OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 18

Apparently the protests continue, despite an agreement to open up at least some of the road blocks in the interior, a further reduced maximum fuel price coming into effect (at $3.25, the price having reached $6 per gallon in July), and an extraordinary Cabinet Council being called. I also understood the metro buses were due to start a strike today, but I saw at least some buses running this morning in the city. Still haven’t seen any sign of protests myself so far, and I popped into the city centre this morning. Mind you, there was a big protest on the Cinta Costera, the long, garden-like promenade on Sunday – I stayed away.

18 JULY 2022

BRAZIL: NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION REGULATIONS

On 14 July, an article from Mayer Brown detailed new regulations which come into force from 18 July under a new Decree made under the 2013 anti-corruption law. 

https://www.mayerbrown.com/en/perspectives-events/publications/2022/07/new-regulations-on-the-anti-corruption-law-is-published

US:  WHAT CAN YOU DO WHEN YOUR MERCHANDISE IS SEIZED BY CUSTOMS?

On 6 July, an article from Wang IP Law addressed this question, saying that businesses can cooperate with US Customs & Border Protection and potentially have their detained and seized merchandise returned, but that all counterfeit goods found by CBP will be destroyed.

https://www.thewangiplaw.com/blog/2022/07/combatting-cbp-merchandise-seizures-and-penalties/

UK: PIZZA COMPANIES’ PANDEMIC SUPPORT FRAUD

On 14 July, an article from Brodies LLP considered 2 cases of fraud carried out in relation to financial support provided by the UK Government during the COVID-19 pandemic. Current figures show that an anticipated £4.9 billion has been lost in Covid-19 support fraud.  It identifies 3 key messages for the food and drink sector to take from the cases.

https://brodies.com/insights/corporate-crime-and-investigations/fraud-and-financial-crime-in-the-food-and-drink-sector/

EU SHIPOWNERS RACE TO MOVE RUSSIAN OIL BEFORE SANCTIONS KICK IN

On 17 July, the Wall Street Journal reported that Greek tankers are carrying record levels of Russian seaborne oil cargoes to China and India. It is said that shipments to Asia have soared, and that China nearly doubled its Russian crude intake to an average of 1.13 million barrels a day in June, from 670,000 barrels a day in February – and an expert is quoted as saying that it looks feasible that Russia could export all the available crude without American or EU buyers.  The relevant EU sanctions will come into effect on 5 December and call for a ban of Russian oil shipments to Europe.  Shipments outside Europe by its tanker operators won’t be banned, but the vessels will not be able to get insurance coverage, thus making any sailings illegal under international maritime law.  Some 80% of Russia’s oil exports before the Ukraine invasion went to a range of developed economies like the EU, U.S., Japan and South Korea, and that Russia now offers deep discounts to importers.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-shipowners-race-to-move-russian-oil-before-sanctions-kick-in-11658055600

EU RUSSIA SANCTIONS: THE COAL BAN FROM AUGUST MAY ALSO INCLUDE FUEL OIL

On 15 July, Ship & Bunker News reported that the EU is due to ban the import and transit of Russian coal from 10 August, and the article suggests that the wording of the relevant EU Regulation may mean that fuel oil imports may also be affected.

https://shipandbunker.com/news/emea/197649-eu-russian-coal-ban-in-august-may-include-fuel-oil

ISRAELI CIVILIAN DUAL-USE EXPORT CONTROLS AMNESTY

On 18 July, an article from Herzog, Fox & Neeman said that the Ministry of Economy & Industry embarked on a campaign in March with the goal of encouraging Israeli companies to review their business activity in light of Israel’s civilian dual-use export control regime.  The campaign allowed Israeli companies, meeting certain criteria, to voluntarily disclose past export violations and, in return, receive amnesty from enforcement action for those violations.  It explains that the Ministry’s Diamonds and Dual Use Export Control Administration administers Israel’s civilian dual-use export control regime (which is akin to the US Bureau of Industry and Security), while the Ministry of Defense Defense Export Control Agency (DECA) administers Israel’s defence export control regime (which is akin to the US Directorate of Defense Trade Controls).  Detailing the conditions for qualifying for the amnesty, the article concludes by saying that, even if voluntary disclosure is not the best path forward, the campaign should, at least, serve as a wake-up call for Israeli companies to review their technology and business practices through the lens of Israeli export controls.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/218a5cde-fee3-4609-b2b9-2d7551402606.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1658146910&Signature=Y13qMRH5UYuSHG0TkHnGPEx5Lrc%3D

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE CAMPAIGN TARGETING MOTORCYCLE GANGS THAT HAVE FLED TO SOUTH-EAST ASIA TO EVADE LAW ENFORCEMENT

Comply Advantage has reported that AFP believes groups including the Comanchero, Hells Angels, Bandidos, and Lone Wolf are responsible for trafficking tonnes of drugs into Australia annually.  It is said that the gangs have expanded their presence to include operations across Germany, the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, and Australia. 

https://complyadvantage.com/insights/afp-targets-outlaw-motorcycle-gangs-responsible-for-drug-trafficking/

UN WARNING ABOUT OVER-COMPLIANCE WITH SANCTIONS

Comply Advantage has reported that the UN Special Rapporteur has issued a stark warning on the consequences of over-compliance, and resorting to extreme measures to reduce legal, business, and regulatory risk has become tempting as governments issue more unilateral sanctions.  It says that UN defines over-compliance as “a form of excessive avoidance of risk”. 

https://complyadvantage.com/insights/un-issues-warning-against-over-compliance-with-sanctions/

UK: NEW CONSEQUENCES FOR DRUG POSSESSION’ WHITE PAPER

On 18 July, the Home Office published a White Paper announcing a public consultation, the results of which will inform the Government’s approach to reforming the way the criminal justice system deals with adult drug possession offences and to changing drug testing on arrest powers.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/swift-certain-tough-new-consequences-for-drug-possession-white-paper

UK: CONSULTATION – CLANDESTINE MIGRANT ENTRANT CIVIL PENALTY SCHEME

On 18 July, the Home Office announced a consultation until 8 August on new regulations related to vehicle security and a new Level of Penalty: Code of Practice.  This includes a new civil penalty for failure to secure a goods vehicle, narrowing the statutory defences available to those who have carried a clandestine entrant and proposals to increase the maximum penalty and maximum aggregate penalty for carrying a clandestine entrant from the current £2,000 and £4,000.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/clandestine-entrant-civil-penalty-scheme

US: SHIPPERS HAVE A NEW TOOL TO COMBAT HIGH FREIGHT COSTS: REFUNDS UNDER NEW LEGISLATION

On 18 July, Sandler Travis & Rosenberg reported that under the new Ocean Shipping Reform Act of 2022, the Federal Maritime Commission is now accepting complaints disputing charges assessed by common carriers – including demurrage and detention fees – that may not comply with the provisions of that law.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/july/shippers-can-seek-refunds-of-unfair-charges-with-new-tool

MALAYSIA: CUSTOMS SEIZES 6 TONNES OF RAW IVORY, BIGGEST BUST SO FAR IN ITS HISTORY

On 18 July, The Star reported that 6 tonnes of raw ivory has been seized, the largest such seizure so far in the history of the Customs Department.  The ivory was seized together with pangolin scales, rhinoceros horns, tiger fangs and other animal bones and skulls earlier in the month – in 3 suspicious containers believed to have come from Africa.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/nation/2022/07/18/customs-seizes-six-tonnes-of-raw-ivory-biggest-bust-so-far-in-its-history

INDONESIA: GUNMEN KILL 10 CIVILIANS, INJURE 2, IN AMBUSH IN PAPUA

On 18 July, Eurasia Review reported that suspected separatist rebels gunned down 10 civilians and wounded 2 others in Indonesia’s Papua region, in one of the deadliest attacks in the area since 2018.  Papua, on the western side of New Guinea Island, has been the scene of a low-level separatist insurgency since the mainly Melanesian region was incorporated into Indonesia in a UN-administered ballot in the late 1960s.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/18072022-indonesia-gunmen-kill-10-civilians-injure-2-in-ambush-in-restive-papua/

PARAGUAY EXTRADITES BRAZILIAN MONEY LAUNDERER TO THE US

On 18 July, OCCRP reported that Paraguay had extradited Kassem Mohamad Hijazi to the US, he being accused of laundering hundreds of millions of dollars for drug traffickers and other businesses.  In Paraguay, local media claimed the man was a member of Hezbollah.  The US Treasury had sanctioned him for his role in using his expansive network of government officials for both licit and illicit purposes.  Hijazi’s extradition is described as “a strong blow to transnational crime in Paraguay and the Tri-Border Area”.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16577-paraguay-extradites-brazilian-money-launderer-to-the-u-s

HOW NORTH KOREAN CRYPTOCURRENCY ABUSE IS EXPANDING

On 14 July, a Commentary from RUSI said that countries must secure new and emerging gateways that are used to circumvent sanctions, as North Korea’s exploitation of cryptocurrency continues.

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/compliance-harmony-how-north-korean-cryptocurrency-abuse-expanding

LATVIA WINS INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION FOR BEST ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING CASE 2022

The Egmont Group has reported that on 14 July FIU Latvia received an international award BECA (Best Egmont Case Award 2022), for exceptional work in the field of financial intelligence in the competition of 19 countries. The award was presented during the 28th Egmont Group Plenary.  The case submitted by Latvia earned recognition due to the volume, complexity of the case, the innovative financial intelligence methods and the developed international cooperation network.

https://egmontgroup.org/news/news-release-latvia-wins-the-international-competition-for-best-anti-money-laundering-case-2022/

HIS COMPANIES MADE £138 MILLION OF TAXPAYERS MONEY – WHERE HAS IT GONE?

On 15 July, the Bureau of Investigative Journalists posed this question in an article about a man whose companies received £655 million from Thurrock council, a commuter belt borough east of London.  Using that cash the companies bought dozens of solar farms and the council generated millions in extra income from the interest on the loans.  The Bureau says that, after a 3-year investigation, hampered at virtually every stage by the council, it can reveal apparent gaping holes in the investments that threaten to cost the public hundreds of millions of pounds, holes which lead directly to the companies.  The council now admits it has kept councillors and the public in the dark about these serious issues and the Bureau’s findings have led to calls for an urgent government investigation.  The man behind the investments made millions through dividends and has enjoyed the benefit of huge sums of money spent by him and his companies during the period where his businesses had received the additional £138 million investment from Thurrock council. The Isle of Man-registered private jet he regularly used cost around £10 million.  He has lived in a country estate purchased for £20 million in December 2020, and there is the fleet of luxury cars worth millions of pounds and properties in a number of countries around the world.

https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2022-07-15/his-companies-made-a-deal-for-138m-of-taxpayers-money.-where-has-it-gone

ONLINE MARKETS FOR PANGOLIN-DERIVED PRODUCTS

On 14 July, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published a report and says that the research described in this report attempts to shed a new light on a known major illicit wildlife-trade issue, namely the use of pangolin parts and scales in the manufacturing of a number of items, especially traditional Chinese medicine remedies.  It provides actionable recommendations for national authorities in China and elsewhere in order to curb the online trade of pangolin-derived items.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/online-markets-for-pangolin/

ISLE OF MAN ADVISES OF RUSSIA SANCTIONS CHANGES

On 18 July, a news release from the Isle of Man advises of the changes made by the application of the UK’s Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) (Amendment) (No. 11) Regulations 2022 in Island law.  These Regulations provide for a number of restrictions imposed in relation to trade with Russia (i.e. imports, exports and related services).

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/jul/18/sanctions-russia/

EU DIPLOMATS DISCUSS RUSSIA GOLD SANCTIONS

On 18 July, EU Observer reported that EU diplomats were to hold initial talks on new Russian sanctions on that day, amid proposals to ban gold exports and blacklist more individuals.  It said that the sanctions package will “introduce a new import ban on Russian gold, while reinforcing our dual use and advanced technology export controls,” the EU Commission has said.

https://euobserver.com/world/155567

THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE SELF-PROCLAIMED CRYPTOQUEEN BEHIND THE $4 BILLION SCAM

On 18 July, Cybernews carried an article about OneCoin founder, Dr Ruja Ignatova, who called herself the Cryptoqueen and proudly told anyone who would listen that her new cryptocurrency was a Bitcoin killer at the heart of the financial revolution.  However, Ruja Ignatova suddenly disappeared in a move many described as the biggest crypto scam and rug-pull to date. 

https://cybernews.com/editorial/hunt-for-the-cryptoqueen-behind-the-4b-scam/

FACTSHEET: UK PASSPORT PROCESSING TIMES AND UNPRECEDENTED LEVELS OF DEMAND

A blog post from the Home Office on 18 July said that there has recently been considerable press coverage of people facing holiday cancellations or travel disruption due to waiting times for UK passports.  Her Majesty’s Passport Office anticipates that 9.5 million British passport applications will be made this year.  The post explained what the Passport Office was doing and what applicants could do to help.

https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2022/07/18/factsheet-passport-processing-times-and-unprecedented-levels-of-demand/

ACCUSED MAJOR HEROIN TRAFFICKER JUNIOR ESCOBAR MIRANDA EXTRADITED FROM COLOMBIA FOR PROSECUTION IN NEW YORK CITY

A news release from the DEA on 18 July alleged that Escobar Miranda, 48, who was based in Cali, Colombia throughout the alleged conspiracy, maintained direct oversight of nearly all aspects of his lucrative drug trafficking business. 

https://www.dea.gov/press-releases/2022/07/18/accused-major-heroin-trafficker-extradited-colombia-prosecution-new-york

SERIAL GRIFTER PLEADS GUILTY TO WEED-INDUSTRY SCAM IN CALIFORNIA

On 18 July, Rolling Stone carried an article saying that David Bunevacz – a former decathlete and competitor for the Philippines national team in the Southeast Asian Games- bilked cannabis vape investors out of $37 million, then spent it on horses, cars, and a lavish home.  He is accused of setting up fake cannabis vaping businesses and deceiving investors into giving him $37 million.  Authorities allege it was while he was on probation for state securities offences he committed most of the crimes now being alleged in the federal complaint. 

https://www.rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/weed-vape-grifter-david-bunevacz-pleads-guilty-fraud-1384836/

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SPANISH CUSTOMS SEIZE €450,000 PICASSO SKETCH AT IBIZA AIRPORT

On 18 July, the Guardian reported that Spanish customs agents had seized a Picasso sketch worth more than €450,000 from a passenger who arrived at Ibiza airport without declaring the artwork.  The man had arrived on the island on a flight from Zurich, and said the artwork was a simple copy and presented the agents with a handwritten receipt of 1,500 Swiss francs, which he said he had paid for the sketch.

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2022/jul/18/spanish-customs-seize-450000-picasso-sketch-at-ibiza-airport

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BELARUS SANCTIONS: A GUIDE FOR UK BUSINESSES

On 18 July, Out-Law published this guide saying that the current sanctions regimes against Belarus of relevance to UK businesses include arms embargoes, targeted asset freezes, travel bans and sectoral sanctions.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/guides/belarus-sanctions-guide-uk-businesses

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UK: RUSSIA (SANCTIONS) (EU EXIT) (AMENDMENT) (No. 13) REGULATIONS 2022

These new Regulations amend the Russia sanctions regime, which adjustments that include a new exception from trade sanctions measures for humanitarian assistance activity in non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts; that correct or resolve a number of issues arising from the 2019 Regulations or amendments made to them; and makes amendments to the designation criteria in the 2019 Regulations, including to broaden the interpretation of being “associated with” a designated person.

https://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2022/814/contents/made

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MiCA: THE EU CRYPTOASSETS REGULATION

On 15 July, Dechert LLP published an article saying that, on 30 June, the European Council and the Parliament, announced that they had reached a provisional agreement on the proposal for regulation on markets in cryptoassets (MiCA), which covers issuers of unbacked cryptoassets and fiat-backed or fiat-referencing stablecoins, as well as the trading venues and the wallets where cryptoassets are held.  The next step is for the Council and the Parliament to each approve the political agreement before formally adopting MiCA.  The article looks at what MiCA aims to achieve and its impact on stakeholders; briefly compares MiCA to other legislative measures that would create a framework for the regulation of cryptoassets in the EU; and assesses how MiCA may interact with the Prospectus Regulation, MiFID, AIFMD and the UCITS Directive. Finally, it compares the recent EU developments to those in the UK.

A second article, from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP on 15 July, also looked at plans for MiCA, saying that, with the compromise between the Council and Parliament, the EU is set to establish a comprehensive set of rules that fills a regulatory gap and aims to end the legal fragmentation of crypto regulation in the EU.  It says that, setting aside the provisions on stablecoin issuers, it is expected to take another 18 months until MiCA enters into force; and that, without further action, the current fragmented legislative and regulatory landscape for crypto-assets in the EU will persist until 2024.

https://www.dechert.com/knowledge/onpoint/2022/7/countdown-to-mica–the-eu-s-cryptoassets-regulation.html?utm_source=vuture&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=onpoint

https://technologyquotient.freshfields.com/post/102hsxx/a-first-look-on-mica-the-eus-comprehensive-regulatory-framework-for-crypto-asse#page=1

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