Panama Covid-19 update – 2 more new fatalities reported today, with 926 new cases – there being now 13.537 active cases – 31 in ICU and 233 in other wards.
3 JULY 2022
THE NIGERIAN GAS DEAL, THE IRISH IMPRESARIO AND THE £8 BILLION RULING AMID CLAIMS OF BRIBERY
On 3 July, The Observer carried an article about what has been described as one of the most extraordinary cases ever to come before the High Court in England, involving an Irish impresario, an alleged $50,000 bribe stuffed into a bag and potentially one of the biggest pay-outs in legal history. It involves an award by arbitration courts in London to a small offshore company set up by 2 Irish businessmen now worth £8.3 billion, over claims that Nigeria effectively reneged on a deal to provide plentiful supplies of electricity for the country. The case has become a cause célèbre in Nigeria where officials now allege the gas deal was corruptly procured and the subsequent arbitration proceedings were “tainted” by claims of collusion. A High Court judgment in September 2020 found there was strong evidence the contract was procured by bribery to officials and there was a prima facie case that arbitration proceedings were tainted, something the company denies.
NEW YORK SHUTS DOWN OLIVET UNIVERSITY AMID FEDERAL MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE
On 2 July, Newsweek reported that New York had shut down Olivet University’s operations in the state, saying the Evangelical Christian college was still largely run by a group of David Jang disciples linked to a 2018 criminal conspiracy. Federal investigators probing whether the university was part of a scheme to launder money for criminals in China and the US.
AUSTRALIA: CHILD-LIKE SEX DOLLS
On 27 June, a news release from AUSTRAC said that legislative changes introduced in 2019 made it a crime to possess a child-like sex doll, arming investigative agencies with the powers to charge and prosecute offenders. Child-like sex dolls are anatomically correct, life-size dolls made to look like pubescent and prepubescent children. Manufacturers offer the opportunity to tailor skin, hair and eye colour, as well as other characteristics. In January 2020, a man was arrested and charged with possession of a child-like sex doll, as well as accessing and possessing child pornography and child abuse material. He was convicted in October 2021, in the first such conviction for possessing a child-like sex doll.
SWISS GOLD REFINERS PLEDGE TO AVOID BRAZILIAN AMAZON GOLD
On 30 June, Swissinfo reported that refiners also said they would take the “necessary technical and humanly possible measures in order not to take, import or refine illegal gold including the one from Brazil by tracing and identifying this gold”; and urged the Brazilian government of Jair Bolsonaro to do more to protect the indigenous population and the environment. Brazilian export data suggested a steady outflow of gold from the Amazon region to Switzerland.
AN INTERNATIONAL POLICE OPERATION TARGETING THE MOVEMENT OF ILLICIT FIREARMS IN CENTRAL AND WEST AFRICA HAS LED TO SOME 120 ARRESTS AND THE SEIZURE OF FIREARMS, GOLD, DRUGS, FAKE MEDICATION, WILDLIFE PRODUCTS AND CASH
A news release from INTERPOL on 30 June advised that Operation Trigger VIII on 13-19 June involved some 520 law enforcement officials targeting 35 hotspots across 8 African countries: Burkina Faso, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Reinforced border controls and surveillance once again demonstrated that organised crime groups are benefiting from a convergence of crimes and using the same routes for a number of illicit activities.
SWITZERLAND IMPLEMENTS SIXTH EU SANCTIONS PACKAGE
On 1 July, a post from Baker McKenzie advised that, on 29 June, the Swiss Federal Council imposed further sanctions against Russia, and with this latest revision it has adopted the EU’s latest package of sanctions. The new measures entered into force on 29 June.
IS STANDARDISATION THE SECRET WEAPON AGAINST TRADE FINANCE FRAUD?
On 23 June, Fintech Futures published an article saying that one needs to understand what has changed and examine the different aspects of trade fraud; and then goes on to examine one type of trade financing fraud known as duplicate trade financing. It then looks at some of the many challenges that arise for financial institutions in developing a strategy to detect and prevent trade financing fraud. It goes on to call for greater cooperation and collaboration, and sharing of data, allowing for better use of data modelling and AI.
REPORT: INDIAN GANGS ARE ‘FAKE-KILLING’ PEOPLE TO CLAIM LIFE INSURANCE PAY-OUTS
On 3 July, Yahoo News reported that, according to a report from Bloomberg, husbands and wives have told insurers their living spouses were dead, and siblings made up imaginary siblings. According to the report, scammers were rarely related to the supposedly dead person.
MISSOURI LEGISLATOR RESIGNS AFTER FRAUD CONVICTION
On 3 July, the Mail Online reported that a Missouri legislator, Republican state Rep. Tricia Derges, has resigned her seat after being convicted of falsely claiming she was giving patients stem cell treatments for COVID-19. She was convicted in June on 22 counts including wire fraud, illegal distribution of controlled substances and making false statements to investigators.
INDIA: FORMER MUMBAI POLICE COMMISSIONER SUMMONED BY THE ENFORCEMENT DIRECTORATE IN A MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 3 July, media in India reported that former Mumbai police commissioner Sanjay Pandey, who retired from the police force on 30 June, has been summoned by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning. Sources claim that Pandey has been summoned in connection with the National Stock Exchange (NSE) co-location case, which involved alleged improper dissemination of information from the computer servers of the market exchanges to the stockbrokers.
‘MIRACLES’ NEEDED TO STOP A DEFICIENT SOUTH AFRICA FROM BEING GREY-LISTED BY FATF
On 3 July, an article in the Daily Maverick said that the above was in comments from the country’s Treasury. It is noted that the process of aligning South Africa with international standards had started as early as 2015, but that the ANC Cabinet, the justice cluster’s ministers and parliamentary committees of the Zuma era were the stumbling blocks in bringing South Africa’s legislation and enforcement implementation up to scratch. In its last evaluation in 2019 South Africa received a very poor ratings assessment, and had significant shortcomings implementing an effective AML/CFT system, including a failure to pursue serious cases. It is said that South Africa is moving towards the end of a on1e-year observation period, and if sufficient progress is not made by its end in October, an action plan will be drafted and South Africa may be grey-listed – and that could happen as early as February 2023.
In a second article in the Daily Maverick –
ZUMA, CABINET AND ABRAHAMS WEAKENED SYSTEMS TO STOP MONEY LAUNDERING — NOW SOUTH AFRICA IS PAYING THE PRICE
This says that the Zuma-era ANC Cabinet, Shaun Abrahams and Parliament itself were, for years, the actual stumbling blocks in aligning South Africa’s legislation with international standards — mostly at the behest of the Guptas. The article sets out to explore past lessons that it dare not ignore.
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