21 August 2022
FBI BOARD RUSSIAN OWNED SUPERYACHT IN ANTIGUA
On 20 August, Superyacht News from eSysman reported that FBI and “INTERPOL” had boarded the Alpha Nero, owned by Andre Guryev, which has been docked in Antigua for some time.
2 RUSSIANS AND A UKRAINIAN ARRESTED AFTER SUSPECTED SPYING RAID ON ALBANIAN ARMS FACTORY
On 21 August, the Observer reported that 2 Russians and a Ukrainian have been arrested after an apparent bungled spying raid on a military base and arms factory in central Albania. It explains that during the summer holidays Albania is visited by many Russians and Ukrainian tourists, but that the Gramsh military base is more than 70 km away from the beaches.
MAGAZINE SPREAD OF ‘MOST BEAUTIFUL HOUSE IN AMERICA’ CONCEALS ALLEGEDLY STOLEN CAMBODIAN RELICS
On 15 August, ICIJ reported that photographs featured in Architectural Digest stories on the homes of a billionaire family offer clues to investigators struggling to reclaim lost cultural heritage and shed light on the secretive private antiquities trade. The January 2021 issue of the magazine featured a remodelled, $42 million San Francisco residence described as a Spanish Renaissance Revival palacio. One impressive image showed a 2-story central courtyard with several empty pedestals off to one side. However, ICIJ says, the pedestals weren’t actually empty, though: the photo had been altered and another version of the same photo, discovered by reporters on the website of the home’s architect, shows ancient Khmer sculptures resting on the same pedestals. It says that the Condé Nast publication said by email that the magazine published a photo that did not show the relics because of “unresolved publication rights around select artworks”.
CAN THE PRIVATE SECTOR HELP CUT RUSSIA’S SILICON LIFELINE?
On 19 August, a Commentary from RUSI highlights the challenges of industry outreach and building private-public partnerships to ensure export controls bite. This came after a report showed widespread reliance on imported electronics in such a range of Russian systems abandoned or destroyed on the battlefields of Ukraine. The Commentary considers the nature of Russia’s procurement efforts, and what can be done to counter them, but argues that the advantage is often with those running the illicit procurement networks rather than those seeking to counter them.
CONGO-BRAZZAVILLE: PRESIDENT’S SON SUSPECTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING IN FRANCE
On 19 August, All Africa reported that French authorities have seized a mansion, in the upscale suburbs of Paris at the end of June, suspected of belonging to Denis Christel Sassou Nguesso son of the Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso.
CANADA: HOW THE CULLEN REPORT IS ATTEMPTING TO CLEAN HOUSE
On 19 August, an article from the Chartered Public Accountants of Canada explains that the report on the situation in British Columbia was frank and unsparing in conclusions, stating that the money laundering activity in areas like gambling and real estate represents “a significant problem requiring strong and decisive action”, and that in British Columbia money laundering is “flourishing”. The report’s 101 recommendations range from the general to the specific, ranging from tighter controls on casinos, money services businesses and mortgage brokers, to more transparent land ownership records and the dismantling of bureaucratic walls that prevent government agencies from collaborating on money laundering investigations. It also urged the establishment of an AML commissioner to ensure collaboration among various stakeholders and also provide strategic oversight. The work of federal agencies such as the RCMP and FINTRAC in combatting money laundering is characterised as ineffective. The article asks what happens next?
GUIDE TO COMPLIANCE WITH CANADA’S AML/CFT LEGISLATION
The Chartered Public Accountants of Canada has provided this guide, pointing out that accountants and accounting firms engaged in activities covered by the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act (PCMLTFA) have specific obligations as reporting entities to perform prescribed requirements within specified timelines. The guide is said to provide insights into the AML/CFT regime and its many changes to ensure CPA are well-equipped to fulfil potential obligations as required by the legislation and regulations.
INDIA: HUAWEI CEO SECURES BAIL FROM DELHI COURT IN TAX EVASION PROBE
On 19 August, Inc 42 reported that a court has granted conditional bail to Huawei Telecommunications’ CEO Li Xiongwei. It is reported that various Chinese players that are operating in India are under investigation on suspicion of evading taxes and moving revenue to Chinese parents. Some of these Chinese firms are Vivo, Oppo and Honor.
SOUTH KOREA: REPORTS ON INVESTMENT FROM MALTA RAISES CONCERNS ABOUT THE POSSIBILITY OF INCREASED “DIRTY MONEY” FLOWING INTO THE COUNTRY
On 19 August, The Shift reported that foreign direct investment (FDI) through money flows from Malta-based investors made the country one of the top 10 primary investors in South Korea between January and June of 2022. The prominence of such FDI from it and 3 other tax haven countries (the Cayman Islands, Guatemala and BVI), has raised concerns regarding the possibility of increased “dirty money” flowing into the country.
THE UK ONLINE SAFETY BILL EXPOSES A DISINFORMATION DIVIDE
On 11 August, an article from CSIS provides a summary of 3 significant points of controversy the Online Safety Bill faces, as well as some considerations from concurrent efforts to tackle false content across other governments. It identifies the 3 challenges as – disinformation has harmful consequences, but regulating legal content can create tension with free expression; misinformation and disinformation can spread on a wide range of services, where online users may have varying expectations for privacy and free expression; and there is no universal definition of false or harmful content, and government entities can face conflicts of interest in regulating content that may relate to them.
IRAN: STOCK EXCHANGE SUSPENDS LARGEST STEEL-MAKER FOLLOWING A PARLIAMENTARY REPORT ALLEGING CORRUPTION TO THE TUNE OF $3 BILLION
On 21 August, The New Arab reported that trading of the Mobarakeh Steel Company’s stocks has been suspended “due to uncertainties about the transparency of information”. Located in central Isfahan province, Mobarakeh plays a major role in Iran’s economy and is the owner of local football team Sepahan. It and several of its subsidiaries are subject to OFAC sanctions.
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