Still away, so things may not be quite normal…
Meanwhile, the protests have restarted, and even the Pan-American Highway near here was temporarily closed earlier, but seems OK now.
Perhaps I should be more worried about the gap under the door of the cabin, and the dead snake I saw on the driveway…
10 August 2022
FORMER TWITTER EMPLOYEE CONVICTED OF SPYING FOR SAUDI ARABIA
On 9 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that employee Ahmad Abouammo had been found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabia after passing on private user information associated with critics of the kingdom in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Mr. Abouammo, 44, worked at Twitter from 2013 to 2015 and was also found guilty of money laundering, falsification of records and count of wire fraud.
US VISA BANS ON 100 BELARUSSIAN OFFICIALS AND AFFILIATES
On 9 August, the US State Department announced the bans for alleged involvement in undermining democratic institutions or impeding the transition to democracy in Belarus.
UAE COURT LIFTS PRISON SENTENCE FOR AMERICAN CONVICTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING
On 10 August, Devdiscourse reported that a court had lifted a prison sentence but upheld a conviction on money laundering charges for US citizen and civil rights attorney Asim Ghafoor, who was detained while transiting through Dubai last month. He was ordered to pay a $1.36 million fine.
RUSSIA IS LOOKING TO REINVIGORATE EFFORTS TO IMPROVE RAIL LINKS WITH IRAN
A Commentary from RUSI on 10 August said that Russia will construct a section of the Rasht-Astara railway in Iran, with the aim of linking up the network between Iran, Azerbaijan, India and Russia. It gives as reasons sanctions meaning that Russia is no longer able to guarantee that the Western rail network will freely transport its goods, and an over-reliance on China for rail trade creating a power imbalance.
UK BRIEFING: SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
On 9 August, the House of Commons Library publishing a briefing paper looking at measures announced by the UK in 2014 and 2022.
US CUSTOMS SEIZE 165,000 PAIRS OF COUNTERFEIT COTTON DIABETIC SOCKS
On 9 August, the Washington Post reported that US Customs & Border Protection had explained that diabetic socks are specialty socks that are non-elastic to reduce pressure and swelling, that eliminate friction that may cause discomfort, and that help keep the patient’s foot dry. Another shipment of counterfeit socks, valued at nearly $2 million, was seized last month.
5 TURKISH BANKS HAVE AGREED TO ACCEPT RUSSIA’S MIR PAYMENTS SYSTEM
On 9 August, Kenneth Rijock warned of potential risks from 5 banks having agreed to accept the Mir system – HALKBANK, ISBANK, ZIRAAT BANK, VIKIFBANK, and DENIZBANK.
GUINEA-BISSAU: STATE INSTITUTIONS HIJACKED BY COCAINE CARTELS
On 9 August, OCCRP said that a new report says that Guinea-Bissau continues to serve as a key cocaine transit point between Latin America and Europe, despite government pledges to clamp down on smuggling. The report refers to a systematic weakening of the judicial system, resulting in its debilitated capacity to take action against smugglers. It also claims that the cocaine economy has been facilitated by elite protection networks, which over the years became deeply embedded in Guinea-Bissau’s political architecture, and that elites often turn to illicit markets to supplement public budgets and finance election campaigns.
US: WITHHOLD RELEASE ORDER ON GARMENTS PRODUCED BY NATCHI APPAREL LTD IN INDIA OVER FORCED LABOUR CLAIMS
On 10 August, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that Importers of detained shipments will have an opportunity to export their shipments or submit proof that they were not produced with forced labour.
INTERPOL CAMPAIGN ON THE USE OF MONEY MULES IN FACILITATING THE MOVEMENT OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDS
On 10 August, INTERPOL announced the launch of a new campaign to raise global awareness and highlight the massive use of money mules in facilitating the movement of criminal proceeds. The campaign hashtag, #YourAccountYourCrime, clearly reminds the general public that they are responsible for keeping their accounts safe and that there are consequences for moving money on behalf of a third party. The 2-week campaign over 10-26 August will run on social media and be supported by 34 countries worldwide.
PERU: POLICE RAID PRESIDENTIAL PALACE OVER ARREST WARRANT FOR PRESIDENT’S SISTER-IN-LAW
On 10 August, Deutsche Welle reported that, after allegations of corruption and money laundering, police are on the lookout for Peruvian President Pedro Castillo’s sister-in-law and searched his residence. Police had acquired an arrest warrant for Yenifer Paredes, 26, for alleged corruption and money laundering.
CRYPTO CRIMINALS LAUNDERED $540 MILLION BY USING A SERVICE CALLED RENBRIDGE
On 10 August, CNBC said that a new report claimedthat RenBridge had been used to launder at least $540 million in crime-related crypto cash since 2020, with cross-chain bridges being used to send digital assets across blockchains, bypassing a centralised service that can trace transactions.
ISRAEL: MAYOR ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF BRIBERY, FRAUD AND BREACH OF TRUST
On 10 August, the Times of Insrael reported that an unnamed mayor, a municipality’s director-general and 2 businesspeople have been detained by a police anti-corruption unit.
COMPLYING WITH OFAC’S TORNADO CASH SANCTIONS: KEY QUESTIONS AND CHALLENGES
On 9 August, Elliptic issued a Q&A outlining some key questions and issues related to the Tornado Cash sanctions imposed by OFAC, and offering thoughts on how compliance teams can respond.
BANGLADESH BANK HEIST: PHILIPPINES CASINO OWNER GETS ACCOUNTS UNFROZEN
On 8 August, Casino.org reported that the Philippines Court of Appeals has upheld an order to unfreeze the bank accounts of a Chinese Filipino casino owner embroiled in the 2016 theft. The casino had received $21 million wired by a local foreign exchange brokerage service used for remittances. The money was part of the $101 million stolen by cybercriminals from the Bangladesh Bank’s account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank using malware. The casino owner told a Philippine Senate tribunal he had been told to expect the money by 2 high-rolling junket agents, and claimed that the 2 men owed him $10 million in gambling debts, with the remaining $11 million being distributed among their junket clients. The casino owner was cleared by the tribunal and has repaid $15 million back to the Bangladesh Bank.
IRAN PLACES FIRST CRYPTO-FUNDED IMPORT ORDER
On 9 August, Coindesk reported that the government had amended the country’s digital assets laws 2 years ago to allow locally mined crypto to be used for imports payments. The import order is said to be worth $10 million.
US PRIVATE MILITARY AND SECURITY COMPANIES (PMSC) AND THE RISKS OF CORRUPTION AND CONFLICT
On 9 August, a new report from Transparency International catalogues conflict and corruption around the word – harm it says is caused by leaving the privatisation of national security to grow and operate without proper regulation. It argues that exploitation of global conflicts is becoming a bloodier business. Most private military and security firms are registered in the US, so Transparency International is calling on Congress to take a leading role in pushing through meaningful reforms under its jurisdiction when draft legislation faces review in September. The time has also come, it says, for accreditation standards to be enforced rather than only encouraged, at both a national and international level.
KIM JONG UN MEGAYACHT SPOTTED AT SECLUDED BEACH WHILE LEADER OUT OF PUBLIC VIEW
On 10 August, NK Pro reported that satellite imagery showing the vessel near new mansions on east coast is a sign that Kim is vacationing. The 180-foot (55-metre) megayacht was moored at a beach on the Hodo Peninsula north of Wonsan. He is said to have other boats, including the largest, a 260-foot (80-metre) craft featuring an Olympic-sized pool and multi-story lounge.
DHS ADDS ENTITIES AND SETS PROCESSES TO REMOVE AND ADD ENTITIES TO THE UYGHUR FORCED LABOR PREVENTION ACT ENTITY LIST
On 9 August, Crowell reported that the Department of Homeland Security had added entities to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’s (UFLPA’s) Entity List, which serves as a consolidated register of the 4 lists, as required by the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act. At the same time, DHS also provided the process for listed entities to submit requests for removal from the UFLPA Entity List. The Act went into effect on 21 June and requires US Customs and Border Protection to “apply a rebuttable presumption that goods mined, produced, or manufactured by entities on the UFLPA Entity List are made with forced labour, and therefore, prohibited from importation into the US”.
PODCAST: “VERY BAD PEOPLE”
In the latest TRACE podcast, Patrick Alley, co-founder of Global Witness and author of “Very Bad People: The Inside Story of the Fight Against the World Network of Corruption”, joins the podcast to discuss the early days of his Global Witness investigations, how their efforts gained momentum and where we should be focusing our attention next.
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