12 SEPTEMBER 2022
AUSTRAC LAUNCHES MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION INTO ENTAIN
On 12 September, iGB reported that the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) has launched an “enforcement investigation” into Entain, citing AML/CFT concerns, and warned it may investigate other operators as well. This followed its fine by the Gambling Commission in the UK for social responsibility and AML failures.
INDIA: RBI TO PREPARE ‘WHITELIST’ OF APPROVED INSTANT FINANCE APPS AMID PROLIFERATION OF ILLEGAL LOAN APPS
On 11 September, News Deal reported that the Finance Minister has taken notice of these fraudulent instant loan apps and has directed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to prepare a ‘whitelist’ of instant finance apps, that are genuinely clear to operate in the nation. It says that low-income Indians have found themselves being trapped by predatory loan apps and have ended up getting exposed to dangerous financial and physical risks.
LATVIA: SHIP STUCK IN GULF OF RĪGA SINCE MARCH DUE TO SANCTIONS
On 12 September, LSM reported that, since the beginning of March, a ship holding nearly 55,000 tonnes of potassium chloride has been anchored near to the Rīga Free port. The cargo of fertiliser belongs to a company subject to EU sanctions.
SHARPNERS, LIDS AND HANDLES: GOLD SMUGGLERS DEVISE NEW METHODS TO TRICK INDIAN CUSTOMS
On 12 September, On Manarama reported that smugglers have come up with innovative methods to conceal gold being smuggled into India. It has been discovered inside pencil sharpeners, the cap of pain balm bottles, and in the handles of ladies’ handbags.
SFO DISCLOSURE REVIEWS COST NEARLY £450,000
On 12 September, the Law Society Gazette reported that 2 damning reviews into serious disclosure failures by the Serious Fraud Office have cost the taxpayer nearly £450,000. The reviews followed the collapse of 2 high-profile cases.
EU EXPLORES USE OF NFT AS VEHICLE TO PREVENT FORGERY AND COUNTERFEITING
On 12 September, Payment Expert reported that blockchain technology and NFTs have been identified by the EU as a means to mitigate counterfeiting and forgery attacks
AUSTRALIA: STING OPERATION OFFERS FRESH INSIGHTS INTO CRIMINAL MONEY LAUNDERING
On 9 September, an article from Thomson Reuters says that Australian police’s recent covert operation revealed a lot about how transnational organised crime syndicates operate their money laundering activities. The operation saw Australian and US police working covertly to seed 12,000 encrypted mobile phones into the criminal underworld, being sold in more than 100 countries. The 3-year investigation eventually expanded to include 9,000 law enforcement officers from 17 countries, and authorities secured a treasure trove of data, including 27 million messages from more than 300 organised crime groups.
REPORT: INDIA INCREASINGLY ARRESTS, BUT RARELY CONVICTS UNDER CONTROVERSIAL LAWS
On 11 September, Jurist reported on research that claims over the use or misuse of AML and other laws. For example, 5,422 cases have been filed under the PMLA AML law, but with just 23 convictions.
SPAIN: POLICE BREAK INTO CRIMINAL NETWORK PROVIDED FINANCIAL SERVICES TO VARIOUS CRIMINAL ORGANISATIONS MAINLY LINKED TO DRUG TRAFFICKING
A news release from Europol on 12 September advised that a massive international organised crime ring has been broken up in a joint operation between the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) and a German Criminal Bureau (Landeskriminalamt). The criminal network moved large amounts of cash via a sophisticated underground banking system. Organised crime groups could make payments, receive funds and even have their proceeds laundered by this internationally structured financial network.
IRAN TO BUILD OWN REFINERIES IN FOREIGN COUNTRIES
On 12 September, Eurasia Review reported that Iran has signed 2 contracts to build oil refineries in foreign countries.
NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION ADVISORY COUNCIL ESTABLISHED IN SOUTH AFRICA
On 8 September, Out-Law reported that the South African government has appointed a new National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council in what experts have described as an innovative move that promises to highlight the value of public-private partnerships (PPP) in combatting corruption.
SNAPSHOT OF SOUTH AFRICA’S EXCHANGE CONTROL FRAMEWORK FOR FOREIGN INVESTORS
On 9 September, Dentons published an article saying that foreign investors should be aware of the South African exchange control framework before investing in any South African company. The exchange control framework regulates the flow of capital across South African borders and is administered by the Financial Surveillance Department of the South African Reserve Bank and various “authorised dealers” (commercial banks authorised to deal in foreign exchange in South Africa).
INDIA: RBI IMPOSES PENALTIES ON 3 ENTITIES FOR NON-COMPLIANCE
On 10 September, the Economic Times reported that the Reserve Bank of India has imposed penalties on 3 entities, Industrial Bank of Korea, Woori Bank and Indiabulls Commercial Credit Ltd for non-compliance with certain KYC norms.
ALBANIA ACCUSES IRAN OF SECOND CYBERATTACK DAYS AFTER SEVERING TIES WITH TEHRAN OVER FIRST ONE
On 10 September, Rferl reported that Albania has suffered a new cyberattack, after blaming Iran just days after it broke diplomatic relations with Tehran over the first cyberattack. The Interior Ministry said the computers of the Albanian national police were the target of the latest attack.
NETHERLANDS: FIGHTS AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERING SHOULD BE MORE FOCUSED
On 9 September, De Nederlandsche Bank said that a more risk-based approach will sharpen the focus of efforts to keep the financial sector free from financial crime. Such an approach will also reduce the undesirable side effects of the gatekeeper role of banks and other financial institutions, such as the unnecessary refusal or exclusion (‘de-risking’) of customers from payment systems. The bank has published a study: “From recovery to balance”. DNB supervises the financial sector for compliance with AML/CFT laws and, in recent years, DNB has identified serious compliance shortcomings in the sector.
MONEY LAUNDERING THROUGH THE GAMBLING INDUSTRY
The Basel Institute on Governance has released a Quick Guide on 8 September which says that the gambling industry is perfect for laundering criminal funds. It includes a wide variety of businesses that juggle large transactions (often in cash) at a rapid scale, such as physical casinos, online casinos, bars and clubs housing poker machines, and both physical and online sports betting services.
EX-PRESIDENT DEMANDS INQUIRY INTO MARSHALL ISLANDS ‘MINI-STATE PLOT’
On 8 September, an article in the Guardian says that an ex-President has called for an investigation into an alleged plot by a Chinese couple to establish a mini-state inside its borders and set it up as a lucrative tax-break haven.
US ‘AGREES’ TO RELEASE AFGHAN FUNDS THROUGH SWISS BANK
On 11 September, TRT World reported that the US is working on a plan to deposit $3.5 billion with the Bank of International Settlements and have the money distributed under a third-party monitoring system.
GE AGREES TO EUROPEAN INVESTMENT BANK ‘EXCLUSION’ FOR LEGACY ALSTOM SLOVENIA CONDUCT
On 12 September, a post on the FCPA Blog reported that the European Investment Bank and GE Steam Power have reached an agreement regarding historical cases of prohibited conduct by various Alstom Steam Power companies over the Šoštanj Power Project in Slovenia.
FACT SHEET ON US SECURITY ASSISTANCE TO UKRAINE
On 8 September, the US Department of Defense issued an updated list of weapons and material supplied to Ukraine.
ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE AMENDED
On 12 September, the Isle of Man issued an amended General Licence, amending a licence originally issued on 22 August (which allows banks to take certain payment of bank fees from frozen accounts) to update the meaning of “a Bank”.
EU LAWS COULD STOP GERMANY LEGALISING CANNABIS
On 12 September, EU Observer reported that a plan to legalise recreational cannabis use could fall foul of EU laws (specifically a 2004 EU Council Decision), according to a legal analysis by the Bundestag leaked to a news website.
CHINA’S INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY ENFORCEMENT TRENDS
On 11 September, an article from Morgan Lewis takes a closer look at some key takeaways from IP cases that have been through the courts in the last 18 months.
UK: CANNABIS LAW AND REGULATION
On 8 September, CMS Law published this update
AUSTRIA: ARMS LOBBYIST CONVICTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING
On 12 September, Defence Talk reported that a Vienna court has found an Austrian arms lobbyist guilty of money laundering related to European defence giant EADS (which became Airbus in 2014). Alfons Mensdorff-Pouilly received a 6-month suspended prison sentence and was ordered to pay €50,000. It is said that he moved assets for a former division manager of Eurofighter manufacturer EADS.
SAUDI PROSECUTION CONFISCATES $1 BILLION FROM GANG ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING
On 12 September, The Peninsula reported that the Saudi Arabian General Prosecution has ordered the confiscation of 4 billion Saudi riyals and a 25-year jail term for a criminal gang comprised of 1 Saudi citizen and 5 people with other Arab nationalities, accused of money laundering.
PANAMA: ODEBRECHT CORRUPTION CASE – MINUTE-BY-MINUTE COVERAGE
In Panama, La Prensa newspaper is publishing minute-by-minute coverage of a court case in which 49 natural persons and 1 legal entity will have to face justice for the alleged money laundering.
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