On 4 July, HM Treasury issued a Notice advising that 6 individuals and 1 entity had been added to sanctions lists. The same Notice also advised that 1 existing entry had been amended and 45 others corrected.
On 4 July, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission published a report which explains key trends in scam activity and highlights the impact of scams on the community. It highlights the cooperative work of the ACCC, other government and law enforcement agencies, and private sector to disrupt scams and educate consumers. An infographic highlights some key statistics and trends from the report. Among the highlights are that the largest combined losses in 2021 were $701 million lost to investment scams; $227 million lost to payment redirection scams; $142 million lost to romance scams. The most frequently complained about scams in 2021 were: phishing & identity theft scams with over 93,000 complaints; threats to life, arrest or other with over 32,000 complaints; false billing with over 21,000 complaints; and online shopping scams with over 20,000 complaints. As only about 13% of victims reported to the Scamwatch service, it is clear that these numbers vastly understate the extent of these scams.
On 28 June, a report from the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says that the war in the Ukraine is stifling trade and logistics of Ukraine and the Black Sea region. The search for alternate trade routes for Ukrainian goods has rapidly increased the demands on land and maritime transport infrastructure and services. Grain prices and shipping costs have been on the rise since 2020, but the war in Ukraine has exacerbated this trend and reversed a temporary decline in shipping prices. It says that increased costs imply higher prices for consumers and threaten to widen the poverty gap.
On 26 June, Asia Financial said that the UN Office on Drugs & Crime had reported that about 240 casinos have been built in 120 Special Economic Zones (SEZ) in the Mekong subregion and some of these enclaves have become hubs of serious criminal activity. It is said that gangs running the SEZ were involved in trafficking large quantities of illicit drugs, laundering billions through unregulated casinos, while running online gambling for people in neighbouring countries via easy-to-access fintech apps and call centres involved in crypto scams, often undertaken by people lured into these areas and held against their will, an UN official said.
This report from the UN Security Council Counter Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate dated June 2022 provides a brief summary of several actual and potential uses of revenues generated from the exploitation, trade, and trafficking of natural resources for the purposes of terrorism financing. It says that the Committee has noted a disconnect between the level of concern expressed by policymakers and the actual level of proactive investigation and prosecution of cases aimed at establishing possible links between the types of crime in question and terrorism financing. The report confirms the continuing need for States to develop the necessary procedures and tools and enhance the capacity of the relevant practitioners to detect and deter such links.
On 3 July, Cooling Post reported that the NGO and the trade body both largely agreed in a response to an EU consultation on restricting online sales of F-gases, the setting of minimum penalties across EU Member States for non-compliance and EU funding for the destruction of seized material. The 2 bodies’ views on the illegal trade in HFC refrigerants, and ways to combat it, generally concur, albeit, perhaps, for different reasons.
On 4 July, HM Treasury issued this Advisory Notice following the outcome of the recent FATF Plenary and containing advice issued by HM Treasury about risks posed by jurisdictions with unsatisfactory money laundering and terrorist financing controls. It sets out which jurisdictions will be included in forthcoming amendment to Schedule 3ZA of the Money Laundering Regulations, and replicates those countries listed by FATF as high-risk, or under increased monitoring.
On 15 June, Shearman and Sterling LLP published an article about amendments which are intended, for the most part, to take effect from 1 September. The article briefly details the changes, including those relating to funds transfer requirements for crypto-asset exchange providers and custodian wallet providers carrying on business in the UK (the “Travel Rule”); and granting AML/CFT supervisors a right, on request, to view the content of a SAR submitted by the firms and individuals supervised by them.