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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
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.
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.
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.
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