OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 5

Well, the first case of monkeypox has been reported in Panama. Tests carried out by the Gorgas Institute confirmed that it is the West African variant, which is the least serious.

https://www.prensa.com/sociedad/minsa-reporta-el-primer-caso-de-viruela-del-mono-en-panama/

5 JULY 2022

2 NEW DIGITAL TRADE SERVICES LAUNCHED BY INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE

The ICC has announced a new online certifying tool (Genesis) and a revamped Certificate of Origin (CO) verification website.  Genesis involves a pilot project will involve 8 participating chambers of commerce (including 5 in the UK).  Genesis  is a digital tool initiated by ICC to verify exporters’ self-certification. It enables exporters to apply online to their related chamber of commerce to obtain the certification of their origin statement on invoice declarations, making them more trustworthy. The revamped CO website allows chambers of commerce and customs authorities to confirm the authenticity and validity of certificates issued by the accredited chambers located in the 31 participating countries of the International CO Accreditation Chain.  It will now display additional information, such as a description of the goods and the countries of origin and destination, and enable customs authorities to review the complete CO form, by being redirected to the issuing chamber’s system or its national verification website.

https://iccwbo.org/media-wall/news-speeches/two-new-digital-trade-services-launched-in-the-origin-area/

MACAO CASINO KING ALVIN CHAU ACCUSED OF CHEATING GOVERNMENT OF $1 BILLION IN TAXES

On 5 July, Nikkei Asia reported that Macao junket boss Alvin Chau and senior executives at his Suncity Group are alleged to have run a vast criminal syndicate that cheated the casino hub out of about $1 billion in tax revenue, according to an official indictment.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Travel-Leisure/Macao-casino-king-Alvin-Chau-cheats-government-of-1bn-in-taxes

CRYPTO’S DOMINO EFFECT AND LOSSES ARE WIDENING

On 2 July, the Wall Street Journal reported on the turmoil in the digital-assets ecosystem which has grown in recent weeks, with losses in cryptocurrencies blowing holes in balance sheets and pushing firms near bankruptcy.  This is not helped by a BVI court ordering a hedge fund that had survived several crypto downturns to liquidate.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cryptos-domino-effect-is-widening-threatening-more-pain-11656754202

COMPANIES FACE COMPLIANCE CHALLENGES UNDER US FORCED-LABOUR LAW TARGETING CHINA

On 4 July, the Wall Street Journal carried an article about the effects of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, requiring additional measures such as sourcing products from other countries and visiting Chinese suppliers for spot checks.  Compliance experts and companies, particularly those that deal with cotton, tomatoes and solar-panel ingredient polysilicon are scrambling to understand how the law will be enforced in practice. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/companies-face-compliance-challenges-under-u-s-forced-labor-law-targeting-china-11656937801

EUROPEAN COMMISSION GUIDELINES ON THE INTERACTION BETWEEN REACH AND RECENT EU SANCTIONS

On 1 July, Steptoe & Johnson LLP published an article examining if and how complying with data sharing obligations under the REACH chemical legislation may infringe obligations imposed under the recently adopted EU sanctions.

https://www.steptoe.com/en/news-publications/european-commission-issues-guidelines-on-the-interaction-between-reach-and-recent-eu-sanctions.html

PANAMA: PROSECUTOR’S OFFICE CALL TO TRIAL OF 16 PEOPLE FOR THE IRREGULAR PURCHASE OF A MEDIA CONGLOMERATE THAT INVOLVES ABOUT THIRTY DEFENDANTS INCLUDING FORMER PRESIDENT RICARDO MARTINELLI

On 5 July, Agency EFE reported that a senior prosecutor against organized crime, made the request for a trial of 16 of the defendants and for dismissal for 10.  The so-called “New Business” case, where hearing has been suspended 3 times, is related to the purchase of the media conglomerate Grupo Editorial Epasa in 2010, involving alleged money laundering. 

https://www.efe.com/efe/america/politica/la-fiscalia-de-panama-llama-a-juicio-por-supuesto-blanqueo-en-compra-medios/20000035-4844721

https://www.infobae.com/america/agencias/2022/07/05/la-fiscalia-de-panama-llama-a-juicio-por-supuesto-blanqueo-en-compra-de-medios/

LIFTING OF MALI SANCTIONS HELPS LIFT RESOLUTE MINING SHARE PRICE

On 5 July, Mining MX reported that shares in Resolute Mining gained just over 15% in Australia after the company announced ECOWAS sanctions had been lifted on Mali where it operates the Syama gold mine.

https://www.miningmx.com/trending/49997-lifting-of-mali-sanctions-helps-relieve-gloom-in-resolute-mining-share-price/

FINLAND SEIZES HUNDREDS OF RUSSIAN FREIGHT CARS AS EU SANCTIONS BITE

On 5 July, Money Control reported that Finland has seized nearly a thousand freight cars belonging to Russian companies as a result of EU sanctions.  865 rail cars from Russia were seized by bailiffs – around 5,000 Russian rail cars were in Finland when it decided to suspend traffic.  The seized rail cars belong to companies either directly hit by EU sanctions or whose shareholders gave up their control because they got targeted by sanctions. 

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/world/finland-seizes-hundreds-of-russian-freight-cars-as-eu-sanctions-bite-8782151.html

CHINESE SMARTPHONE MAKER RAIDED IN MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION IN INDIA

On 5 July, Telecomlead reported that the Enforcement Directorate had raided the offices of smartphone maker Vivo, owned by China’s BBK Electronics, and its related entities.  The searches are said to be part of an investigation into suspected money laundering, local media reported.  The Enforcement Directorate has also launched an investigation into Xiaomi, the leading smartphone seller in India, for alleged illegal remittances abroad in the guise of royalty payments.

https://www.telecomlead.com/smart-phone/ed-raids-vivo-to-investigate-money-laundering-105471

UKRAINIAN WOMAN CAUGHT SMUGGLING 116 LIVE TORTOISES FROM TANZANIA INTO THAILAND

On 5 July, Thaiger reported that police had arrested a Ukrainian woman at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport after airport security found 116 live tortoises in her luggage.  The woman smuggled the protected wildlife on an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Dar es Salaam. 

https://thethaiger.com/hot-news/crime/ukrainian-woman-caught-smuggling-116-live-tortoises-from-tanzania-into-thailand

PAKISTAN: MQM LEADER ARRESTED OVER MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 5 July, Devdiscourse reported that former Pakistan Minister and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) leader Babar Khan Ghauri had been arrested by police at Jinnah International Airport, in relation to a money laundering and terror financing case.  He had returned after 7 years in the US.

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/international/2097994-pakistan-mqm-leader-arrested-over-money-laundering-case

RUSSIA SAYS AIRLINE FLEETS TO COMPRISE OVER 80% DOMESTICALLY-BUILT AIRCRAFT BY 2030

On 27 June, Flight Global reported that Russia’s government has outlined a plan to re-invigorate its commercial aviation industry, aiming for domestically-built aircraft to represent more than 80% of the Russian fleet by the end of the decade.

https://www.flightglobal.com/aerospace/russian-fleets-to-comprise-over-80-domestically-built-aircraft-by-2030-government/149182.article

SERBIA: GRECO CALLS FOR FURTHER MEASURES TO PREVENT CORRUPTION AMONG TOP PUBLIC EXECUTIVES AND IN THE POLICE

On 5 July, a news release from the Council of Europe anti-corruption body says that a new report calls for further measures to prevent corruption respect of persons with top executive functions, including the President of the Republic, ministers, assistant ministers, state secretaries, chiefs of cabinet and political advisers, as well as members of the Serbian Police.  GRECO provides 24 recommendations to the country’s authorities and awaits a report on their implementation by end September 2023.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/serbia-greco-calls-for-further-measures-to-prevent-corruption-among-top-public-executives-and-in-the-police

https://rm.coe.int/fifth-evaluation-round-preventing-corruption-and-promoting-integrity-i/1680a7216b

UK GUIDANCE: TRADING UNDER SANCTIONS WITH RUSSIA

On 5 July, the Department for International Trade published updated guidance on what import and export restrictions apply due to sanctions for UK companies when trading with Russia.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/trading-under-sanctions-with-russia#full-publication-update-history

UK: FOREIGN INTERFERENCE TO BE DESIGNATED A PRIORITY OFFENCE UNDER ONLINE SAFETY BILL

A news release from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 5 July announced that social media platforms will have to proactively tackle Russian and other state-sponsored disinformation aimed at undermining the UK under changes ministers are making to new internet safety laws.  The Government will table an amendment to link the National Security Bill with the Online Safety Bill.  A new Foreign Interference Offence created by the National Security Bill will be added to the list of priority offences in the Online Safety Bill.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/internet-safety-laws-strengthened-to-fight-russian-and-hostile-state-disinformation

US DoJ RESPONDS TO PRESIDENTIAL EXECUTIVE ORDER ON DIGITAL ASSETS

On 5 July, an article from Husch Blackwell LLP said that, in June, the Attorney General responded to the March EO with a submission – “How to Strengthen International Law Enforcement Cooperation for Detecting, Investigating, and Prosecuting Criminal Activity Related to Digital Assets”.  According to the report, US agencies are already addressing criminal activity in the digital currency sphere in several ways.  The Attorney General noted that significant challenges remain in this arena and gave recommendations for tackling these challenges.

https://www.huschblackwell.com/newsandinsights/us-doj-responds-to-biden-executive-order-on-digital-assets

THE UK AML REGULATORY REGIME: AN EXERCISE IN ETERNAL PATIENCE

A Commentary from RUSI on 5 July says that the outcome of a wide-ranging consultation on the UK AML regulatory regime suggests the UK regulations are in good shape; they just need to be properly enforced.  The Commentary concludes that, while the consultation hasn’t revealed anything earth-shattering about the AML regulatory regime, it does give an indication of the direction of travel in the next few years on the post-Brexit moulding of the regulations: a slightly more flexible approach to the application of some of the obligations of the money laundering regulations and more engagement to understand some of the barriers to assessing risk. 

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/uks-aml-regulatory-regime-exercise-eternal-patience

SPAIN SHUTS DOWN ILLEGAL FACTORY THAT MADE 50 MILLION CIGARETTES A MONTH

On 5 July, OCCRP reported that the large-scale, clandestine tobacco operation that had the necessary infrastructure to illegally produce just under 50 million cigarettes per month.  A criminal organisation was trafficking Bulgarian citizens into Spain who possessed the technical knowledge necessary to run a large-scale tobacco production facility.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16536-spain-shuts-down-illegal-factory-that-monthly-made-50-million-cigarettes

EUROPOL ARRESTS 49 INDIVIDUALS IN MAJOR BLOW TO EELS TRAFFICKING

On 5 July, OCCRP reported that law enforcement had arrested 49 suspects and seized more than 1 tonne of eels worth nearly $2 million.  The operation targeted the trafficking of baby eels, or glass eels, which is seen as one of the most devastating crimes against wildlife which generates illicit profits estimated to exceed $3 billion in peak years.  The European eel population has decreased by 90% in recent years.  Glass eels are usually bought from poachers, camouflaged to trick scanners and shipped as cargo declared to customs as something else.  Once the eels arrive in Asia, they are grown in fish farms and then distributed to different markets around the world. Glass eels are seen as a delicacy in many Asian countries.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16535-europol-arrests-49-individuals-in-major-blow-to-eels-trafficking

AFRICA’S ‘HUMAN CONVEYOR BELT’ REROUTES THROUGH ALGERIA

On 4 July, OCCRP reported that once flowing through Libya and operated by local militias the route, ‘the Human Conveyor Belt’ has recently refocused towards Algeria.  People smugglers who shuttle millions of migrants through Niger and into Algeria or Libya on their way to Europe, in what were often harrowing journeys.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16534-report-africa-s-human-conveyor-belt-reroutes-through-algeria

TURKISH COURT WILL NOT EXTRADITE SAMIR NASRI SALEM HANDAL TO HAITI TO STAND TRIAL FOR HIS ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT IN THE 2021 ASSASSINATION OF PRESIDENT JOVENEL MOÏSE

On 4 July, Jurist reported that Moise was assassinated in 2017 and Handal while attempting to leave Turkey in November and detained by Turkish authorities pending an investigation.  He is alleged to have provided shelter to the main conspirator of the assassination.  Interpol sent out a Red Notice alerting member states that Handal was wanted, but the notice was later lifted.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/07/turkey-denies-extradition-of-haiti-presidential-assassination-suspect/

ECOWAS LIFTS SANCTIONS ON MALI AND BURKINA FASO

On 4 July, Jurist reported that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) had lifted the sanctions, but that a proposal from Guinea was rejected – Guinea’s junta previously asked for a 3-year transition back to civil rule but it was rejected.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/07/economic-community-of-west-african-states-lifts-sanctions-on-mali-and-burkina-faso/

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/7/3/west-african-leaders-lift-economic-sanctions-on-mali

UNODC GLOBAL PROGRAMME FOR COMBATING WILDLIFE AND FOREST CRIME: ANNUAL REPORT 2021

The UN Office on Drugs & Crime has published its annual report.

https://www.unodc.org/documents/Wildlife/Annual_Report_GPWLFC2021.pdf

THE BENEFICIAL OWNERS REGISTER IN ITALY – UPDATE

On 5 July, Dentons published an article (in Italian) in light of the recent entry into force of the Ministerial Decree.  The Decree contains provisions on the communication, access and consultation of data and information relating to the beneficial ownership of companies with legal personality, private legal persons, trusts producing legal effects relevant for tax purposes and legal arrangements similar to trusts.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/alerts/2022/july/5/the-beneficial-owners-register-in-italy-ita 

US: KEY PLAYERS GRANTED BAIL IN BUFFALO BILLION CORRUPTION CASE

On 3 July, ABC News reported that a federal judge has granted bail to a prominent Buffalo developer and other businessmen serving prison time for a bid-rigging scheme related the New York “Buffalo Billion” economic redevelopment programme.  The judge allowed them to be released after the US Supreme Court agreed to hear the appeal of their wire fraud convictions.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/key-players-granted-bail-buffalo-billion-corruption-case-86153450

https://www.statista.com/chart/27712/cutting-back-on-russian-fossil-fuels

EU: FRONTEX PUBLISHES INTERNATIONAL HANDBOOK TO HELP FIGHT FIREARMS TRAFFICKING

On 5 July, Homeland Security Today reported that, to assist authorities fight against this crime and protect their citizens, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, Frontex, has published a new international version of the Handbook on Firearms for Border Guards and Customs Officers.  The international version of the firearms handbook, which builds on the EU edition published last year, puts together the recent developments and best practices existing on both European and international levels to support national border and customs authorities in both EU and non-EU countries to reinforce their operational response against arms-related crime. 

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/border-security/frontex-publishes-international-handbook-to-help-fight-firearms-trafficking/

https://frontex.europa.eu/media-centre/news/news-release/frontex-supports-european-and-international-authorities-combat-firearms-smuggling-l77YGr

EU: GAPS IN CAP MONITORING LEAVE IT OPEN TO FRAUD, ILLEGAL LAND GRABBING, SAY AUDITORS

On 5 July, EurActiv reported that gaps in monitoring mean the EU’s farming subsidy programme remains vulnerable to fraudulent practices such as illegal land grabbing, according to a new report from the EU Court of Auditors (ECA).  The ECA highlighted a range of cases where claimants failed to disclose relevant information or artificially created conditions to meet eligibility criteria to unduly benefit from funds.  The ECA calls call on the European Commission to invest in digital technologies to prevent and detect fraud.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/agriculture-food/news/gaps-in-cap-monitoring-leave-it-open-to-fraud-illegal-land-grabbing-say-auditors/

LEBANON GAS ROW WITH ISRAEL

On 5 July, EurActiv reported that the new Israeli PM leader was confronted with his first test when Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement launched 3 drones towards an offshore gas field in the eastern Mediterranean.  Lebanon rejects Israel’s claim that the Karish gas field lies within its territorial waters.  Israel and Lebanon resumed negotiations on their maritime border in 2020, though the Karish site sits outside of the disputed area and is marked as Israeli on previous UN maps.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/lebanon-gas-row-tops-agenda-as-israel-pm-visits-paris/

ADOPTION BY EU PARLIAMENT OF NEW EU RULEBOOK FOR DIGITAL SERVICES

On 5 July, a news release announced that the EU Commission welcomed the adoption by the European Parliament of the Digital Services Package, which sets out a first comprehensive rulebook for the online platforms.  These new rules will be applicable across the whole of the EU and are said to create a safer and more open digital space, grounded in respect for fundamental rights.  It is said that the new rules will be enforced by the Commission for the largest online platforms active in the EU, and that the Commission is taking all necessary steps to be ready to take up this role upon the entry into force of the rules.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_22_4313

UK: BANKING FRAUD REVIEW 2017 TO 2021 AND 2022 GLIMPSE

On 5 July, Finextra carried an article about the UKFinance Fraud Report 2022.  It is said that it is APP Fraud that is of most concern – said to be the fastest growing category, and having increased by £229 million.  It says that a problem is that the issue is that the banks regard this type of fraud as the responsibility of their clients – over the past 5 years banks have refused to reimburse over 500,000 of their customers close to £1 billion resulting from APP Fraud.  The next report UKFinance report is due September for the first half of 2022.

https://www.finextra.com/blogposting/22545/banking-fraud-review-2017-to-2021-and-2022-glimpse

US: SUPREME COURT OVERTURNS DOCTORS’ OPIOID CONVICTIONS, PAVING THE WAY FOR ADDITIONAL APPEALS

On 5 July, an article from Oberheiden PC was concerned with a recent Supreme Court decision and the implications.  The Court overturned 2 doctors’ convictions under the Controlled Substances Act, ruling that the trial courts improperly applied lowered burdens of proof proposed by the DoJ.  It concludes by saying that, as more doctors appeal their convictions, we will likely gain a clearer picture of how the federal courts will judge the impact of the decision in jurisdictions across the country.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/u-s-supreme-court-overturns-doctors-6915994/

TURKEY SEIZES RUSSIAN SHIP CARRYING ‘STOLEN’ UKRAINIAN GRAIN

On 5 July, the Guardian reported that, following a request from Ukraine, Turkish customs officials had detained the Russian-flagged Zhibek Zholy, which Ukraine claimed was illegally transporting 7,000 tonnes of grain out of Russian-occupied Berdiansk, a Ukrainian port in the south-east of the country.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/05/ukraine-russia-turkey-ship-grain-stolen

PANAMA: BILL APPROVED THAT WILL PROHIBIT THE SALE AND IMPORT OF ALL VAPING AND HEATED TOBACCO PRODUCTS

On 4 July, TJI reported that the President had approved a Bill, having already prohibited the sale of e-cigarettes in 2014.

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/Vape_sales_banned.57165.0.html

GROUP LAUNDERED MILLIONS IN ILLICIT MARIJUANA SALES THROUGH ONTARIO CASINOS

On 5 July, CTV News said that RCMP has announced the result of an investigation, which began in 2017, into the scheme that allegedly used casinos in the Greater Toronto Area and Niagara regions, saying that more than $3 million were allegedly laundered from the illegal sale of over 8,000 lb of cannabis.

https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/group-laundered-millions-in-illicit-marijuana-sales-through-ontario-casinos-rcmp-1.5975379

https://www.globenewswire.com/news-release/2022/07/05/2474188/0/en/The-Alcohol-and-Gaming-Commission-of-Ontario-s-Integrated-OPP-Bureau-Assists-RCMP-s-Money-Laundering-Investigation.html

HONG KONG: SFC AND POLICE JOINT OPERATION AGAINST SUSPECTED BOGUS TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING A COMPANY FORMERLY LISTED ON THE STOCK EXCHANGE

On 5 July, a release on Mondo Visione advised that 8 people, including the company’s current and former executive directors and senior executives, were arrested in the joint operation, which followed an SFC’s referral to the Police on suspected fraud that occurred before the company was delisted.  The case centres on whether the company’s management had caused it to enter into various bogus transactions amounting to over $130 million and published false or misleading announcements and financial statements to cover up the fraud.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/hong-kong-securities-and-futures-commission-and-police-joint-operation-on-suspec/

SHINE MUSCAT GRAPE SMUGGLING TO CHINA COSTS JAPAN $70 MILLION A YEAR

In its 6 July edition, Nikkei Asia reported that Japan suffers more than $73.8 million in lost earnings yearly from premium Shine Muscat grapes improperly brought to China, the Japanese farm ministry estimates in a new report.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Agriculture/Shine-Muscat-grape-smuggling-to-China-costs-Japan-70m-a-year

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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