One more thing to think about, as the Ministry of Health confirmed 17 cases of hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome in the country this year, of which 12 suffered from hantavirus cardiopulmonary syndrome and 5 from hantavirus fever. There was 1 fatality. More worringly for us is that the province of Los Santos has the highest rate of confirmed cases, 13in total, and that is where we were supposed to be visiting (although that trip has been postponed due to recent protests).
Meanwhile, the third day of face-to-face talks over the protests took place, but the road blockages continue. Now the transport unions have threatened to suspend work if the road blockages continue.
23 JULY 2022
FERTILISER, FOOD AND SUNFLOWER OIL ATTACHED TO UKRAINE WHEAT AGREEMENT
On 22 July, Pass Blue, which covers UN news, reported that the recent agreement between Ukraine and Russia, brokered by Turkey, and to which the UN itself is a party, covers more than the export of wheat. A separate agreement between Russia and the UN is intended to help to ensure export Russian fertiliser and foodstuffs also get to international markets. These exports have been stymied by concerns of companies doing business with Russia amid European and American sanctions imposed on the country, but the agreement is based on the principle “that measures imposed on the Russian federation do not apply to those products”. Russia also agrees in the memorandum of understanding to “facilitate the unimpeded export of food, sunflower oil and fertilisers from Ukrainian-controlled Black Sea ports”.
However, on 23 July, the Guardian reported –
MISSILE STRIKE ON ODESA THREATENS GRAIN DEAL
LME WON’T BAN NORNICKEL METAL
On 23 July, Reuters reported that the London Metals Exchange is said to have told some of its committee members that it will not ban Nornickel’s metal from its system as the company is not under UK sanctions even though its CEO Vladimir Potanin is.
EUROPOL: NO RECORDS OF WEAPONS BEING SMUGGLED OUT OF UKRAINE
On 22 July, Yahoo News reported that Europol has given further details concerning its statement about the alleged smuggling of weapons out of Ukraine during the war, clarifying that it had been talking about a potential threat, not specific incidents. Europol has warned that the proliferation of firearms and explosives in Ukraine could lead to an increase in firearms and munitions trafficked into the EU via established smuggling routes or online platforms; and that this threat might even be higher once the conflict has ended.
HUMAN TRAFFICKING: US CALLS ON ALGERIA TO TAKE URGENT ACTION AGAINST SMUGGLERS
On 22 July, The North Africa Post said that human traffickers continue to exploit domestic and foreign victims in Algeria, and traffickers exploit victims from Algeria abroad, according to the 2022 Trafficking in Persons Report issued by the US State Department. The report also said that last year, international organisations reported an increase in trafficking victims identified among undocumented migrants in Algeria. Many migrants, impeded in their initial attempts to reach Europe, remain in Algeria and work in Algeria’s informal job market until they can continue their journey.
EUROPEAN REGULATORS’ JOINT REPORT ON WITHDRAWAL OF AUTHORISATION FOR SERIOUS BREACHES OF AML/CFT RULES
On 19 July, Ganado Advocates issued a newsletter, in part concerned with a joint report from the 3 European Supervisory Authorities – the EBA, European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA). This report highlighted how important it is for competent authorities to ensure, prior to granting authorisations or registrations, that proper arrangements and processes which ensure AML/CFT compliance are in place; and that that the identification of a serious breach is subject to a case-by-case assessment and a proportionality assessment.
MALAYSIAN BUSINESSMAN ARRESTED IN THAILAND FOR ALLEGEDLY LAUNDERING GAMBLING MONEY
On 23 July, various media reported that Thail police have detained Malaysian businessman Tedy Teow Wooi Huat for alleged money laundering after apparently discovering he used money from an online gambling business to build an entertainment complex on the Thai-Malaysian border. The company he found, MBI Group International, was in the news in October 2019 when Chinese nationals rallied outside the Malaysian embassy in Kuala Lumpur, claiming they had lost their savings to the company. It is also reported that is still wanted in Macau for another alleged money laundering scam that involved convincing people to invest in fake companies and then rerouting the money through multiple accounts into crypto and luxury properties in Thailand and Malaysia.
EU-FUNDED INTERPOL PORT SECURITY PROJECT FOR AFRICA
On 22 July, Defence Web reported that the Interpol port security project (PSP) to enhance capabilities of law enforcement agencies and port authorities to prevent, detect, investigate and respond to threats is underway in 9 African countries – co-ordinated by the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and implemented jointly with the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The PSP delivers specialised training modules, regional operational exercises, country-to-country exchange visits, on-site mentoring sessions and equipment and access to Interpol databases backed with robust technical support. It also seeks to establish a regional network of trained port security experts and increase capacity to collect, input, analyse and exchange critical information.
GIBRALTAR: SUPERYACHT AXIOMA TO BE SOLD BY JUDICIAL AUCTION FOLLOWING ARREST
On 21 July, Superyacht News reported that the 72-metre Malta-flagged custom motor yacht Axioma is to be sold via a judicial auction, after it was technically arrested by the American investment bank, JP Morgan. It has been confirmed that the Supreme Court in Gibraltar has ordered that the Admiralty Marshall should proceed with the judicial auction despite the lack of communication from other regulatory bodies. The superyacht is allegedly owned by Dmitry Pumpyanksy, a Russian Billionaire who was the sole shareholder of Pyrene Investments, which he used to take out a $22 million loan with JP Morgan. Once he was put on the sanction list it became illegal for any bank to accept repayments from him, and so, this meant that JP Morgan was able to technically seize the yacht, and then sell it, as a return on their investment. The article also speculates on the fate of the superyacht’s support vessel, which was originally expected to be delivered in 2023, and says that the sale of these 2 vessels could very well spark a debate about what should become of yachts that are owned by sanctioned individuals.
PANAMA PAPERS WHISTLEBLOWER SPEAKS OUT
On 22 July, an article from OCCRP was concerned with the unnamed Panama Papers whistleblower known as John Doe, who warned how offshore companies are enabling Russia’s war machine.
DIRTY BOMBS RISK – VULNERABILITIES PERSIST IN US CONTROLS FOR PURCHASES OF HIGH-RISK RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS
The US Governmental Accountability Office has published a report saying that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s (NRC) current system for verifying licences does not adequately protect against the purchase of high-risk radioactive materials using a fraudulent licence. Using shell companies with fraudulent licenses, GAO successfully purchased a Category 3 quantity of radioactive material of concern from 2 different vendors in the US. NRC officials told GAO that NRC plans to proceed with existing initiatives to implement new verification regulations by late 2023 but does not plan to take immediate corrective actions to address the issues that GAO found.
HONG KONG GAMBLING SYNDICATE BUST LEADS TO 48 ARRESTS
On 21 July, Gambling Insider reported that Hong Kong police carried out a series of raids across the city on 21 July, in an effort to cut down on a triad-controlled syndicate that has allegedly generated US$4.2 million from illegal gambling activity over the past 2 years. Police raided 7 gambling dens, arresting 35 men and 13 women. Of those arrested, 13 are said to be members of the syndicate, including the alleged ringleader, with an additional 35 gamblers.
MY BIG COIN FOUNDER CONVICTED OF CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUD SCHEME
On 21 July, a US DoJ news release advised that Randall Crater, 51, founded My Big Coin Pay Inc, a purported cryptocurrency and virtual payment services company headquartered in Las Vegas, and offered virtual payment services through a fraudulent digital currency, “My Big Coins”, which he marketed to investors between 2014 and 2017 using misrepresentations about the nature and value of Coins. Crater and his associates falsely claimed that Coins was a fully functioning cryptocurrency backed by $300 million in gold, oil and other valuable assets.
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