OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 27

27 AUGUST 2022

RANSOMWARE ATTACKS JUMP AS NEW MALWARE STRAINS PROLIFERATE

On 25 August, Cyberscoop reported that new research by a cybersecurity firm claims that ransomware cases jumped 47% amid a rise in attacks involving newer strains of malicious software infecting targets. 

https://www.cyberscoop.com/ransomware-attacks-rise-lockbit-north-korea-lazarus/

https://newsroom.nccgroup.com/news/ncc-group-monthly-threat-pulse-july-2022-452756

RUSSIA BLOCKS UN NON-PROLIFERATION TREATY AGREEMENT OVER ZAPORIZHZHIA CLAUSE

On 27 August, the Guardian and others reported that an agreement that was aimed at bolstering the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) because Russia objected to a clause about control over the Zaporizhzhia power plant in Ukraine.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/aug/27/russia-blocks-un-nuclear-treaty-agreement-over-zaporizhzhia-clause

US STATE DEPARTMENT: SETTLEMENT IN EXPORT VIOLATIONS CASE BY EX-INTEL OPERATIVES

On 26 August, ANI News reported that a settlement had been reached in a case involving 3 former US intelligence employees who had been working as hackers for the UAE.  It is said that the men are to pay $1.68 million as part of the settlement.

https://www.aninews.in/news/world/us/us-state-department-says-reached-settlement-in-export-violations-case-by-ex-intel-operatives20220826214903/

IRS TARGETS CUSTOMERS OF CRYPTOCURRENCY PRIME DEALER SFOX IN LATEST JOHN DOE SUMMONS

On 16 August, an Alert from Greenberg Traurig reported that a federal court in California had authorised the IRS to serve a John Doe summons on OX Labs Inc (SFOX) and its subsidiaries, a cryptocurrency prime dealer for professional traders and institutional investors and has over 175,000 registered users.  The IRS will use this information in its investigation of taxpayers who have failed or potentially failed to comply with US tax laws regarding taxable income from cryptocurrency transactions.

https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2022/8/irs-targets-customers-of-cryptocurrency-prime-dealer-sfox-in-latest-john-doe-summons

14,632 PRIVATE JETS IN THE UNITED STATES – AROUND 62.5% OF THE WORLD’S FLEET

Blue Sky has reported that analysis of industry data by Airbus Corporate Jets (ACJ) found that, among private jets in the US, 37.5% are categorised as heavy or long-range, 36.5% as light, 20.5% as midsize and 5.5% as very light jets.

https://www.blueskynews.aero/issue-666/ACJ-analysis-reveals-scale-of-private-jet-fleet-in-the-US.html

FAR-RIGHT ONLINE FINANCING AND HOW TO COUNTER IT

A Policy Brief from the Global Center for Cooperative Security says that since the 9/11 attacks, there has been a significant increase in attacks attributable to violent extremists motivated by racial, ethnic, and anti-authority sentiment.  This Brief examines the online financing and support systems associated with US anti-authority and racially or ethnically motivated (AAREM) violent extremists.  It focuses on the threat as manifest in the USand to a lesser extent the transnational dimensions of AAREM violent extremist financing. It says that clear linkages between US and transnational violent extremists, especially within white supremacist and neo-Nazi circles, also extend to the world of financing.  It concludes with several policy solutions to better combat the financial support systems of AAREM violent extremists.

https://www.globalcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/GCCS_PB_Far-Right-Online-Financing-How-to-Counter-It-2022.pdf

UP TO 60% OF DISPOSABLE VAPES IN THE UK ARE ILLICIT

On 25 August, TJI reported that the UK Vaping Industry Association (UKVIA) estimates that between 40% and 60% of disposable vapes currently on sale in the country either do not comply with domestic laws or are counterfeit.

https://www.tobaccojournal.com/news/up-to-60-of-disposable-vapes-in-the-uk-are-illicit/

THE STRANGE DEATH OF SOMALI PIRACY

On 26 August, an opinion piece from Lloyds List says that, with no attacks on merchant vessels in the Indian Ocean for the past 4 years, leading shipping organisations have decreed the problem all over.  That’s as maybe, it says, but a resurgence can’t be ruled out until Somalia finds the stability it has not enjoyed for 30 years and more.

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1142059/The-strange-death-of-Somali-piracy

Meanwhile, on 24 August, it also reported that Somali piracy additional premiums set to stay for time being, as marine insurers will take their time to respond to industry trade associations’ decision to ditch high-risk area (HRA) designation for the Indian Ocean.

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1142034/Somali-piracy-additional-premiums-set-to-stay-for-time-being

UK: LAW COMMISSION LAUNCHES DIGITAL ASSETS CONSULTATION

On 26 August, Osborne Clarke commented on the recent Law Commission consultation commenting that UK businesses involved in crypto-token transactions have an opportunity to shape the future regulation of crypto-assets.

https://www.osborneclarke.com/insights/law-commission-launches-digital-assets-consultation

CHINA’S DEPENDENCE ON SEMICONDUCTORS FROM TAIWAN: ITS “SILICON SHIELD” AGAINST A CHINESE ATTACK

On 16 August, a paper from the Stimson Center in the US says that China depends on TSMC in Taiwan to make up 70% of the deficit in its own chip production, and TSMC also fabricates under contract 92% of the most advanced chips designed by US semiconductor companies.  This paper focuses on the semiconductor industry as a crucial part of broader US-China technological competition and considers 4 challenges for US semiconductor and policy towards China, including the possible longer-term consequences of US success in blocking China from acquiring the technology and machines needed to fabricate leading-edge chips.

https://www.stimson.org/2022/semiconductors-and-taiwans-silicon-shield/

THE UN ARMS TRADE TREATY (ATT): ASSESSING ITS IMPACT ON COUNTERING DIVERSION

A report from the Stimson Center on 25 August says that a core objective of the ATT is to prevent and eradicate the illicit trade of conventional arms and prevent their diversion. This report presents findings of research by the UN Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR), Conflict Armament Research (CAR), and the Stimson Center; and presents a new methodological tool that interested state parties to the ATT can use to assess the existence and efficacy of counter-diversion measures in their national context. It also takes stock of the ATT contributions to enhancing national and multilateral efforts to tackle diversion and discusses options and avenues to promote the establishment and strengthening of sustainable measures within the framework of the ATT that create an enabling environment for countering the diversion of conventional arms.  Overall, the study documents significant progress made by the states parties in strengthening their enabling environments to prevent diversion and suggests that the ATT has played a role in facilitating or initiating these changes.

https://www.stimson.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/UNIDIR_The_Arms_Trade_Treaty_Assessing_its_Impact_on_Countering_Diversion-1.pdf

INSIDE BRITAIN’S ALBANIAN MAFIA

On 26 August, the Mail Online published a report, claiming to have had exclusive access to police intelligence files, the author investigates the ruthless gang violence and drug factories that he says experts fear are being fuelled by a surge in illegal Channel crossings.  The NCA says Albanian organised crime groups have rapidly expanded their drugs empires in the UK. Whereas previously they were predominantly concerned with cocaine, a market they have dominated for 5 years, they have now branched out into the large-scale production of cannabis — squeezing out the Vietnamese as the main domestic growers.  The root of the problem of Albanian organised crime here goes back to the Kosovan war of 1998 and 1999, according to a senior official in the NCA’s Internal Far Europe Desk.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11150951/Inside-Britains-Albanian-Mafia-STEPHEN-WRIGHT-investigates-ruthless-gang-violence.html

ANALYSIS OF US CHEMICAL WEAPON AND WEAPONS PLUTONIUM STOCKPILE REDUCTIONS

On 16 August, an article published by the Central European Journal of International and Security Studies compares 2 representative cases involving analogous challenges but divergent outcomes: the nearly complete elimination of the US chemical weapon stockpile and stalled efforts to shrink the US weapons plutonium stockpile. 

https://www.cejiss.org/images/docs/Ahead_of_print/Tracy/Tracy_-_web.pdf

RUSSIAN AND THE CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: AN EXAMPLE OF A TACTICAL ALLIANCE

On 4 August, an article published by the Central European Journal of International and Security Studies evaluates cooperation between the CAR and Russia from the perspective of forming a tactical alliance.  It says that while the alliance may be seen as rational, the authors expect that this type of opportunistic alliance might not survive after the initial reasons for its formation disappear, especially provided that the partners are asymmetrical and geographically far from each other.

https://www.cejiss.org/images/docs/Ahead_of_print/Hayrapetyan_Kucera/Hayrapetyan_Kuera_-_web2.pdf

MOROCCO’S REGULARISATION OF CANNABIS PRODUCTION

On 22 August, ENACT Africa commented on a law passed last year regularising the plant’s production for medical, cosmetic and industrial purposes, while production and consumption for recreational purposes remained strictly prohibited.  It argues that delays in implementing the law are creating frustration and mistrust between farmers and the government – and opportunities for traffickers to continue their trade.  This has implications both for the country and the region more broadly.

https://enactafrica.org/enact-observer/a-leap-into-the-unknown-moroccos-regularisation-of-cannabis-production

CASE STUDY: HOW PRE-TRANSFER EXPORT CONTROLS HELPED TO PREVENT THE FURTHER DIVERSION OF WEAPONS AND AMMUNITION TO EMBARGOED ACTORS IN SUDAN AND SOUTH SUDAN

On 25 August, Conflict Armament Research published the second case study drawing on findings from CAR field investigations of weapon diversion in conflict-affected locations to illustrate how a diversion analysis framework (DAF) can be applied to real-world cases; and how pre-transfer export controls helped to prevent the further diversion of weapons and ammunition to EU-embargoed actors.

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/3fa7e22ca532459cb9f87a55059c2b06

BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP TRANSPARENCY IN MONGOLIA

On 18 August, the Brookings Institution published Part 2 of a report saying that Mongolia is strengthening its beneficial ownership processes, laws, and systems, and a joint initiative of the Brookings Institution and Results for Development, is supporting actors in Mongolia identifying implementation gaps and viable solutions to concrete challenges.  Part 2 focuses on how to tackle complex implementation challenges, based on lessons from other countries and a discussion of Mongolia’s context. 

https://www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/GS_08192022_BeneficialOwnershipTransparencyMongolia.pdf

UAE: AML OFFICE HALF-YEAR REPORT

On 25 August, the Khaleej Times reported that Executive Office of Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorism Financing had reviewed the first 6 months of 2022.  The article contained the key takeaways.  These include the signing of 5 new international judicial cooperation agreements by the UAE with the US, Russia, Netherlands, Denmark, and Italy.

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/uae/uae-priority-remains-to-detect-investigate-and-understand-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing

US CONGRESS’ CRYPTO CRASH COURSE

In the September issue of The Banking Law Journal says that, slowly but surely, the US Congress is positioning itself to establish an overarching regulatory framework for cryptocurrency issuance and trading.  In light of recent market volatility, the authors argue that we will likely see Congress continuing to educate itself on key policy issues and gearing up to act on this goal in the coming months. 

https://www.kslaw.com/attachments/000/009/861/original/9-1-22_The_Banking_Law_Journal.pdf?1661467491

JAPAN: NPO MEASURES AGAINST THE FINANCING OF TERRORISM

On 27 August, ACAMS reported that in July the Cabinet Office of the Government of Japan published guidance for measures against the financing of terrorism by non-profit organisations (NPO).  The guidance is in Japanese, of course.

https://www.npo-homepage.go.jp/news/npo-tf-risk

JAPAN WILL REVIEW CORPORATE TAX RULES FOR CRYPTO COMPANIES FROM 2023

On 25 August, being Crypto reported that the Japanese government has announced that it will begin reviewing the crypto tax rules for corporations from 2023.

https://beincrypto.com/japan-review-corporate-tax-rules-crypto-companies-2023/

COOKING OIL ‘BIOFUEL CRIMEWAVE’ AS CROOKS EXPLOIT SCOTS LOVE OF FRIED FOOD

On 26 August, the Scottish Daily Express reported that police say criminals are stealing used cooking oil by masquerading as legitimate recycling companies to fool business owners, before the liquid, which is worth around 35p to 40p per litre, is then transported south to England and refined into biofuels.

https://www.scottishdailyexpress.co.uk/news/scottish-news/cooking-oil-biofuel-crimewave-crooks-27841333

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FORBES ANALYSIS OF 157 CRYPTO EXCHANGES FINDS THAT 51% OF THE DAILY BITCOIN TRADING VOLUME BEING REPORTED IS LIKELY BOGUS

On 26 August, Forbes magazine asked can you trust what your crypto exchange or e-brokerage reports about trading in the most important digital currency?  It says that one of the most common criticisms of bitcoin is pervasive “wash trading” (a form of fake volume) and poor surveillance across exchanges.  It explains that wash trading benefits exchanges because it allows them to appear to have more volume than they actually do, potentially encouraging more legitimate trading.  Forbes undertook a study evaluated 157 crypto exchanges across the world, and the article presents its findings.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/javierpaz/2022/08/26/more-than-half-of-all-bitcoin-trades-are-fake/?sh=3f51df666681

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DEVELOPER AT US-SANCTIONED TORNADO CASH WORKED FOR COMPANY LINKED TO RUSSIAN SECURITY AGENCY

On 25 August, an article from CNAS in Fortune magazine was concerned with Alexey Pertsev, a Netherlands resident, arrested and extradited to the US on suspicion of “involvement in concealing criminal financial flows and facilitating money laundering”.  It reports claims that he was formerly employed by a company linked to Russian security agency FSB.  He was arrested in connection with Tornado Cash, which the US Treasury sanctioned on 8 August, alleging that hacking groups including North Korea’s Lazarus Group have used the service to launder billions of dollars. 

https://fortune.com/2022/08/25/tornado-cash-developer-russian-fsb-linked-company/

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ARMS TRAFFICKING: ADDRESSING THE SYSTEMIC GAPS SHOULD BE THE FOCUS

A post on the Lawfare blog on 25 August argues that, with Viktor Bout back in the news headlines amid talk of a potential prisoner swap, addressing the systemic gaps that allowed Bout to operate, many of which persist, should be the focus.  The debate over Bout’s release is a timely reminder that the modus operandi he used to conduct much of his activity, and many of the loopholes and opportunities he exploited, remain available to his less famous successors today.  It says that the heart of the problem is not so much Bout himself but, rather, the persistent failures by national governments to address the loopholes that allow traffickers to conduct their activities. While the risks posed by Bout are likely to be limited, the tried and tested modus operandi used by his networks endure.  Fundamentally, today’s proliferators and arms smugglers continue to rely on many of the same tricks of the trade and enforcement loopholes that Bout did 2 decades ago.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/it-player-mostly-game

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 26

Was going to visit ComiCon, which opened this afternoon, fortifying myself with a nice walk around the gardens of the nearby Biomuseo and watching the iguanas. In the end did not go into the convention, put off by the huge queues, and the fact I seemed to be the oldest person anywhere in the convention centre or its grounds…

26 AUGUST 2022

ISLE OF MAN: 3 ENTITIES ADDED TO MYANMAR SANCTIONS LISTS

On 26 August, the Isle of Man followed the UK in advising that INTERNATIONAL GATEWAYS GROUP OF COMPANIES LIMITED; SKY ONE CONSTRUCTION COMPANY LTD; and STAR SAPPHIRE GROUP OF COMPANIES had been added to the sanctions lists.

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/aug/26/financial-sanctions-myanmar/

BVI AMENDS AML REGULATIONS TO EMBRACE NEW INDUSTRIES

On 25 August, Ogier provided an update saying that virtual assets businesses and the gaming industry will be brought into scope under new amendments to AML regulations in the BVI.

https://www.ogier.com/publications/bvi-amends-aml-regulations-to-embrace-new-business-areas

WHEN WILL A CONFIDENTIALITY OBLIGATION OWED TO A THIRD-PARTY TRUMP A DISCLOSURE OBLIGATION IN ENGLISH PROCEEDINGS?

On 25 August, an article from Travers Smith was concerned with a recent High Court case which it says provides an interesting insight into the factors that will be weighed by the court in determining whether a confidentiality obligation owed to a third party should obviate the need for a party to provide inspection of relevant documents in English litigation.  The case involved the Argentinian Government attempting to withhold from a court case a large number of documents citing confidentiality.  These documents involved an inspection carried out by the IMF.  The article reflects the balancing act English courts attempt when faced with such a situation.

https://www.traverssmith.com/knowledge/knowledge-container/when-will-a-confidentiality-obligation-owed-to-a-third-party-trump-a-disclosure-obligation-in-english-proceedings/ 

FINLAND: TAX ADMINISTRATION REVEALED IDENTIFICATION OF MALICIOUS COMPANIES SET UP FOR TAX EVASION “AS A SERVICE”

On 16 August, an article from WTS Global reported on a claim that many businesses had been operating a “malicious activity” to enable investors evade Finnish taxes, and that the Tax Administration estimated that the tax evasion by such companies has resulted in a tax loss of €80 million in Finland in 2018 to 2021.  The alleged fraud involved the “cum-ex” trading processes previously reported in other EU states, particularly Germany.

https://wts.com/global/publishing-article/20220817-finland-fs-nl~publishing-article?language=en

JAPAN: THE MYSTERY OF SOFTBANK’S ZERO TAX BILL

On 20 August, Nikkei Asia published an article abouts its investigation that it says was triggered by a simple question: isn’t it strange that a company with trillions of yen in profits has paid zero corporate tax for years, even if doing so is legal?  It found that since 2007 the total amount paid was about 0.25% of the $48 billion in pre-tax profits the bank earned during that period. 

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/The-Big-Story/The-mystery-of-SoftBank-s-zero-tax-bill

US AND CHINA NEAR DEAL TO ALLOW AUDIT INSPECTION OF NEW YORK-LISTED CHINESE COMPANIES

On 25 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that the US and China are said to be nearing an agreement that would allow US accounting regulators to travel to Hong Kong to inspect the audit records of Chinese companies listed in New York, resolving a long stand-off.  It says that securities regulators in Beijing are making arrangements for US-listed Chinese companies and their accounting firms to transfer their audit working papers and other data from mainland China to Hong Kong, it is claimed.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/deal-nears-to-let-u-s-inspect-chinese-company-audit-records-in-hong-kong-11661435886

EUROPEAN SANCTIONS AND ILLICIT FINANCE MONITORING AND ANALYSIS NETWORK (EURO SIFMANET)

RUSI has announced this new collaborative network, led by the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at RUSI, in collaboration with RUSI Europe, and supported by the National Endowment for Democracy.  The network aims to bolster the response of EU Member States to the national security threat posed by illicit finance to democracies and to provide viable policy recommendations.  SIFMANet will bring together European civil society and academic experts to engage with governments and their private sectors in boosting the ability of the EU to think about and respond to illicit finance beyond the criminal dimension.

https://www.rusi.org/explore-our-research/projects/european-sanctions-and-illicit-finance-monitoring-and-analysis-network-euro-sifmanet

AUSTRALIA: FOREIGN MINISTER TO HAND OVER EXTRA EVIDENCE TO RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE ALEXANDER ABRAMOV OVER SANCTIONS LISTING

On 26 August, News.com reported that lawyers for Foreign Minister Penny Wong have agreed to hand over extra evidence to Russian billionaire Alexander Abramov after he was named in a sanction targeting dozens of oligarchs.  Abramov is suing Ms Wong and wants the sanction removed. 

https://www.news.com.au/national/courts-law/next-move-in-russian-billionaire-alexander-abramovs-sanction-saga/news-story/f99f75242d88a3bcc7b79fe4fa3ad2fc

UK: BMA TO SEEK CLARITY FOR GP DOCTORS’ EXEMPTION FROM AML INITIATIVE

On 26 August, Pulse reported that GP practices and PCN may have to register under an anti-money laundering scheme despite a British Medical Association warning this may have ‘unintended consequences’, saying that it remains unclear whether the scheme applies to GP surgeries under the Trust Registration Service (TRS) rules. 

https://www.pulsetoday.co.uk/news/practice-personal-finance/bma-to-seek-clarity-for-gp-exemption-from-anti-money-laundering-initiative/

VENEZUELAN BUSINESSMAN INDICTED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

On 25 August, Global Investigation Review reported that Rafael Rixon Rafael Morena Oropeza allegedly bribed a Venezuelan government official to install a high-ranking official in a joint venture between the country’s state oil company and Chevron.  A US DoJ news release on 24 August provided details of the allegations dating from 2015 to at least 2019.

https://globalinvestigationsreview.com/just-anti-corruption/article/venezuelan-businessman-indicted-money-laundering

DISCLOSURE: A GUIDE TO SEEKING NORWICH PHARMACAL ORDERS

On 25 August, Out-Law published this guide to obtaining a Norwich Pharmacal Order (NPO) – a disclosure order available in England and Wales which allows information to be obtained from third parties who have become ‘mixed up’ in wrongdoing, helping victims to investigate, pursue those ultimately responsible and recover their losses. They are often used where a victim of wrongdoing does not know the identity of the wrongdoer but can point to a third party who has this information. They can also be used to trace assets and obtain other information needed by the victim to put together its case against the wrongdoer. 

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/guides/disclosure-guide-seeking-norwich-pharmacal-orders

NOTARY AMONG THOSE ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED DRUG MONEY LAUNDERING IN THE CANARY ISLANDS

On 23 August, Canarian Weekly reported that police have made 14 arrests, and another 5 are being investigated judicially after they dismantled a criminal organisation that has been laundering money made from drug trafficking in Tenerife Gran Canaria and Fuerteventura.  Among the detainees, there is a notary who, with the collaboration of one of his staff, allegedly falsified the data when notarising real estate transactions.

https://www.canarianweekly.com/posts/A-notary-is-arrested-for-drug-money-laundering-in-the-Canary-Islands

HONG KONG: MONETARY AUTHORITY DISCIPLINARY ACTION AGAINST COMMERZBANK AG, HONG KONG BRANCH FOR CONTRAVENTIONS OF AML/CFT ORDINANCE

On 26 August, the HKMA advised that, following an investigation and disciplinary proceedings for Commerzbank AG, Hong Kong Branch under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance, it has imposed a pecuniary penalty of HK$6,000,000 against the branch for contraventions of the AMLO.  The control lapses identified in the investigation relate to conducting CDD before establishing business relationships during the period between April 2012 and June 2016.  The branch also failed to establish and maintain effective procedures for carrying out its duties under the AMLO in relation to conducting CDD and implementing name screening mechanism of customers’ beneficial owners during this period.

https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202208/26/P2022082600527.htm

AML AND THE ART MARKET: FINES AND FINE PRINT

On 26 August, Mishcon de Reya published an article about the British Art Market Federation updated guidance, approved by the UK Government, to help the art market interpret the AML/CFT regulations which now affect it.

https://www.mishcon.com/news/anti-money-laundering-the-art-market-fines-and-fine-print

US: SUMMARY OF ACTIONS TAKEN PURSUANT TO EXPORT CONTROLS IMPOSED ON RUSSIA IN RESPONSE TO ITS AGGRESSION AGAINST UKRAINE

On 26 August, the EU sanctions blog reported that the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) had released a summary of the actions it has taken pursuant to export controls imposed on Russia in response to its aggression against Ukraine

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/08/bis-issues-summary-of-russia-export-control-actions/

https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/documents/about-bis/newsroom/press-releases/3123-2022-08-24-press-release-commerce-actions-in-support-of-ukraine/file

US: 4th CENTURY ANTIQUITY VENERATED AS SHRINE IN KATHMANDU VALLEY UNTIL STOLEN IN 1960S RETURNED TO NEPAL

A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 26 August advised that the item, the Durga Stele, resurfaced on the New York art market in 2022 and was seized by the Antiquities Trafficking Unit (ATU).

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/black-rock-durga-stele-returned-people-nepal

BIG WIN FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS AT THE SEC

On 26 August, a release on Mondo Visione reported that the SEC had adopted 2 rules amendments of its whistleblower program. The amendments allow the SEC to better award whistleblowers who voluntarily provide the agency with original information that leads to successful enforcement actions.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/big-win-for-whistleblowers-at-the-sec-commission-approves-rule-changes-to-enha/

PERU: PROSECUTORS REQUEST A 3-YEAR TRAVEL BAN FOR FIRST LADY

On 26 August, OCCRP reported that prosecutors have asked a court to prevent the First Lady Lilia Paredes from leaving the country for at least 3 years since she is under investigation for organised crime and money laundering.  The same ban was requested for her brothers, Walter and David Paredes, as well as for Hugo Espino Lucana, who has been released from prison after reaching a plea deal.  She is accused of leading a criminal group that secured public works contracts fraudulently with the help of high-ranking officials.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16699-peru-prosecutors-request-a-three-year-travel-ban-for-first-lady

US: AUDITOR FACES MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES RELATED TO AN INTERNATIONAL ROMANCE SCAM

A DoJ news release on 26 August advised that Charles K. Egunjobi, age 48, from Maryland had been charged with operating an unlicensed money service business relating to numerous online romance scams. It is alleged that he facilitated the money laundering operations of a romance scheme involving a co-defendant in 2019-20, and involving the transfer money or vehicles from the US to Nigeria.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/pr/district-columbia-auditor-faces-money-laundering-charges-related-international-romance

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US: GAO REPORT – ACTION NEEDED TO IMPROVE DoJ STATISTICS ON USE OF REPORTS ON SUSPICIOUS FINANCIAL TRANSACTIONS

On 25 August, the Government Accountability Office issued a report saying that illegal financial activity can threaten safety and national security. Banks must report potentially illegal transactions to FinCEN, which makes the reports available to law enforcement agencies to help with investigations.  However, law enforcement agencies usually don’t track data on the usefulness of these reports, so FinCEN can’t provide feedback to banks about the reports’ effectiveness.  To facilitate this feedback, the DoJ is required to provide information about the usefulness of these reports, but it doesn’t collect adequate data to do so.  The report contains recommendations address these issues.

https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-22-105242.pdf

https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-22-105242-highlights.pdf

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