A recent gallup poll has revealed that 44% of those consulted would vote for former President Martinelli, if there were elections at this time. This is despite he is currently one of dozens of defendants facing a huge trial alleging bribery and corruption connected to Odebrecht, his 2 sons being in jail in the US for money laundering offences and, it seems, a myriad of legal entanglements…
26 SEPTEMBER 2022
MAZDA IN TALKS TO END RUSSIA PRODUCTION, FOLLOWING TOYOTA EXIT
On 25 September, Nikkei Asia reported that Mazda is consider closing its joint venture in Russia with Sollers in Vladivostok, where Japanese parts are sent for local assembly.
UK: COURTS CONTINUE TO DETER SATELLITE LITIGATION ON WITNESS STATEMENTS
On 23 September, Cooley LLP published a post concerned with the detailed provisions regarding the preparation and content of trial witness statements and a recent High Court case in which a claimant who had committed multiple breaches of the rules and had exacerbated those breaches by being entirely dismissive of the defendant’s objections. A supplementary statement served on behalf of the claimant, failed to comply with practice directions in almost every respect and incurred a relatively lenient adverse costs order.
WHISKY SCAMS AND SCHEMES
On 22 September, an article from Marks & Clark starts by asserting that owning whisky casks in the UK is an increasingly popular form of investment, but that some schemes have been revealed to be fraudulent. It warns that that whisky investment appears to fall between the authorities, and that the FCA would only be involved if the investment was structured under a collective investment scheme. The FCA had more than 36,300 enquiries about illegal activity from March 2021 to March 2022, up by a third on the same period in 2020. Of that figure, 58% were around potential investment scams.
SWITZERLAND: REVISED PRECIOUS METALS CONTROL ACT – NEW REGISTRATION AND LICENSING REQUIREMENTS FOR PURCHASERS OF OLD PRECIOUS METALS
On 22 September, an article from Pestalozzi Attorneys at Law advised that when the revised Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) comes into force on 1 January, new licensing or registration requirements will be introduced in the area of the Precious Metals Control Act (PMCA) and the Precious Metals Control Ordinance (PMCO). The article provides an overview of the new licensing and registration requirements for purchasers of melt material under the revised PMCA and PMCO. In addition, the licensing requirement already introduced for trading in banking precious metals is addressed, in particular, the related licensing requirements, fees and supervisory levies.
SWITZERLAND – STRICTER DUE DILIGENCE REQUIREMENTS FROM 1 JANUARY
Meanwhile, another article from the firm on 21 September said that main part of the amendments to the Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA)as well as the other enactments amended by the revision will enter into force on 1 January. It advises that the changes entail certain stricter due diligence obligations, and that financial intermediaries should therefore review their internal directives and align them with the revised provisions of the AMLA by 1 January at the latest so that they continue to comply with their due diligence obligations.
NEW EU REGULATION ON EVIDENCE TAKING IN CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL MATTERS COMES INTO FORCE
On 23 September, an article from Osborne Clarke said that EU Regulation 2020/1783/EU on cooperation between the courts of the Member States in the taking of evidence in civil or commercial matters (taking of evidence) (recast) entered into force on 1 July. The main purpose of the Regulation is to improve judicial cooperation in the taking of evidence in cross-border proceedings at EU level, in particular, by taking advantage of technical progress and the benefits of digitisation.
WHAT THE NEW DoJ CORPORATE ENFORCEMENT POLICIES MEAN TO COMPLIANCE OFFICERS
On 26 September, a post on the Compliance & Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the New York University School of Law contained further comments on a recent speech by Deputy Attorney General Lisa O Monaco detailing significant changes to the Department of Justice’s corporate prosecution policies.
ENGLISH FOOTBALL MUST DISTANCE ITSELF FROM THE POGOS
On 23 September, an Op-Ed piece in iGB argued that, in the wake of criminal scandals regarding offshore operators based in the Philippines, the continued association by English football clubs with the sector could be a ticking time-bomb for scandal. The sector has become deeply embedded in top-flight English football. It explains that a Philippines Offshore Gambling Operation (Pogo) is a Philippines-based gambling site that broadcasts games of chance to other jurisdictions – usually elsewhere in Asia. Almost by definition, this comes without approval by local authorities in the operator’s target markets. While China has been the highest-profile target, a number of Pogos also specialise in the Korean or Vietnamese markets. The sector is also widely believed to be infiltrated by criminal organisations.
PANAMA: BUTTERFLY EXPORTS
On 26 September, Panama America carried an interview with biologist Samuel Valdés about the export potential for butterfly pupae. Amongst other things, he says that in Costa Rica more than 400 families export pupae to European and North American markets and that the US buys millions of dollars in pupae.
RUSSIAN SANCTIONS: FINLAND SEIZES BILLIONAIRE ‘MALTESE’ CITIZEN’S ASSETS
On 26 September, investigative website The Shift reported that Finnish authorities, have seized the assets in Finland of Russian billionaire and Maltese-citizen-since-2016, Arkady Volozh. It is said that he acquired Maltese citizenship in 2016 through the highly contentious Individual Investor Programme.
AFRICA: SMUGGLERS CARVE A NICHE IN AFRICA’S RARE ROSEWOOD
On 26 September, All Africa reported that harvesting of endangered rosewood (mukula) to make furniture for China’s elite threatens the species with extinction. It is the world’s most trafficked endangered timber, with a $26 billion illicit market. The article explains that African rosewood is a tropical timber found mainly in Madagascar, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is essential for local ecosystems and biodiversity and, when harvested sustainably, supports local livelihoods. The wood is also used in traditional medicine.
US CHARGES 5 PEOPLE WITH STEALING $12 MILLION FROM HOMELESS SHELTER CONTRACTS
On 26 September, OCCRP reported that 5 members of a Queens-based construction company had been charged for their alleged role in a conspiracy to defraud New York City of $12 million intended for homeless shelter renovations.
US: GLENCORE WINS JUDGE’S APPROVAL OF MARKET MANIPULATION SETTLEMENT
On 23 September, the Wall Street Journal reported that a federal judge has accepted part of a $1.2 billion settlement that commodities giant Glencore PLC entered to resolve criminal probes over its involvement in foreign corruption and market manipulation. Prosecutors said the company had been involved in 2 long-running courses of criminal conduct: a decade-long scheme to pay bribes in several countries; and the manipulation of fuel oil prices at the Port of Los Angeles and the Port of Houston, 2 of the busiest US commercial ports.
UK: MUTUAL LEGAL ASSISTANCE
On 26 September, the Home Office published updated information for competent authorities abroad (and in the UK) about obtaining evidence within the UK (or abroad) to assist in criminal investigations or proceedings.
SPAIN: WHAT IS THE DIGITAL-NOMAD VISA SCHEME?
On 26 September, the Evening Standard in the UK published an article explaining that the new visas will be available to people working remotely for companies outside of Spain and who earn a maximum of 20% of their income from Spanish companies. The scheme is only open to applicants from outside the EEA (which post-Brexit now includes those from the UK) who can demonstrate that they have been working remotely for at least a year.
WORLD’S BIGGEST MEAT COMPANY APPEARS TO HAVE AVOIDED MILLIONS IN UK TAX
On 26 September, the Guardian reported that companies supplying some of Britain’s most popular meat brands, including KFC, Nando’s chicken and Sainsbury’s organic range, appear to have been using offshore companies allowing them to avoiding paying millions of pounds in tax in the UK.
POLICE IN LATVIA DISMANTLE MAJOR MONEY LAUNDERING GROUP
On 21 September, the Baltic News Network reported that Latvian State Police have dismantled a criminal group that provided professional money laundering services in the country using a network of more than 90 “money mules”. The investigation indicated that there was a wide network of money mules in Riga, which consisted of youngsters aged 16 to 20 years, who received flash payments on their accounts. These payments mostly came from German citizens.
IRAN AND RUSSIA SEEK NEW SANCTIONS EVASION CORRIDOR
On 22 September, an article from the Center for European Policy Analysis in the US says that Russia and Iran are advancing the idea of a transportation route termed the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). The INSTC can connect the Persian Gulf and Indian ports with Russia, and talks about the corridor have been underway since the early 2000s and are now nearing their final stages. What remains to complete is the Rasht-Astara railway section between Iran and Azerbaijan.
BOOSTING THE AWARENESS AND THE PUBLIC-PRIVATE ACTION AGAINST NEW COUNTERFEITING THREATS
A final report from Crime & tech srl at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (UCSC) – in April 2022 argues that, while both public authorities and online marketplaces are leading the fight against emergent threats, a new paradigm is necessary with respect to raising awareness, prevention, investigation, and cooperation. The report involves a study based upon in-depth review of case studies, judicial documents, institutional reports and a wide variety of other information collected from interviews with stakeholders and experts at both the national and international level, along with representatives from law enforcement, public authorities, online marketplaces, postal operators, logistics operators, companies and brand owners.
THE “QAnon QUEEN OF CANADA” HAS USED HER FOLLOWERS’ BANK ACCOUNTS, SOMETIMES WITHOUT PERMISSION
On 22 September, an article from Vice reported that Romana Didulo has used her followers’ bank accounts, sometimes without permission. And she’s raised more than CA$140,000. It explains that Didulo was initially a low-level QAnon influencer and came to prominence after the titular Q, the movement’s central figure, went quiet. She stepped into the power vacuum and gained a sizable following by framing herself as an active participant in the conspiracy, although she remains a fringe figure.
RUSSIA’S SWIFT ALTERNATIVE EXPANDING QUICKLY THIS YEAR, SAYS CENTRAL BANK
On 26 September, Hellenic Shipping News reported that the Russian central bank has claimed that its System for Transfer of Financial Messages has shown expansion this year because more foreign participants have joined.
ACCUSED RUSSIAN BOTMASTER ARRESTED IN BULGARIA AND REQUESTS EXTRADITION TO US
On 23 September, a post from Krebs on Security reported that a 36-year-old Russian man, Denis Kloster (aka Denis Emelyantsev), recently identified as the likely proprietor of the massive RSOCKS botnet has been arrested in Bulgaria at the request of US authorities. RSOCKS was a collection of millions of hacked devices that were sold as “proxies” to cybercriminals looking for ways to route their malicious traffic through someone else’s computer.
IS POSSESSION OF CASH EVIDENCE OF A CRIME?
On 23 September, a briefing paper from the US Congressional Research Service was concerned with a recent US Court of Appeals case, saying that although possession of a large sum of cash may suggest criminal activity, police discovery of a substantial amount of currency is not enough alone to justify the government’s confiscation of the money.
SANCTIONS: OFAC SETTLEMENTS WITH SWISS AND MONACO SUBSIDIARIES OF CREDIT AGRICOLE
On 26 September, OFAC announced a settlement with CA Indosuez Switzerland S.A. (CAIS), an indirect subsidiary of Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank located in Switzerland that specialises in wealth management and corporate and investment banking; and with CFM Indosuez Wealth (CFM), another indirect subsidiary of Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank located in Monaco that also specialises in wealth management and corporate and investment banking. The settlements are concerned with apparent violations of sanctions against Cuba, Ukraine-related, Iran, Sudan, and Syria. CAIS agreed to remit $720,258 to settle its potential civil liability and CFM agreed to remit $401,039 to settle its potential civil liability for apparent violations.
NETHERLANDS AND SPAIN PROPOSE TIGHTER REGULATION ON LOOT BOXES
On 26 September, Field Fisher explained that “loot boxes” are “mystery reward packages” that players can purchase using real or in-game currency. It reports that recent reaction from Spain and the Netherlands seems to match earlier comments from Norway. It also says that it is not clear that guidance from the European Commission’s public consultation (expected towards the end of this year) will resolve the divergence in Member States’ positions.
IRELAND: FRAUD OFFENCES UP BY 43% ON 2021
On 26 September, the Law Society Gazette Ireland reported that the latest figures show that fraud crimes showed the biggest increase in the year to Q2 2022, up 43% or 4,877 compared with 2021. This increase was largely driven by unauthorised transactions and attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone.
CHINA: LAW ENFORCEMENT SAID TO HAVE CRACKED CRYPTO FRAUD WORTH OVER $5 BILLION
On 26 September, Investing.com reported that Chinese police officers have successfully cracked down on an electronic money laundering case said to involve $5.5 billion. 94 criminal suspects are in police custody awaiting trial. Additionally, the police destroyed over 10 money laundering and running dens and seized over 100 mobile phones and computers. They also retrieved funds and economic assets for the victims. The criminal gang allegedly laundered as much as the equivalent to over $5.5 billion, via cryptocurrency.
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