The latest statistics for Covid-19 to 3 September show that the percentage of positive tests has fallen to 8.2% (down from 12.% in the previous week), but with 3,641 new cases (5,366 the previous week) and 10 more fatalities (19 the previous week). There are now 5,234 active cases (7,431 in the previous week) – 14 in ICU and 101 in other wards.
Meanwhile, the health ministry has issued a set of 2 illustrations on prevention of monkeypox –
6 SEPTEMBER 2022
HMRC KEEPS UP INVESTIGATIONS INTO TAX EVASION IN LABOUR SUPPLY CHAINS AND UMBRELLA COMPANIES
On 4 September, Osborne Clarke warned that there are signs HMRC is now more aggressive in their pursuit and that a civil investigation with 20-years’ tax exposure and penalties of up to 200% can still be a business-critical event. It highlights IR35, agency-worker tax rules, offshore employer’s rules and managed-service-company as areas of concern. It warns that if umbrella companies or overseas payroll partners are involved in tax evasion, the end users and staffing companies that use them may face prosecution and unlimited fines unless they have in place reasonable steps and procedures to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion.
AUSTRALIA: AUSTRAC HAS ESTABLISHED AN INTELLIGENCE UNIT DEDICATED TO MONITORING COMPLIANCE WITH RUSSIAN SANCTIONS, SIGNALLING A SHARPER REGULATORY FOCUS ON SANCTIONS LAWS
On 5 September, Corr Chambers Westgarth advised that, given increased regulatory focus, businesses need to take steps to ensure they comply with sanctions, with a particularly cautious approach when dealing with individuals or entities based in Russia or the sanctioned region of Ukraine. The article also looks at the steps Australia has taken re Russian sanctions to date.
US: 2 NEW RULES REINFORCE INCREASED SCRUTINY FOR CHINESE-ORIGIN SUPPLY CHAINS
On 1 September, an article from Sheppard Mullin reported on new changes by the Department of Defense to the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) reinforcing national defence priorities that limit DoD contracts performed in China, and the DoD’s ability to acquire tantalum metals from China and other unfriendly countries such as a Iran, North Korea, and Russia. These rules continue a trend of isolating countries in US supply chains that are deemed a potential national security threat. One rule involves employment of people working in China on a contract or subcontract basis; and the other adds tantalum metals and alloys to the list of “covered materials” that are prohibited from being acquired from unfriendly countries such as China, Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
US: STRICT TERMS & CONDITIONS FOR REPATRIATED LOOTED ABACHA FUNDS TO NIGERIA
On 2 September, an article from Songhai Advisory LLP examined the strict conditions for repatriation to ensure that the returned funds go to where they’re needed most, as the US agreed to repatriate to Nigeria $23 million that had been recovered as proceeds of corruption by former Head of State, Sani Abacha.
PANAMA: 11 ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED LINK TO FINANCIAL CRIMES INVOLVING PHISHING AND SIM-SWAPPING
On 6 September, Newsroom Panama reported that cash, computers, cell phones, sim cards, a money counting machine, and other evidence have been seized.
CROATIA TO ADOPT THE EURO FROM 1 JANUARY: THE FINAL TRANSITION
On 5 September, an article from CMS Law advised that there is an obligation to report prices in both kuna and euro in Q4 of 2022, with dual reporting using the fixed conversion rate of 7.53450 kuna for 1 euro from 5 September 2022, and this will continue throughout the whole of 2023. Other transitional measures are also mentioned.
UK: TRAFFICKING GANG LAUNDERED MILLIONS THROUGH VIETNAMESE STUDENT ACCOUNTS AND NAIL BARS
On 6 September, ITV News reported that 5 members of a human trafficking gang which laundered £4 million through student bank accounts and nail bars have been sentenced. They used Vietnamese students at a British university to receive millions of pounds of cash directly into their bank accounts. This money was then transferred to other Vietnamese nationals in the UK who were running businesses exporting clothes to Vietnam.
ONE OF THE UK’S MOST WANTED CRIMINALS EXTRADITED FROM SPAIN TO FACE MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
On 5 September, Murcia Today reported that Michael Morgan Foster, 25, was to be extradited to the UK after being arrested by Spanish police in June. He had been on the run since 2020.
SFO HEAD OSOFSKY CALLS FOR REFORM OF DISCLOSURE RULES
On 6 September, the Law Society gazette reported that the director of the Serious Fraud Office has called for reform of disclosure rules to ‘rebalance the system for victims and justice’ following a series of high-profile errors by the SFO. She suggested that the current disclosure regime – which was ‘designed before the advent of mass digital data … when there was far less material for investigators and prosecutors to deal with’ – is out of date.
‘FAT LEONARD’, CONTRACTOR IN US NAVY’S WORST CORRUPTION SCANDAL, FLEES HOUSE ARREST
On 6 September, the Guardian reported that a Malaysian businessman who pleaded guilty in the US Navy’s worst corruption scandal has escaped house arrest in San Diego after cutting off his monitoring bracelet. Leonard Glenn Francis, known as Fat Leonard, who ran a military contracting company in Singapore, was convicted in 2015.
RUSSIA BUYING MILLIONS OF ROCKETS AND SHELLS FROM NORTH KOREA, US INTELLIGENCE SAYS
On 6 September, the Guardian reported that Russia is buying millions of rockets and artillery shells from North Korea to support its invasion of Ukraine as the Russian military continues to suffer from severe supply shortages.
MALAYSIA: IMPRISONED EX-PM NAJIB RAZAK PETITIONS FOR ROYAL PARDON
On 6 September, Eurasia Review reported that disgraced former Prime Minister Najib Razak, who was sent to prison for 12 years for corruption in a 1MDB-related case, has petitioned the king for a pardon.
UK: THURROCK COUNCIL – GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCED IT IS SENDING IN INSPECTORS FOLLOWING AN INVESTMENT SCANDAL
On 2 September, the Bureau of Investigative Journalists provided an update on the case after, in July, its 3-year investigation revealed that at least £138 million of public money was unaccounted for following deals between the Conservative-run council and a businessman.
EXTRADITION OF 2 DEFENDANTS CHARGED WITH BRIBING HIGH-LEVEL OFFICIALS OF THE REPUBLIC OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS
A US DoJ news release on 2 September advised about an unsealed indictment charging 2 persons with engaging in a multi-year scheme to bribe government officials in the Republic of the Marshall Islands to pass certain legislation that would benefit business interests. They were arrested in Thailand in November 2020, and have been extradited to the US.
AUSTRALIAN BITCOIN MOGUL PLEADS GUILTY TO US CHARGE OVER BitMEX
On 6 September, The Age reported that Australian bitcoin mogul Greg Dwyer has pleaded guilty to one charge of violating American banking laws after he confessed to failing to put in an AML program at global cryptocurrency platform BitMEX.
QATAR’S FATF EVALUATION TO BE PUBLISHED IN FEBRUARY
On 6 September, The Peninsula reported that the mutual evaluation and assessment on Qatar by FATF has been completed and the report is expected to be published in February 2023.
MALTA: FIAU FINES GAMING OPERATOR €130,000 OVER AML SHORTCOMINGS
On 6 September, the Times of Malta reported that Olimp Limited received the fine following a 2020 inspection by the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit. The company, which has since surrendered its gaming licence, is owned by Russian national Galina Reed, together with a holding company which is, in turn, owned by Reed and another holding company based in Cyprus, Anarbek Holding Ltd.
BRAZILIAN SEC IS LOOKING TO CHANGE CRYPTO REGULATION WITH NEW BILL
On 6 September, Oodaloop reported that it appeared that the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission is looking to switch up the country’s legal framework for cryptocurrencies.
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