OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 5

A twelth case of monkeypox, a 31-year-old Panamanian who had close contact with another national, has been announced.

Meanwhile, in October, the Ministry of Health (Minsa) has scheduled the beginning of vaccination against covid-19 among the population of 6 months to 4 years of age.

5 SEPTEMBER 2022

RIO TINTO’S SERBIAN SAGA OFFERS A LESSON IN CRITICAL MINERALS

On 1 September, an article from Herbert Smith Freehills commented on the cancellation in January of what became known as the controversial Jadar Project, the proposed development by Rio Tinto of a $2.4 billion lithium mine in Serbia.  This followed months of countrywide protests over the potential environmental impact of the project, and the affair gave rise to intense speculation over the introduction of a possible blanket ban on lithium mining in Serbia.  It argues that the episode illustrates the reality that public acceptance is the currency on which mining companies trade, with the failure of the Jadar Project having exposed a breakdown in public trust and fault lines between the expectations of mining companies, governments and the wider public. 

https://hsfnotes.com/africa/2022/09/01/rio-tintos-serbian-saga-offers-a-lesson-in-critical-minerals/#page=1

DOES A US REVOCABLE TRUST NEED TO BE REGISTERED UNDER THE UK’S TRUST REGISTRATION SERVICE?

On 16 August, an article from Withers LLP posed this question the deadline for registering a wider group of trusts came along on 1 September.  Despite lobbying for bare trusts and nominee arrangements to be exempted from the requirements, there is no general exemption which would exclude a revocable trust, although there are exemptions in certain other scenarios, such as a bare trust holding a child’s bank account.  However, if a US revocable trust has no UK resident trustees, a requirement to register would only be triggered if a UK tax liability arises or if the trust acquired UK land. 

https://www.withersworldwide.com/en-gb/insight/does-a-us-revocable-trust-need-to-be-registered-under-the-uk-s-trust-registration-service

SANCTIONS: BANKRUPTCY TRUSTEES’ CLAIMS OVER FROZEN ASSETS

On 2 September, an article from Rahman Ravelli considered the issue of protecting assets that are subject to a proprietary claim and involving a Russian bank (now in liquidation) that brought a £1.35 billion fraud claim against the Russian fugitive Georgy Bedzhamov (its former president) and his sister Larisa Marku.  Bedzhamov had applied to the High Court to vary the existing worldwide freezing order to allow him to enter into a transaction with a third-party lender and developer to sell his Belgravia property to settle his past and future legal fees and to meet his ongoing living expenses.

https://www.rahmanravelli.co.uk/articles/bankruptcy-trustees-claims-over-frozen-assets/

NOW IN FORCE: THE LIMITED LIABILITY COMPANIES (JERSEY) LAW 2018

On 1 September, Mourant reported that this law has just entered into force on 1 September.  Like others, it is modelled on the Delaware Limited Liability Company Act.  It is said that LLC have been introduced in Jersey primarily as an alternative investment fund vehicle for US investors.  However, it is expected that, given their flexibility, LLC will also prove to be a useful alternative to companies outside the fund context as well.  The article provides basic information on this new (to Jersey) vehicle.

https://www.mourant.com/news-and-views/updates/updates-2022/now-in-force–the-limited-liability-companies-(jersey)-law-2018.aspx

PANAMA: NEARLY $1 MILLION CASH SEIZED IN POLICE RAID

On 4 September, Newsroom Panama reported that over $900,000 in cash had been seized from a Colombian national in a police raid.  It is said that the cash was hidden in a false bottom of a vehicle at a house and inside the home.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/nearly-one-million-cash-seized-in-police-raid-1

UK: CRYPTO EXCHANGES TO REPORT ANY SANCTIONS’ BREACHES TO OFSI

On 5 September, Decrypt reported that OFSI has ruled that cryptocurrency exchanges must report any suspected cryptocurrencies that may be used to evade Russian sanctions, and that exchanges must report the suspected breach to the agency and freeze the assets or face criminal charges or financial penalties.

https://decrypt.co/108959/uk-agency-warns-crypto-exchanges-report-any-sanctions-breaches

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/sep/04/crypto-exchanges-suspected-sanction-breaches-russia

MONTENEGRO’S OUTGOING PM URGES PROSECUTION TO INVESTIGATE TOBACCO SMUGGLING

On 5 September, Balkan Insight reported that the outgoing Prime Minister, Dritan Abazovic, had presented documentation about tobacco smuggling to the Special State Prosecutor’s Office, naming names.  Abazovic said he wanted to show the “road map” of cigarette smuggling in Montenegro.  Abazovic had accused organised crime groups that smuggle cigarettes and cocaine of funding some of the political groups behind the no-confidence vote which led to his demise.

https://balkaninsight.com/2022/09/05/montenegros-outgoing-pm-urges-prosecution-to-investigate-tobacco-smuggling/

AS RUSSIAN OIL EXPORTS RISE, GOVERNMENTS AND SHIPPING COMPANIES PLAY CAT-AND-MOUSE

On 2 September, an article from Defense One said that reports claim that Russia is exporting “more oil than ever” despite Western attempts to cut off one of Moscow’s economic lifelines and despite new tools and technologies that make it harder to hide energy shipments, and that some governments, it seems, are determined to buy Russia’s oil even if they don’t support its war on Ukraine.  

https://www.defenseone.com/technology/2022/09/russian-oil-exports-rise-governments-and-shipping-companies-play-cat-and-mouse/376720/

https://admin.govexec.com/media/iif082522_gmv_(1).pdf

DUBAI: $1.7 BILLION FRAUD SUSPECT CONTESTS EXTRADITION TO DENMARK

On 5 September, the Mail Online reported that Denmark wants hedge fund trader Sanjay Shah extradited from the UAE, but Shah´s lawyer Ali al-Zarooni argued in court that there were breaches in the extradition treaty signed between the 2 countries.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-11180963/In-Dubai–1-7B-Denmark-fraud-suspect-contests-extradition.html

UK: REGULATION OF ESTATE AGENTS

On 5 September, the House of Commons Library issued a briefing paper saying that estate agents are not currently required by law to be licensed or qualified.  In Scotland, where property law is different, a solicitor will manage much of the property sale.  In England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, unless an estate agent is also a qualified chartered surveyor, they will liaise with other professional bodies.  In recent years there has been calls for the Government to strengthen regulation by requiring all estate agents to be properly licensed and qualified. The briefing paper provides an outline of the current regulation of estate agents.  It also looks at past market studies and consultations and considers in detail recent government proposals to tighten regulation.

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN06900/SN06900.pdf

OECD: BUILDING MUTUAL TRUST AND IMPROVING COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN TAX ADMINISTRATIONS AND BUSINESS IS CRITICAL FOR IMPROVING VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE

On 5 September, a news release from the OECD says that effective taxation of large businesses would benefit from increased efforts to build trust and improve communication between tax administrations and Multinational Enterprises (MNE), according to a new report from the OECD.  As the international community prepares for the implementation of a new global minimum tax, it says, the results provide an important snap shot of current levels of trust and transparency — factors that will underpin the success of the new international tax rules.  The report focuses in particular on the challenges faced by developing countries.

https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/building-mutual-trust-and-improving-communications-between-tax-administrations-and-business-is-critical-for-improving-voluntary-compliance.htm

https://www.oecd.org/tax/tax-morale-ii-7587f25c-en.htm

MAYOR AMONG NEARLY 200 ‘NDRANGHETA SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN ITALY

On 5 September, OCCRP reported that Italian authorities arrested nearly 200 ‘Ndrangheta-affiliated suspects, including a local mayor – Mayor Marcello Manna, of the town of Rende, politicians and businessmen, in the province of Cosenza, a part of ‘Ndrangheta’s native region, Calabria. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16737-mayor-among-nearly-200-ndrangheta-suspects-arrested-in-italy

ISLAMIC STATE TURNS TO NFT TO SPREAD TERROR MESSAGE

On 4 September, the Wall Street Journal reported that a simple digital card praising Islamist militants for an attack on a Taliban position in Afghanistan last month is the first known non-fungible token (NFT) created and disseminated by a terrorist sympathiser, according to former senior US intelligence officials.  It is warned that IS could use such new techniques to sidestep Western efforts to eradicate their online fundraising and messaging.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/islamic-state-turns-to-nfts-to-spread-terror-message-11662292800

UK: £1.1 BILLION OF COVID SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IDENTIFIED AS FRAUD

On 3 September, Sky News reported that the figure is due to be published as part of new data from the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), giving a firmer indication of how widespread the issue could be.  While the £1.1 billion figure is lower than a £5 billion NAO estimate, it only accounts for fraud identified so far, meaning more could surface as further investigations take place.

https://news.sky.com/story/1-1bn-of-covid-small-business-loans-identified-as-fraud-claims-government-source-12688393

SAUDI ARABIA SEIZES RECORD 47 MILLION AMPHETAMINE PILLS HIDDEN IN FLOUR SHIPMENT

On 1 September, CNN reported that authorities in Saudi Arabia have confiscated 47 million amphetamine pills which were hidden in a flour shipment, in an operation described as the biggest one-time drug smuggling attempt in terms of narcotics seized.  6 Syrian and 2 Pakistani nationals have been arrested on suspicion of smuggling the drugs.

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/09/01/middleeast/saudi-arabia-amphetamine-intl-scli/index.html

SOUTH AFRICA: GOVERNMENT IS PILOTING A PROJECT TARGETING PEOPLE OR ENTITIES WITH “UNEXPLAINED WEALTH”

On 1 September, IOL reported that the project aims to facilitate the investigation and recovery of assets acquired through unlawful activities such as corruption, fraud, tax evasion and money laundering.

https://www.iol.co.za/personal-finance/my-money/the-law-is-coming-after-people-with-ill-gotten-wealth-74bd9180-f1b2-4e41-91ac-805962594acb

BANK OF RUSSIA AGREES TO ALLOW CRYPTOCURRENCIES FOR CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS

On 5 September, Finance Magnates reported that the Bank of Russia and the Ministry of Finance are reconsidering their approach toward the legalising of cryptocurrencies for cross-border payments.

https://www.financemagnates.com/cryptocurrency/regulation/bank-of-russia-agrees-to-allow-cryptocurrencies-for-cross-border-payments/

HOW RUSSIA USES LOW TECH IN ITS HIGH-TECH WEAPONS

On 4 September, the New York Times reported that weapons examined in Ukraine are top of the line in the Russian arsenal, but they contained fairly low-tech components, analysts who examined them said, including a unique but basic satellite navigation system that was also found in other captured munitions.  It refers to a report from Conflict Armament Research which undercuts Moscow’s narrative of having a domestically rebuilt military that again rivals that of its Western adversaries.  It is said that Russian guided weapons are full of non-Russian technology and components, and most of the computer chips we documented were made by Western countries after 2014. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/04/us/politics/russia-missiles-ukraine.html

https://storymaps.arcgis.com/stories/239f756e2e6b49a5bec78f5c5248bf3d

PANAMA: 127 CASES INVESTIGATED FOR POSSIBLE TAX FRAUD

On 5 September, La Estrella de Panama reported that the cases represent about $177  million, and some are in audit processes and others being subject to offices by public and private entities to determine if they are presented to the Public Ministry.

https://www.laestrella.com.pa/nacional/220905/dgi-investiga-127-casos-posible

(TRADE) WAR AND PEACE: HOW TO IMPOSE INTERNATIONAL TRADE SANCTIONS

On 5 September, a post from VOX at the Centre for European Policy research investigates the trade-off for the sanctioning countries between reducing Russia’s war capability and the potential harm to their own economies.  It says that the trade-off is non-trivial: the sanctions reduce both Russian exports and the sanctioning country’s imports, as goods cannot be fully substituted for non-sanctioned goods, so both countries incur economic losses.  The optimal sanctions depend on the sanctioning country’s willingness to pay for sanctions, therefore the amount of own economic loss it is willing to incur per unit of Russian loss.

https://cepr.org/voxeu/columns/trade-war-and-peace-how-impose-international-trade-sanctions

AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE SETS UP CRYPTOCURRENCY UNIT

On 5 September, Crypto Daily reported that the AFP has established a new crypto unit to focus on monitoring cryptocurrency-related transactions. The unit has been up with the goal to target money laundering as more criminals seek to bypass the financial system.

https://cryptodaily.co.uk/2022/09/australian-federal-police-sets-up-cryptocurrency-unit

GEOGRAPHY LESSONS FROM THE 9/11 TERRORIST NETWORK

On 5 September, a post on Lawfare reported that researchers took a close look at the 9/11 plot and find that terrorists who belonged to the same operational cell did not necessarily live in the same place at the same time.  However, their itineraries closely matched their organisational structure.  Distinct travel patterns and strong social ties not only made the 9/11 travel network resilient but also essentially allowed the 19 hijackers to hide in plain sight while being very mobile.  Similarities in travel patterns, such as those observed in the 9/11 network, should remain difficult, if not impossible, for international terrorist organisations to hide.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/geography-lessons-911-terrorist-network

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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