OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JULY 31

Teachers return to classes at state schools on 2 August, part of a deal which sees 6% of GDP committed for education, and the school year will be extended until 30 December, with be no recess in the remainder of the school year.

Also, from now until October, humpback whales are said to be present in the Pacific waters off Panama – but I have yet to see one. I think I will have to book a whale watching trip.

31 JULY 2022

UK: LICENCE FOR IMAGE SENSOR TECHNOLOGY BLOCKED IN FIRST USE OF NATIONAL SECURITY AND INVESTMENT ACT POWERS

On 28 July, Kharon reported that the UK Government had halted a technology agreement between a UK university and a Chinese company, blocking a licence agreement between the University of Manchester and Beijing Infinite Vision Technology Company Ltd.  The National Security and Investment Act (NSIA) came into force on 4 January, and under the Act, the Government can scrutinise and intervene in certain acquisitions that could harm UK national security.

https://brief.kharon.com/updates/uk-blocks-chinese-license-for-image-sensor-technology-in-first-use-of-national-security-and-investment-act-powers

PANAMA: PYRAMID SCHEME CONMAN GETS 10 YEARS JAIL TIME

On 30 July, Newsroom Panama reported that a Colombian, David Eduardo Helmut Murcia Guzmán, who defrauded thousands of people in Panama and Colombia through pyramid schemes has been sentenced to 10 years in prison.  His DMG company, and related companies, during 2006-2008, is said to have obtained $15,589,452.73 from 3,268 cardholders and 7,269 contracts, and was said to be linked to groups involved to drug trafficking in Colombia.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/pyramid-conman-gets-10-years-jail-time

US: MAN FINED $350,000 FOR SMUGGLING COSMETICS TO IRAN

On 30 July, the Ridgefield Times reported on a local man who had pleaded guilty to participating in a years-long scheme to smuggle cosmetics to Iran and had been ordered to pay more than $350,000 in fines and perform 300 hours of community service.  Michael Rose was the president of a Long Island-based cosmetics manufacturer and supplier.  He was arrested in April 2021.  He was said to have partnered with an Iranian import company to exclusively distribute its products in the country between 2015 and 2018.

https://www.newstimes.com/news/article/Ridgefield-man-fined-350-000-for-smuggling-17340518.php

HONG KONG: 100 TONNES OF FROZEN MEAT SMUGGLED INTO MAINLAND CHINA EACH NIGHT

On 30 July, the South China Morning Post reported on the continuing struggle against smugglers, saying that customs officers seized 224 tonnes of frozen meat in first half of this year – almost two-thirds more than in the same period last year.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3187160/100-tonnes-frozen-meat-smuggled-mainland-china-each

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE SWOOP ON ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERER

On 31 July, The News Daily and others reported that 8 properties and 4 luxury vehicles have been seized by police in Canberra as part of a $10 million haul following an investigation of alleged money laundering. They seized more than $1.5 million in cash as well as documents and electronic devices.  Police allege the man laundered cash and cryptocurrency from the sale of stolen identities and illegal goods, as well as money from various scams and illegal online gambling.

https://thenewdaily.com.au/news/crime-news/2022/07/31/alleged-money-launderer-arrested/

https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/crime/millions-seized-in-major-federal-police-money-laundering-sting/news-story/e0965ead515c2e2321709a7b7b2c8539

GIABA ACCUSES NIGERIAN CASINOS OF MONEY LAUNDERING

On 31 July, Punch in Nigeria reported that the FATF-style regional body has said 300 casinos operating in Nigeria may be involved in money laundering.  GIABA noted that noted that money laundering risks to the casinos which are operating mainly in Lagos and Abuja were high; and that they were mostly owned by foreigners from South Africa, China, Lebanon, the US, Germany, and the UK.  The allegations are found in a new GIABA report which focuses on the casino and gaming sectors in six GIABA member states of Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, and Benin.  In March, ECOWAS reported that there are 300 licensed casinos in operation in Nigeria.  Money Laundering risks to the casino sector are said to be considered relatively high in Lagos and Abuja, and there are approximately 150 licensed casinos in Lagos alone (50% of all licensed casinos in the country).

https://punchng.com/money-laundering-ecowas-agency-fingers-nigerian-casinos/

US: BOSTON CHINATOWN RESTAURANT ACCUSED OF MULTIMILLION DOLLAR MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATION

On 30 July, the Boston Herald reported that at least one restaurant in Boston’s Chinatown had a secret menu, according to a recent federal indictment — a multi-state money laundering operation.  A federal grand jury in Boston has indicted 8 alleged members of the conspiracy that allegedly funnelled tens of millions of dollars in drug money and more in a gift card fraud scheme.

https://www.bostonherald.com/2022/07/30/boston-chinatown-restaurant-served-up-multimillion-dollar-money-laundering-operation-feds-say/

WHY IS CHINESE INVESTMENT DRYING UP IN RUSSIA AND PAKISTAN? 

On 31 July, Rferl reported that a new report by a Shanghai university found that new investment in Russia through China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) fell to zero in the first half of 2022, while Chinese outlays in Pakistan dropped by 56% during the same period.  It says that the report highlights the changing nature of the BRI.  It provided an interview with Christoph Nedopil Wang, the director of the Green Finance and Development Center at Fudan University who helped write the report.

https://www.rferl.org/a/china-investment-russia-pakistan-standish/31967420.html

CHANNEL ISLANDS: NO JAIL FOR BILLIONAIRE ISLAND OWNER OVER UNPAID DIVORCE MILLIONS

On 31 July, the Jersey Evening Post reported that Sir Frederick Barclay, who co-owned the island of Brecqhou with his late brother Sir David, has avoided jail after the High Court in London ruled that he was not in contempt of court as a result of failing to pay tens of millions of pounds he owes in a divorce settlement, and ailing to pay the £100 million settlement. The judge said he would consider what penalties might be imposed on Sir Frederick, as a result of orders being breached, at a further hearing.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2022/07/31/no-jail-for-billionaire-brecqhou-owner-over-unpaid-divorce-millions/

CENTRAL BANK OF KENYA DIRECTS BANKS AND MICROFINANCE INSTITUTIONS TO SEIZE DEALING WITH PAYMENTS TECHNOLOGY FIRMS FLUTTERWAVE AND CHIPPER CASH

On 29 July, Business Daily reported that the CBK has directed banks to end links with the fast-growing payments unicorns which could mean closing all accounts and freezing the cash, as they are not permitted to provide remittance and payment services in the country.  Flutterwave is currently at the centre of a complex money laundering probe by the Assets Recovery Authority (ARA).  The 2 operators have rapidly expanded across Africa in recent years but regulators have accused them of increasing fraud and moving of illicit cash with lax requirements.

https://www.businessdailyafrica.com/bd/corporate/technology/cbk-orders-banks-to-close-flutterwave-chipper-cash-accounts-3896534

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/eunika-kurek-49b65833_law-intellectualproperty-lawyerlife-activity-6958545873895137280-4Dse

HOW GLOBAL SUPPLY CHAINS ARE REACTING TO TODAY’S GEOPOLITICS

An article from CSIS on 25 July says that global supply chains, particularly in technologies of strategic value, are undergoing a remarkable re-evaluation as geopolitical events and trends weigh on the minds of decisionmakers across government and industry.  It argues that efficiency is now being recast in terms of reliable and resilient supply chains that are better adapted to emerging geopolitical uncertainties rather than purely on the basis of lowest cost; and that business strategies prioritizing efficiency and cost for the globalisation of production now appear much more fragile.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/great-rewiring-how-global-supply-chains-are-reacting-todays-geopolitics

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/worlds-largest-container-shipping-companies-2022/

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QATAR BAN ON CASH TRANSACTIONS OVER QAR 50,000 (ABOUT $13,500)

On 28 July, Doha News reported that the use of cash in transactions exceeding QAR 50,000 is prohibited in selected trading outlets, according to a new ruling from the Qatar Central Bank.  This is said to be part of efforts to combat money laundering and terrorism financing, which prohibits illegal transactions arising from money laundering, funding of terror, and any other illicit activities.  Those involved in a transaction worth QAR 50,000 or more must make payments via cheque, credit card, debit card, or bank transfer.

https://dohanews.co/qatar-tackles-corruption-with-new-ban-on-cash-transactions-over-qar-50000/

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FRANCE CHARGES 5 MORE MEMBERS OF GABON RULING DYNASTY IN €85 MILLION FRAUD CASE

On 30 July, Yahoo News reported that France has charged 5 more children of former Gabonese president Omar Bongo in a long-running inquiry into the financing of the late president’s real estate empire, said to be worth €85 million.  They have already charged 4 other adult children, as well as a former Miss France, for allegedly accepting Parisian apartments from the late President.  Omar Bongo, a close French ally, ruled the oil-rich state from 1967 until his death in 2009, when he was succeeded by his son Ali Bongo Ondimba. He had 54 children.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/france-charges-five-more-members-131341877.html

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MONEY LAUNDERING RISKS OF CASINOS AND THE GAMBLING SECTOR IN WEST AFRICA

This report from the FATF-style regional body for West Africa, the Inter-Governmental Action Group against Money Laundering (GIABA), considers AML/CFT vulnerabilities in the casinos sector in West Africa.  In particular, the report focuses on the casino and gaming sectors in 6 GIABA Member states (Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Cabo Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, and Benin). GIABA says that it hopes to build on the red flags, good practices, and suggested actions identified in these reports at international level, offering a roadmap for future actions by regulators, supervisors, and operational authorities in West Africa to reinforce their AML systems.  Key deficiencies were identified in regards to legislative gaps (in particular, regarding the licensing and regulation of online casinos operating across the region); lack of domestic cooperation to license, monitor and supervise casino activity for AML purposes; and a lack of STR reporting and information sharing between casino and gaming establishments in the region and the FIU of the countries surveyed.  New trends were identified including in regards to increasing foreign acquisition of casinos, as well as foreign ownership and management of casinos across the region.  New risk indicators were identified and good practices were identified.  The report identifies 7 concrete recommendations for immediate implementation.

https://www.giaba.org/media/f/1195_CASINO_Study_GIABA_ENG_finale%203%20–.pdf

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