Today, news of a public opinion survey – some interesting results. 57% of respondents agree on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, but 88% said they do not agree with recreational use. 76% are against modifying the law on abortion to relax the laws further, while 70% of those interviewed do agree with sex education in schools. 57% of respondents indicated that LGTBTIQ+ should have the same rights as everyone else, but 77% said they do not agree with legalising unions between people of the same sex. In all this, remember that this is a near 100% Catholic country.
28 SEPTEMBER 2022
ARGENTINA MOVES TO MODERNISE ITS AML LEGISLATION
On 27 September, an article from DLA Piper reminded one that from 2009 to 2014, Argentina was on FATF’s so-called grey list of jurisdictions “under intensified monitoring”, and that a new evaluation is due. Recently, Argentina’s Executive Branch submitted a bill to Congress aiming to improve current legislation related to AML/CFT and the proliferation of WMD. The goal of the bill is to update Argentina’s regulations governing these practices.
DANISH GAMBLING REGULATOR BLOCKS RECORD 82 UNLICENSED WEBSITES
On 27 September, iGB reported that a court has ruled that Spillemyndigheden, the Danish gaming regulator, can continue blocking 82 unlicensed websites that offer illegal forms of gambling to Danish consumers – the highest ever blocked by the regulator in a single enforcement action. 227 sites have been blocked in total.
UK: BETFRED FINED £2.8 MILLION BY GAMBLING COMMISSION
On 28 September, iGB reported that Petfre Limited, the parent company of Betfred and Oddsking.com, has been fined £2.8 million by the Gambling Commission for a number of social responsibility and AML failures.
SPAIN: THE “QUEEN OF COCA” GETS 16 YEARS FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING AND MONEY LAUNDERING IN PANAMA
On 27 September, El Siglo reported that a court had sentenced Ana María Cameno, known as the “queen of coca”, to 16 years in prison for participating in the distribution of 100 kg of cocaine in different parts of Spain and for laundering millions of euros of profits in Panama. Cameno was arrested in 2014 in the town of Línea de la Concepción.
WINE CONTEST ORGANIZER HIT WITH UK FINE FOR VIOLATING RUSSIA SANCTIONS
On 27 September, the Wall Street Journal reported on OFSI imposing a £30,000 fine on Hong Kong International Wine and Spirit Competition Ltd over its dealings with a winery known as Massandra. According to OFSI, the winery was effectively confiscated in 2014 by authorities in Crimea.
AIRCRAFT BUST IN TEXAS HIGHLIGHTS HUMAN SMUGGLING TACTIC
On 27 September, Newsnation reported that authorities in Texas arrested 6 undocumented migrants attempting to charter a plane from Weslaco, Texas to Houston as part of a human smuggling operation. The migrants, 4 men and 2 women from El Salvador and Mexico, were caught with fraudulent Texas identification cards and turned over to US Border Patrol.
THE DOWNFALL OF A VIETNAMESE WILDLIFE KINGPIN
On 28 September, OCCRP published an article on how undercover investigators brought down one of the top players in Vietnam’s wildlife trafficking underworld. Nguyen Van Nam, better known by his alias Ah Nam, was sentenced to 11 years in prison for trafficking in rhinoceros horn in July 2020.
CRYPTOCURRENCY DISPUTES INCREASINGLY REFERRED TO ARBITRATION, WITH UNIQUE ISSUES ARISING
On 27 September, an article from Out-Law says that cryptocurrency-related disputes are on the rise around the world, and that they are well suited for and are increasingly being referred to arbitration. It observes that the value placed on pseudonymity in crypto is closely related to confidentiality, a core feature of arbitration; and the contractual nature of crypto’s investor-platform relationships.
USING FREEZING ORDERS TO TACKLE CRYPTO FRAUD IN HONG KONG
On 28 September, Out-Law published an article saying that one of the legal tools to freeze stolen assets is to apply for a Mareva injunction, also known as freezing order, to prevent the suspected fraudster from dissipating the assets in question.
US NAVY BRIBERY FUGITIVE ‘FAT LEONARD’ SEEKS VENEZUELAN ASYLUM
On 27 September, AP reported that fugitive defence contractor Leonard Glenn Francis, nicknamed “Fat Leonard”, who orchestrated a huge bribery scheme involving dozens of US Navy officials, has requested asylum in Venezuela, nearly a week after he was arrested.
AUSTRALIA PLANS TO CHANGE PRIVACY RULES AFTER HUGE CYBER ATTACK ON OPTUS
On 26 September, Swissinfo reported that Australia plans to change privacy rules, allowing banks to be alerted faster to cyber attacks on companies, after hackers targeted the country’s second-largest telecoms company.
AUSTRALIA: IF CASINOS FACILITATED MONEY LAUNDERING AND CONSORTED WITH CRIMINALS — WHY HAVEN’T THERE BEEN CHARGES FOR EXECUTIVES OR DIRECTORS?
On 25 September, ABC News posed this question, saying that serious allegations have been aired during multiple inquiries into Australia’s largest casino groups – but no single staff member, executive or board director of either Crown Resorts or Star Entertainment has faced a civil or criminal sanction.
AN ANALYTIC REVIEW OF PAST RESPONSES TO ENVIRONMENTAL CRIME AND PROGRAMMING RECOMMENDATIONS
On 27 September, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published this report which argues that the international community is still failing to support effective, sustainable ways of combatting environmental crime.
THE KAZAKH PRESIDENT’S UNDERGROUND BUSINESS PASSED THROUGH SWITZERLAND
On 22 September, a report from Public Eye claims that unpublished documents reveal how Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, the current President of Kazakhstan and former Director General of the UN Office at Geneva, discretely owned assets linked to the extraction of oil and strategic metals in the mid-2010s, possibly in violation of Kazakh law. It alleges that the affair shows how Switzerland attracts the Central Asian elite and showcases a business model of welcoming wealth from opaque origins with open arms, despite repeated scandals.
HONG KONG CUSTOMS DETECTS MONEY LAUNDERING CASE INVOLVING ABOUT $370 MILLION
A news release from the Hong Kong Government on 28 September advised that customs mounted an operation and detected a suspected money laundering case. A man, who was suspected of using his personal and wholly owned company’s bank accounts at various banks in Hong Kong to launder a total of about $370 million from unknown sources between November 2019 and May this year, was arrested. Customs has arranged to freeze a total bank balance of about $7 million held by the arrestee.
WILL AN OIL PRICE CAP MANAGE TO REDUCE THE FLOW OF REVENUE TO RUSSIA?
On 28 September, a post from the LSE says that a survey by the Initiative on Global Markets asked economists for their thoughts on price caps, and the post summarises the results.
RISKS OF LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES NEED TO BE UNDERSTOOD IN SHIPPING (AND YACHTING): REPORT
On 27 September, an article in Insurance Marine News was concerned with a report into the total loss of 220-ton commercial yacht Siempre has highlighted the need for crews to understand the risks posed by lithium-ion batteries on board.
GLOBAL SANCTIONS INDEX
Castellum AI has produced this interactive Index, where you click on a country and follow the link to learn more about their autonomous sanctions lists. It says that each sanctions list is rated against 20 distinct criteria and each criterium is weighted according to its impact on sanctions compliance. For example, Data Integrity has a higher weight than Guidance because obtaining the data itself is the first and most important step in compliance. If you don’t know who is on a list, guidance around it is largely useless. The final weighted score goes from 0-100% and ranks sanctions lists across languages, data formats, and size. Castellum.AI reviewed 198 countries as well as supranational sanctions lists issued by the UN and EU.
PODCAST: BILL BROWDER AT THE TRACE LONDON FORUM
In the latest TRACE podcast, a conversation with Bill Browder at the TRACE London Forum. He discusses his new book, Freezing Order, and his ongoing quest for accountability and justice following the abuse and murder of his lawyer, Sergei Magnitsky.
OFAC: CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC SANCTIONS REGULATIONS AND WESTERN BALKANS STABILIZATION REGULATIONS REISSUED
On 28 September, OFAC advised that the regulations were previously published in abbreviated form in 2014. Today’s publications include additional interpretive guidance and definitions, general licences, and other regulatory provisions that it is said will provide further guidance to the public.
ARGENTINA: JUDGE RELEASES 14 OF 19 CREW FROM DETAINED JUMBO JET
On 28 September, TeleSUR reported that a judge had released 14 of the 19 crew members of the Venezuelan Emtrasur Boeing 747 that has been held in Argentina since 6 June. The other 5 crew members denied the accusations of links to terrorism. The aircraft entered Argentina on a cargo flight and in his crew were 5 Iranians and 14 Venezuelans. It was seized in Argentina is owned by a subsidiary of the Venezuelan airline Conviasa. It was purchased from Mahan Air, an Iranian company accused by the US of being linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran-Qods Force, which the State Department lists as a terrorist organisation.
CHINA’S DEPENDENCE ON TAIWAN – THE ISLAND’S “SILICON SHIELD” AGAINST A CHINESE ATTACK
A paper from the Stimson Center on 16 August focuses on the semiconductor industry as a crucial part of broader US-China technological competition and considers 4 challenges for US semiconductors and policy towards China, including the possible longer-term consequences of US success in blocking China from acquiring the technology and machines needed to fabricate leading-edge chips.
US: PRESIDENT HONES GOVERNMENT’S FOREIGN INVESTMENT REVIEW
On 28 September, an article from Bass Berry & Sims comments on a new Executive Order (EO) meant to sharpen the focus of inbound investment screening by more formally tying the role of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to the President’s national security prerogatives. For the first time since the Committee was established in 1975, the EO provides formal presidential direction delineating 5 specific factors for the Committee to consider when reviewing foreign acquisitions of US companies.
FOOTBALL LEAGUE CLUBS TAKING CUT OF GAMBLERS’ LOSSES WITH SKYBET
On 28 September, the Guardian reported that English football clubs have been taking a cut of the money fans lose with the bookmaker SkyBet, the Guardian can reveal, prompting accusations that they are exploiting supporters and gambling addicts. It alleges that the EFL clubs operated as “affiliates” for SkyBet, explaining that an affiliate is a middleman who encourages a gambler to bet with a particular company, which then pays them a percentage of the money that person goes on to lose, sometimes for the rest of their life.
BELGIUM: 10 HOUSE SEARCHES FOR PREPARATION OF TERRORIST ATTACK – “LARGE NUMBER OF WEAPONS SEIZED”
On 28 September, HLN reported that, during the house searches in Merksem, Zandvliet, Antwerp, Deurne, Berchem, Kasterlee and Ghent, a large number of weapons were seized, some held legally. Those seized included automatic and semi-automatic weapons. The public prosecutor’s office says that the case is “probably situated in the extreme right-wing environment”.
A GUIDE FOR GOOD PRACTICES IMPLEMENTATION OF TRADE CONTROL REGIMES FOR BOTH CONVENTIONAL DEFENCE AND DUAL-USE CBRN ITEMS
On 27 September, a Guide from the Stimson Center is concerned with the implementation of international regimes to control trade and illicit trafficking in firearms, conventional arms, and dual-use chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear items. It identifies 8 good practices common to effective national implementation and that can help states target limited resources efficiently. The Guide is intended as a guide for state-level policy makers on how to enable and empower frontline officers with the tools and resources they need to implement these instruments in a holistic and integrated manner, making most efficient use of limited resources while ensuring more effective implementation of international obligations and requirements.
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