To the end of July, Panama collected $536 million more tax than last year, but this was still 2.7% below the amount budgeted for. Tax revenue is said to have totalled $3.033 billion, which is $82.6 million less than was planned.
22 AUGUST 2022
ISLE OF MAN: 2 RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCES
On 22 August, the Isle of Man advised of the granting of 2 General Licence. One licence, allowing insurance payments, was amended to clarify that it includes certain types of insurance. The other is a replacement for an earlier licence and allows for the business continuation of certain subsidiaries of Evraz plc, the licence now expiring on 31 March 2023.
HM TREASURY INQUIRY INTO CRYPTO-ASSETS
On 13 July, Shearman & Sterling LLP published an article about a HM Treasury inquiry into the role of crypto-assets in the UK and their regulatory framework. The inquiry poses questions on a range of subjects, including the likelihood of digital currencies (e.g., stablecoins) replacing traditional fiat currencies, the risks and opportunities posed by crypto-assets and the environmental implications of crypto-asset technology, as well as a range of questions on the optimal approach to regulation for the industry. Responses are called for by 12 September.
ENGLISH GOLD MINING COMPANY FILES FOR ADMINISTRATION AFTER SOLE RUSSIAN BUYER FACES SANCTIONS
On 19 August, Rahman Ravelli reported that Petropavlovsk PLC filed following sanctions imposed on its sole gold buyer and major lender, Gazprombank. The High Court granted the administrators of Petropavlovsk PLC permission to enter into a sale and purchase agreement (SPA) with UMMC, a Russian company. It was held that the urgency of the situation meant that it was appropriate that the application should proceed regardless of any licence being sought from OFSI – although the administrators considered that no sanctions violation would have been involved.
EU: RESPONSIBLE SHIP RECYCLING – CRIMINAL CONSEQUENCES FOR THOSE WHO FAIL TO COMPLY
On 19 August, an article from Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP followed a court case in Norway which upheld a 6-month prison sentence imposed on a shipowner who attempted to illegally export hazardous waste from Norway in the form of the 38,282-tonne barge carrier. It considers the ship recycling regulatory landscape which is complex, wide-ranging and may affect not only the ship-owning company but also shipyards, brokers, insurance companies, banks and many other entities involved in the transaction chain with serious criminal, commercial and damaging reputational consequences for failure to comply. The complications include 2 relevant EU Regulations, one of which gives effect to the Basel Convention Ban Amendment and prohibits the shipment of ‘waste’ from the EU to non-OECD countries. The other is the EU Ship Recycling Regulation, which applies to EU-flagged commercial ships above 500 tonnes, and has been retained in UK law post-Brexit in respect of UK-flagged ships.
UNIDENTIFIED JET FOUND IN GUATEMALA – PRESUMED ON DRUGS FLIGHT
It has been reported that a US-registered Gulfstream G III business jet had been found in the San Luis area. It appears that that the jet was on an illegal flight and sustained damage during landing, and that the crew managed to escape with the cargo they were carrying.
THE ENGLISH CRIMINAL BAR ON STRIKE
On 22 August, the Criminal Bar Association advised of the results of its most recent ballot of members. The majority opted for a continuation of existing action. In June, The Secret Barrister published 6 things one needed to know about the action.
NEW ZEALAND TO SANCTION RUSSIAN OFFICIALS IN OCCUPIED REGIONS OF UKRAINE
On 22 August, Devdiscourse reported that New Zealand will sanction more officials installed by the Kremlin in separatist regimes in occupied areas of Ukraine. The measures will affect 48 officials and 1 entity.
UK: ‘SWIFT, CERTAIN, TOUGH: NEW CONSEQUENCES FOR DRUG POSSESSION’ WHITE PAPER
On 22 August, the Home Office says that the results of this consultation 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. The consultation closes on 10 October.
BERNIE ECCLESTONE DENIES FRAUD OVER SINGAPORE ASSETS
On 22 August, the BBC and others reported that Bernie Ecclestone, 91, has denied fraud over an alleged failure to declare about $650m in overseas assets. He is accused of failing to declare a trust in Singapore with a bank account containing funds that at the time would have been worth more than £400 million.
UK: RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE – CROWN SERVANTS, CONTRACTORS, & THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS
On 22 August, HM Treasury advised of a new General Licence covering actions by Crown servants and a contractor who is not a Crown Servant, but who has been contracted by the Crown to provide goods or services within or in relation to the Crown’s operations in Russia.
CV FRAUD CASE HIGHLIGHTS NEED FOR DUE DILIGENCE IN RECRUITMENT
An article from Out-Law on 22 August says that a new ruling by the UK Supreme Court highlights the importance of conducting thorough due diligence in the recruitment process. In the case a man was prosecuted on charges of fraud and deception in 2017 and sentenced to serve 2 years in prison after claims he had made about his qualifications and experience in applying for a job and 2 other paid roles were exposed as untrue.
CHINA TO FORGIVE 23 ‘BELT AND ROAD’ LOANS TO 17 AFRICAN COUNTRIES
On 22 August, Out-Law reported that China will forgive 23 loans for 17 African countries which had matured by the end of 2021, foreign minister Wang Yi has announced. This follows cancellation of at least 94 interest-free loans amounting to over $3.4 billion in Africa between 2000 and 2019.
FORMER HP PLANNING MANAGER SENTENCED TO 3 YEARS IN PRISON IN $5+ MILLION WIRE FRAUD SCHEME
A news release from the US DoJ on 18 August advised that Shelbee Szeto, 30, had been sentenced to 36 months in prison in connection with her scheme to defraud her former employer out of more than $5 million. He was employed by HP Inc as an executive assistant and finance planning manager from approximately August 2017 until June of 2021. In these roles, Szeto was responsible for making payments to HP vendors and was issued multiple HP commercial credits cards to make the payments on HP’s behalf.
RUSSIA FIGHTS EFFORTS TO DECLARE IT AN EXPORTER OF ‘BLOOD DIAMONDS’
On 16 August, Yahoo News reported that a new drama is unfolding over another of Russia’s major exports: diamonds. Russia is the world’s largest supplier of small diamonds. The US and other countries are taking action that could officially label Russian diamonds as “conflict diamonds,” claiming their sale helps pay for Russia’s deadly aggression in Ukraine.
FCA FINES CITIGROUP’S INTERNATIONAL BROKER-DEALER £12.6 MILLION FOR FAILURES RELATING TO THE DETECTION OF MARKET ABUSE
A news release from the FCA on 19 August advised that it has fined Citigroup Global Markets Limited for failing to properly implement the Market Abuse Regulation (MAR) trade surveillance requirements relating to the detection of market abuse.
BULGARIAN AUTHORITIES WERE TELLING “CRYPTO QUEEN” RUJA IGNATOVA WHEN IT WAS SAFE TO RETURN
On 19 August, Novinite reported claims that that until recently Ruja Ignatova had her own people in government circles in Sofia who warned her of upcoming actions from the law enforcement agencies and advised her when to leave the country so as not to get arrested. She is one of the FBI 10 Most Wanted fugitives.
BRAZILIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL TEAMED WITH THE “BITCOIN PHAROAH” TO HELP HIM LAUNDER MONEY
On 22 August, Todayq reported that the home of a local government official in Brazil had been raided by law enforcement officials who believe he is the leader of a criminal organisation that has been laundering money using cryptocurrencies, together with an infamous figure known as “the Bitcoin Pharaoh” – Glaidson Acácio dos Santos. It says that authorities and public prosecutors think the councilman was the leader of a “criminal organisation” that oversaw extensive “corruption” and used “false documents”.
20 NEW ACTIVE FCPA-RELATED INVESTIGATIONS DISCLOSED SINCE 1 JANUARY 2020
A post on the FCPA Blog on 22 August advised this news and provided a breakdown of those 20 new investigations that are ongoing.
UK: NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE ALLOWS BANKS TO TAKE PAYMENT OF BANK FEES FROM FROZEN ACCOUNTS
On 22 August, HM Treasury announced a new General Licence of indefinite duration under which a bank is allowed to take payment of bank fees from frozen accounts.
WEBINAR: THE UK’S PLAN FOR TRADE – WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR AND HOW YOU CAN HAVE YOUR SAY
On 22 August, the Institute of Export and International Trade held a webinar about plans for a new Target Operating Model (TOM) for the GB border. This new plan, which the UK Government is aiming to introduce at the end of 2023, would include the digitalisation of customs and sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) controls. It is expected to publish the Target Operating Model in the autumn, following extensive consultation with industry partners.
RUSSIA SANCTIONS: ADMINISTRATORS REPORTEDLY FLAGGED 2 TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING THE MOSCOW STOCK EXCHANGE AND SBERBANK TO OFSI
On 22 August, the EU Sanctions blog reported that administrators overseeing the wind-down of Sberbank CIB, Sberbank’s UK investment banking arm are said to have reported 2 transactions to the UK sanctions office.
ALBANIAN ESPIONAGE: RUSSIANS, UKRAINIAN CHARGED, CZECHS ARRESTED
On 22 August, EurActiv reported that Albanian police formally charged with espionage 2 Russian and 1 Ukrainian citizen, previously arrested for trying to enter a restricted military zone and then spraying military guards with apparent nerve paralysis spray. Earlier that day, 4 people of Czech nationality were arrested for entering a defunct military factory in Polican in the country’s south.
FRANCE TO PUSH PRIVATE JET BANS AT EU MINISTERS MEETING
On 21 August, EurActiv reported that the Minister of Transport has said he is ready to put banning private jet flights on the agenda of the EU transport ministers meeting in October following public backlash from revelations regarding the private jet emissions of France’s wealthy. If an outright ban is not an option, the Minister said he is ready to “act and regulate private jet flights”.
[Note: France is an important manufacturer of large business jets, produced by Dassault Aviation; and Airbus offers VIP versions of its airliners]
VIDEO: KYC PROGRAMS FOR HIGHER-RISK CUSTOMERS AND NEWER AND EVOLVING PRODUCTS
On 22 August, AML Rightsource published a 20-minute video in which a panel of experts in the US look at a range of products including, crypto products, DeFI, P2P, marijuana related businesses, and online gambling.
ZIMBABWE: IS A COMPANY TURN-AROUND BEING TURNED INTO A MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME?
On 22 August, The Insider said that insiders are saying because there is no way Boustead Beef could have intended to invest US$400 million into the Cold Storage Company. That company has been re-opened with reports that Boustead Beef had pumped US$24 million into the business, but the article alleges that it was impossible for Boustead Beef to have pumped that kind of money into the CSC.
CHINESE MONEY LAUNDERING BOOSTS DRUG TRAFFICKING IN US
On 22 August, an article in The Hill says that Chinese organised crime has taken over money laundering for Mexican cartels, providing a more efficient system for transferring drug sales profits to Mexico. This is said to have increased net profits for the cartels and empowered them to expand their operations. It is said that Chinese had perfected a cheaper, quicker process than the traditional “Black Market Peso Exchange” system which employed trade-based money laundering processes. It is said that new arrangements are successful because there are few restrictions on, or compliance programs that target, bank-to-bank transfers in China – since no funds leave China, there are no international transactions to monitor.
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