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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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