWAVE AND CHIPPER CASH
On 29 July, Business Daily reported that the CBK has directed banks to end links with the fast-growing payments unicorns which could mean closing all accounts and freezing the cash, as they are not permitted to provide remittance and payment services in the country. Flutterwave is currently at the centre of a complex money laundering probe by the Assets Recovery Authority (ARA). The 2 operators have rapidly expanded across Africa in recent years but regulators have accused them of increasing fraud and moving of illicit cash with lax requirements.
HOW GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS ARE REACTING TO TODAY’S GEOPOLITICS
An article from CSIS on 25 July says that global supply chains, particularly in technologies of strategic value, are undergoing a remarkable re-evaluation as geopolitical events and trends weigh on the minds of decisionmakers across government and industry. It argues that efficiency is now being recast in terms of reliable and resilient supply chains that are better adapted to emerging geopolitical uncertainties rather than purely on the basis of lowest cost; and that business strategies prioritizing efficiency and cost for the globalisation of production now appear much more fragile.
On 28 July, Doha News reported that the use of cash in transactions exceeding QAR 50,000 is prohibited in selected trading outlets, according to a new ruling from the Qatar Central Bank. This is said to be part of efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, which prohibits illegal transactions arising from money laundering, funding of terror, and any other illicit activities. Those involved in a transaction worth QAR 50,000 or more must make payments via cheque, credit card, debit card, or bank transfer.
On 30 July, Yahoo News reported that France has charged 5 more children of former Gabonese president Omar Bongo in a long-running inquiry into the financing of the late president’s real estate empire, said to be worth €85 million. They have already charged 4 other adult children, as well as a former Miss France, for allegedly accepting Parisian apartments from the late President. Omar Bongo, a close French ally, ruled the oil-rich state from 1967 until his death in 2009, when he was succeeded by his son Ali Bongo Ondimba. He had 54 children.
This report from the FATF-style regional body for West Africa, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering (GIABA), considers AML/CFT vulnerabilities in the casinos sector in West Africa. In particular, the report focuses on the casino and gaming sectors in 6 GIABA Member states (Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, and Benin). GIABA says that it hopes to build on the red flags, good practices, and suggested actions identified in these reports at international level, offering a roadmap for future actions by regulators, supervisors, and operational authorities in West Africa to reinforce their AML systems. Key deficiencies were identified in regards to legislative gaps (in particular, regarding the licensing and regulation of online casinos operating across the region); lack of domestic cooperation to license, monitor and supervise casino activity for AML purposes; and a lack of STR reporting and information sharing between casino and gaming establishments in the region and the FIU of the countries surveyed. New trends were identified including in regards to increasing foreign acquisition of casinos, as well as foreign ownership and management of casinos across the region. New risk indicators were identified and good practices were identified. The report identifies 7 concrete recommendations for immediate implementation.
Only a day after announcing himself as a candidate in the 2024 Presidential campaign, and a day before nominations close, former President Martinelli withdrew his application as an independent, saying instead that he take part in the primaries of his political party instead, thus continuing his bid to become President again – despite his history, the jailing of his sons on money laundering charges and the Odebrecht bribery case starting in September.
Meanwhile, though protests continue there were counter-protests demanding that teachers in the state schools end their 4-week strike.
While mention of Covid in the media in panama has reduced, it was reported today that 73 cases of malaria have been recorded in Panama City, and the health authorities recommend that the population avoid mosquito bites by using protective meshes on windows, mosquito nets on beds, mosquito repellent, pants and long-sleeved shirts – though in the city during the week, it is usually only the American tourists that are wearing shorts (we place “Spot the Gringo” sometimes, and the shorts are a good tell).
30 JULY 2022
RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY BLACKLISTS 32 NEW ZEALAND OFFICIALS IN RECIPROCAL SANCTIONS
On 30 July, Devdiscourse reported on sanctions against 32 New Zealand officials and journalists, said to be in response to New Zealand government sanctions that apply to an increasing number of Russian citizens.
2 BRITISH DRUG SMUGGLERS ATTEMPTED TO IMPORT £570 MILLION OF DRUGS INTO AUSTRALIA BY YACHT BUT DEFEATED BY AN ELEPHANT SEAL
On 30 July, The Sun carried the story of 2 men, part of a gang of 5, jailed in Australia who attempted to smuggle drugs into Australia only to go aground on a reef, and picked up by police after fishermen spotted the yacht and the boat the drugs were meant to be transferred to and alerted the authorities. The 2 Britons attempted to escape but they came across a massive elephant seal blocking their way.
TURKISH COAST GUARD FIRES ON AND RAMS US-FLAG YACHT DURING PURSUIT
On 29 July, Maritime Executive reported that a Turkish Coast Guard patrol vessel rammed and shot at a US-flagged yacht which was allegedly attempting to escape Turkish waters with a consignment of drugs. This came after the coast guard crew found that a suspect cargo vessel had rendezvoused with the 27-meter luxury yacht. In total, from the merchant vessel, the yacht and the waters near the scene, Turkish law enforcement claimed to have recovered a total of 81 kg of cocaine.
CAYMAN ISLANDS REMAINS UNDER MONITORING WITH REGARDS TO AML/CFT EFFECTIVENESS REVIEW
An article from Conyers on 29 July reported that, in June 2021, following a FATF plenary, FATF issued a public statement confirming only 2 action plan items remained for the Cayman Islands – one involving adequate and up-to-date beneficial ownership information; and the other demonstrating prosecution of all types of money laundering in line with the jurisdiction’s risk profile. In May, the EU confirmed that no additional measures beyond those included in the FATF action plan were required to remove the Cayman Islands from the its AML/CFT list. It is said that the Cayman Islands is hopeful that the next FATF plenary scheduled for October will say that it is no longer be the subject of the monitoring.
SURVEY: MOST AUSTRALIAN LAWYERS AND ACCOUNTANTS ARE CONCERNED ABOUT MONEY LAUNDERING
On 30 July, the Palmbay Herald reported on a survey undertaken by software provider First AMLrevealed that 90% of lawyers and accountants are concerned about money laundering. It said that 89% of respondents said AML has moved up the company agenda in the past year. The research also found that 67% of Australian lawyers and accountants have identified one or more instances of suspected money laundering in the past 3 years, with 49% identifying more than one.
On 26 July, a blog post from Scottish law firm Morton Fraser asked this question. It says that while it is tempting to imagine that once a director resigns, they are completely “off the hook” and can then put all issues relating to that company behind them, that is not the case. It cautions that directors always have to recognise that the role of director carries with it a special category of duties and statutory responsibilities that can transcend a resignation. The post looks at the issues of directors’ duties that extend to the period after a resignation; wrongful trading liability; and the Companies Directors Disqualification Act 1986.
On 25 July, an article from Forwarder Law said that a recent case before the Court of Appeal has considered what security should be seen as acceptable either to avoid the arrest of a vessel or obtain her release. It also said that the London Admiralty Solicitors Group have drafted a portfolio of standard wordings which are designed to deal with issues regarding the provision of security and jurisdiction.
ARMS TRAFFICKING FROM LIBYA TO NIGER IS BACK IN BUSINESS
On 28 July, Defence Web reported that the high demand for arms and ammunition has given traffickers an opportunity to continue their lucrative trade. Stocks gathered in south-western Libya are sold to civilians (for self-defence) and armed groups in Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso and Nigeria. The weapons are transported in 4×4 vehicles, suitable for the desert’s sandy tracks. After detailing how the smuggling routes work, it warns that a solution to Libya’s current crisis could increase arms trafficking, as local demand decreases.
MALAWI CLAIMS OVER $300 BILLION IN MINING TAXES FROM US COMPANY
On 30 July, The New Arab reported that Malawi’s Attorney General has accused Columbia Gem House of evading duty on sales of rubies and sapphires mined at its Chimwadzulo Mine in Ntcheu, Malawi since 2008 and exported to the US. He accused both Nyala Mines Ltd and Columbia Gem House of dishonestly exporting ruby and sapphire from Malawi, and profiting by not paying taxes and royalties due.
MAN ON TRIAL IN GERMANY FOR CHEMICAL WEAPONS-RELATED TRANSFER
In the latest edition of Trust & Verify from VERTIC on 21 July, an article concerns the managing director of a trading company in Saxony who has been charged with attempting to encourage the manufacture of chemical weapons. The main hearing of the trial opened on 24 May, and the case is expected to continue throughout June and July.
ENGLISH SHIPPING COURT JUDGMENT RECOGNISED IN MAINLAND CHINA FOR THE FIRST TIME
On 28 July, DLA Piper reported that, on 17 March, the Shanghai Maritime Court handed down a landmark decision, recognising an English court judgment in what is thought to be the first instance in which a commercial judgment from an English court has been recognised and enforced in mainland China. The article discusses what this case means for the recognition and enforcement, in future, of English (as well as other foreign) court judgments in China.
BREXIT: ENFORCEMENT OF JUDGMENTS AND THE HAGUE CONVENTION
On 18 July, an article from Irish law firm McCann Fitzgerald said that, after the UK membership of the Lugano Convention was rejected by the EU, the question of post-Brexit rules governing the jurisdiction of courts and the enforcement of judgments in civil and commercial matters remained. In July 2021, there was a proposal from the Commission that the EU should join the 2019 Hague Judgments Convention. The Commission had previously indicated its view that the 2019 Hague Convention along with 2005 Hague Convention on Choice of Court Agreements should provide the framework for future cooperation between the EU and the UK in the field of civil judicial cooperation. It is said that if the UK were to sign up to the 2019 Hague Convention, it too could apply to future judicial cooperation with the EU. It is still unclear whether the UK will take this step. However, while the Hague Conventions do provide a way forward, the article warns that they do not fill the entire vacuum left post-Brexit.
NONPROLIFERATION COMPLIANCE CHEMINFORMATICS TOOL (NCCT) MOVES TO FIELD TESTING
On 14 July, the Stimson Center reported that the prototype consists of a database of chemical structures, the NCCT database, implemented and run through a commercial, desktop-based cheminformatics software, and that the Stimson Center and American University conducted the first virtual workshop on the database in February 2021. It explains that the NCCT is intended as a practical tool to aid frontline officers – border security, customs, law enforcement, defence, chemical industry – to quickly check available chemical identifying information (name, registry number, molecular structure) against national or international control lists of chemical warfare agents or precursors. Such frontline officers typically have just seconds to determine whether a given substance is a concern or not – a task that can be complex and time-consuming even for chemists.
On 27 July, an article from the Stimson Center proposes a regional response to encourage law enforcement cooperation to address the cross-border challenges posed by nuclear materials out of regulatory control.
TALIBAN EXPLOITATION OF COMMERCIAL SUPPLY CHAINS FOR THERMAL IMAGING SIGHTS
On 20 July, Conflict Armament Research published the third in its series on illicit weapons in Afghanistan. It says that the Taliban’s ability to access and deploy night vision equipment was a significant force multiplier in the years prior to the group’s takeover of Afghanistan in August 2021. The report details 2 commercial supply lines through which the Taliban sought to procure thermal imaging weapon sights utilising sights commercially available in the US and UAE. It is said that CAR has documented other weapon sights and optical devices in Afghanistan and is actively investigating the provenance of these items.
On 29 July, the WTO announced the 2022 edition of “World Tariff Profiles”, which provides comprehensive information on the tariffs and non-tariff measures imposed by over 170 countries and customs territories. The report was jointly prepared with the International Trade Centre and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).
JERSEY: NEW FAILURE TO PREVENT MONEY LAUNDERING OFFENCE
On 26 July, Ogier published an article saying that, following in the footsteps of the failing to prevent tax evasion offence, with effect from 24 June, Jersey has introduced a new offence under Article 35A of the Proceeds of Crime (Jersey) Law 1999 of failing to prevent money laundering. It says that this is a significant development in the regulation of Jersey’s financial services industry: if a business is connected to certain persons who are engaged in money laundering, the business is itself at risk of committing a criminal offence unless it can demonstrate that its AML policies and procedures (both on paper and in practice) were nonetheless fit for purpose.
ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME DATA ADDED TO MONEY LAUNDERING RISK INDICATORS IN BASEL AML INDEX
On 27 July, the Basel Institute on Governance advised that the Basel Institute’s global money laundering index and risk assessment tool is adding environmental crime data to its set of indicators of money laundering and terrorist financing risk. It says that crimes involving wildlife, minerals, fish, forests and waste not only threaten the health of the planet and sustainable livelihoods, but the integrity of financial systems; and that such crimes are a highly profitable criminal enterprise. From the next edition, the Basel AML Index will include data on crimes involving flora, fauna and non-renewable resources.
On 29 July, OCCRP reported that Latvian prosecutors have charged a shareholder and top managers of the country’s erstwhile third largest bank, ABLV, with laundering €2.1 billion through a network of shell companies. Also to go on trial is the manager of the shell company provider investigated by OCCRP.
On 29 July, an article from Rferl reported claims that companies linked to Serbian nationals who have been blacklisted by the US for alleged organised crime ties and activities continued to win the equivalent of millions of dollars in state contracts by the Serbian government. It says that companies registered to Radule Stevic, Zvonko Veselinovic, and Milan Radoicic won construction contracts in Serb-dominated northern Kosovo as well as inside Serbia.
The protests continue, and the teachers strike seems to be expanding – though only in the public (state) schools, we passed a private one yesterday and it seemed to be in full flow.
Meanwhile, though the news seems to mention more cases of dengue and hantavirus, a reminder today that Covid-19 is still around, with one of the corregimientos registering an increase in actie cases being the one in which we live.
29 JULY 2022
NEW BOOK BY ONE OF FRANCE’S LEADING SECURITY EXPERTS: AN A-Z THAT ANALYSES THE FUNDING MECHANISMS USED BY TERRORISTS
Senator Nathalie Goulet has spent the past decade working on the terror threat in France, gaining insight into the extent of terrorist infiltration of lucrative markets, such as art, arms, drugs, counterfeiting, crowdfunding, and cryptocurrency. The book is in French (naturellement!)
On 26 July, Companies House published its Corporate Plan which sets out the work it plans to do to progress towards its strategic goals – including the new Register of Entities. It also looks forward to a further Economic Crime Bill, which will enhance the agency’s powers to query information, increase checks to verify identities, and introduce measures to improve the exchange of intelligence between Companies House and UK law enforcement bodies
CREDIT SUISSE UNIT AGREES TO PAY BONDHOLDERS $22.6 MILLION IN BRIBERY CASE
On 22 July, media carried a Reuters report saying that the bank’s European subsidiary, Credit Suisse Securities Europe, had pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud investors in Mozambican bonds has agreed it owes them $22.6 million in restitution.
INDONESIAN AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATING ALLEGATIONS AGAINST NGO AKSI CEPAT TANGGAP (ACT)
On 15 July, the Jakarta Post reported that the Financial Transaction Reports and Analysis Center (PPATK) was investigating suspicious transactions involving the philanthropic body. The allegations include taking more than permitted for pay of its executives and the potential of links between payments made and terrorism – after an Indonesian who received funds was arrested in Turkey on suspicion of being linked to Al-Qaida.
UK AUDIT REGULATOR HANDS DOWN RECORD FINES FOR AUDIT FAILURES
On 28 July, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Financial Reporting Council said financial sanctions during the year ended 31 March totalled £46.5 million before settlement discounts, up from £16.7 million the year before. It also said it resolved more cases than in previous years.
CHINA: MINISTER IN CHARGE OF TECH REGULATION UNDER INVESTIGATION
On 28 July, the Wall Street Journal reported that China’s anti-corruption investigators have opened a probe into Xiao Yaqing, a government minister who plays a leading role in managing the country’s strategic semiconductor and digital technology sectors — and one of the highest-ranking officials to be targeted in Xi Jinping’s crackdown on graft in recent years.
THE MYSTERIOUS STORY OF A VENEZUELAN CARGO AIRCRAFT DETAINED AT BUENOS AIRES’S MAIN AIRPORT AND POSSIBLE LINKS WITH IRAN’S ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS
On 29 July, the Wilson Center carried a post about, in June, a Boeing 747 cargo Jumbo Jet belonging to EMTRASUR, a subsidiary of Venezuelan state-owned airline CONVIASA, having landed in Buenos Aires, apparently bringing auto parts from Mexico. It needed to refuel, as it no longer was able to make it to its planned refuelling stop in Bolivia. Denied fuel in Argentina over concerns about US sanctions against Venezuela, the plane departed 2 days later for Uruguay or Paraguay, but it was not permitted to land in either country and instead, it returned to Buenos Aires, where it remained. Airport Security Police searched the aircraft. It emerged that it had been purchased by the Venezuelan state-owned airline from an Iranian state-owned airline. Aboard were not only 12 Venezuelans, but also 7 Iranians. Argentine authorities detained the plane and seized the crew’s passports while judicial authorities investigated. They identified one member of the crew as an Iranian linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It is said that authorities were hard pressed to explain the presence of the Iranians, and why the airplane had been allowed to land in Argentina while Uruguay and Paraguay were unwilling to let it enter their territory.
GAFILAT: PARAGUAY MUTUAL EVALUATION APPROVED AND NOT PLACED ON GREY LIST
On 29 July, various media in Paraguay reported that the FATF-style regional body had approved the report, which followed an on-site visit last year, but that monitoring of Paraguay would continue. The report is said to be due to be published within a month. The decision was announced in Ecuador, where the XLV Plenary and meeting of Working Groups of GAFILAT was held.
EU ADDS 2 NEW SUBSTANCES TO ITS PSYCHOACTIVE DRUGS LIST
EU Commission Delegated Directive 2022/1326/EU has added 2-(methylamino)-1-(3-methylphenyl)propan-1-one (3-MMC) and 1-(3-chlorophenyl)-2-(methylamino)propan-1-one (3-CMC) to the Annex to Framework Decision 2004/757/JHA.
INSIDE THE INVESTIGATION INTO PARAGUAY’S HORACIO CARTES
On 28 July, an article from Insight Crime says that former Paraguay president, Horacio Cartes, is facing the worse moment of his political career: accused of money laundering at home, he also has US authorities on his tail.
VENEZUELAN SPY AND ALLEGED DRUG TRAFFICKER LINKED TO LUXURY FLATS IN BARCELONA
An article from OCCRP on 28 July says that Pedro Luis Martin Olivares is a former Venezuelan intelligence chief wanted in the US for drug trafficking; and that his family has managed to acquire millions of dollars’ worth of property in Spain.
UN SECURITY COUNCIL SANCTIONS COMMITTEE GROUP OF EXPERTS’ FINAL REPORT ON DRC
On 28 July, the UN reported that the Security Council Committee established pursuant to UN SCR 1533 (2004) concerning the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) had discussed the Group of Experts’ final report. The report dated 14 June is available online. Among the comments made in the report is that some military materiel was transferred to the Congolese defence and security forces without prior notification to the Sanctions Committee, and banking documents referring to “the acquisition of agricultural goods” rather than to military equipment or training revealed several unnotified transfers and a system aimed at concealing those transfers because of a reported misinterpretation of the sanctions regime concerning the DRC.
CANADA: ROYAL BANK OF CANADA ORDERED TO REVEAL WHO’S BEHIND 97 OFFSHORE ACCOUNTS
On 27 July, CBC reported that the Royal Bank of Canada has been ordered to divulge the real owners of 97 offshore corporations that used its services, but says that a critic is wondering why it’s taken the Canada Revenue Agency 6 years to acquire a fount of information that could help detect tax cheats.
REMITTANCE AND AML INNOVATION: FOUR TOP CHALLENGES FOR 2022
A post from the UK Finance blog advises compliance professionals to break innovation obstacles into parts. It says that discussions with compliance teams in remittance and cross-border payment firms revealed 4 categories of challenges – managing AML/CFT risk with legacy technology; navigating the evolving regulatory landscape; managing partnerships and regulation; and accommodating crypto and CBDC.
ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE SUPPORTING CROSS-BORDER COOPERATION IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE
On 22 July, a report from Eurojust and the accompanying factsheet builds on the work of the European Commission, Eurojust and eu-LISA in preparing for digital judicial cooperation. It offers a high-level overview of the related legal and policy issues. Additionally, the report explores Al use-cases to highlight how it benefits international judicial cooperation.
US DHS ANNOUNCES PARTNERSHIP TO COMBAT IMPORTATION OF GOODS PRODUCED WITH FORCED LABOUR
On 29 July, KPMG reported that the Department of Homeland Security had issued a news release advising of a strategic partnership between its Center for Countering Human Trafficking (CCHT) and an international NGO – Liberty Shared – to enhance its ability to investigate forced labour in the supply chain. DHS says that such partnerships with NGO and civil society organisations are essential for the Department, including Customs and Border Protection and CCHT, to identify corporations using forced labour in their supply chains, advance counter-human trafficking law enforcement operations, protect victims, and enhance prevention efforts.
US: 6 INDIVIDUALS ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED ROLE IN LARGE-SCALE CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT RING WITH SUSPECTED TIES TO MURDER OF A SHERIFF’S DEPUTY
On 28 July, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported the arrest arrested of 6 individuals in Texas for their alleged roles in a large-scale catalytic converter theft ring that is suspected of fencing stolen catalytic converters for the 3 individuals charged with the murder of a sheriff’s deputy.
DUBLIN SOLICITOR ACCUSED OF DECEPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING ALLEGED INSURANCE FRAUD CASE
On 29 July, Sunday World reported that an Irish solicitor, Thomas Quigley, 74, has been sent for trial accused of deception and money laundering in an alleged insurance fraud case. The charges relate to a woman’s personal injury compensation claims totalling nearly €30,000.
FORMER RANGERS FC OWNER CRAIG WHYTE TO SUE OVER WRONGFUL ARREST FOR FRAUD
On 29 July, the BBC reported that the former owner of Rangers, Craig Whyte, is to sue the Crown Office and Police Scotland for £10 million for wrongful arrest, charged with taking over the Glasgow football club by fraud. He was acquitted by a jury 2 years later.
ENGLISH HIGH COURT DECISION HIGHLIGHTS THE IMPORTANCE OF DISCLOSING DETAILS OF ASSETS WHEN SEEKING TO RESIST ORDERS FOR SECURITY FOR COSTS AGAINST A NON-RESIDENT CLAIMANT
On 29 July, an article from Conyers said that, on the facts of the case, the Judge had no doubt that it was just to make an order for security on the grounds that there is a real risk that the Defendants would face substantial obstacles to enforcing a costs order against the Claimant – the Claimant having had been found (in the earlier determination of a claim against him, upheld on appeal) to have acted fraudulently and dishonestly.
On 29 July, an article from NAVEX said that 30 July is the National Whistleblower Appreciation Day in the US. The article claims that the history of whistleblowing in America extends back to the late 1700s, with the first protections being enacted shortly after the United States of America was founded in 1776. It pointed out that, in more recent US history, 2 laws have been passed in the past few decades that provide more explicit and timely protection for whistleblowers. However, the protections discussed in the first part of the article referred only to federal employees. Then, in the aftermath of the Enron and WorldCom scandals, Congress passed the well-known Sarbanes-Oxley Act. This Act extended protections to whistleblowers outside of the government to publicly traded companies. In 2014, a Supreme Court decision changed the interpretation of the Act to include private contractors and subcontractors of public companies, as well as privately-owned companies, if they provide services to publicly traded organisations.
On 29 July, an article in Insight Crime reported that the case of a Honduran money launderer soon to be sentenced in the US has shed light on the importance of brokers and US bank accounts for repatriating drug money. Kensy García Torres, a financial broker for a Honduran cartel, recently pled guilty to laundering over $1.8 million in drug money between 2018 and 2019.
US DoJ CHARGES RUSSIAN AGENT WITH CONDUCTING FOREIGN INFLUENCE OPERATIONS
On 29 July, Lawfare reported that a federal court in Florida unsealed an indictment against a Russian national, Aleksandr Ionov (also designated by OFAC on 29 July), who allegedly worked for the Russian government to “orchestrate a years-long foreign malign influence campaign that used various US political groups to sow discord, spread pro-Russian propaganda, and interfere in elections within the United States”. The DoJ alleges that from at least December 2014 until March 2022, he was the president of the Russian-funded Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia, worked under the supervision of the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) to recruit and direct political entities in the US.
On 29 July, OFAC advised that a number of individuals and entities had been added to its Russia sanctions lists, including Aleksandr Viktorovich Ionov, described as a “co-optee”, a person used to support Kremlin-directed influence operations against the US and its allies and partners. He is linked to Anti-Globalization Movement of Russia (AGMR), whose English-language website claims to be a socio-political movement “against certain aspects of the globalization process” and Ionov Transkontinental which has a footprint in Iran, Venezuela, and Lebanon. Also designated is STOP-Imperialism, an English and Russian-language website that styles itself as a “global information agency”, and which is listed on the AGMR website. OFAC also said that Russia also uses state-sponsored and state-controlled proxy organisations, commonly referred to as “government organised non-governmental organisations” (GONGO) to achieve its goals both inside and outside Russia; and has designated Natalya Valeryevna Burlinova, the founder and president of the Center for Support and Development of Public Initiative Creative Diplomacy (PICREADI, also known as “Creative Diplomacy”), in this regard.
On 29 July, CNN reported on an incident in February that was one of at least 16 known Russian gold smuggling flights out of Sudan, Africa’s third-largest producer of the precious metal, over the last year and a half. Multiple interviews with high-level Sudanese and US officials and troves of documents reviewed by CNN paint a picture of an elaborate Russian scheme to plunder Sudan’s riches in a bid to fortify Russia against increasingly robust Western sanctions and to buttress the war effort in Ukraine – and how Russia has colluded with Sudan’s beleaguered military leadership.