According to a report in Panama America, citing a recent Gallup Panama opinion poll, former President Ricardo Martinelli (currently on trial, again, and facing other legal problems, and having his 2 sons currently serving sentences for money laundering in the US) is Panama’s most popular politician and fifth most popular in Latin America. It is said that he leads the preferences ahead of the 2024 elections…
15 OCTOBER 2022
THE BI-OCEANIC CORRIDOR ACROSS SOUTH AMERICA
A video report from Caspian News on 10 September described the road and rail connection that will transit South America from Santos in Brazil to the coast of Chile.
CZECHIA’S ‘MAGNITSKY ACT’ GAINS MOMENTUM
On 15 October, Expats.cz website reported that the law is intended to bolster human rights accountability. The Chamber of Deputies, the lower house of the Czech parliament, have passed the sanctions Bill targeting foreign individuals and companies. It will now be passed on to the Senate, the upper house.
ING BANK SUBSIDIARY SUSPECT IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
On 15 October, NL Times reported that a subsidiary of the bank ING, Payvision – an online payment service provider, is suspected of money laundering in a criminal investigation. It is claimed that Payvision laundered tens of millions of euros between 2005 and 2010, before ING took a 75% stake in the company in 2018, and decided to liquidate it a year later. It is said that Payvision’s customers were mainly people involved in the cryptocurrency, gambling and porn industries.
HOW MONEY LAUNDERING INFLATES US-COLOMBIA TRADE STATISTICS
On 14 October, an article in Colombia Reports claims that US authorities have registered more than $30 billion in imports from Colombia over the past decade that don’t appear in the latter’s export statistics. DIAM, Colombia’s tax agency, said last month that its customs division had flagged more than 500 companies that were suspected of sending invoices for fictitious goods and services abroad since 2012. A large number of the companies flagged by the DIAN were registered traders in precious metals like gold. It is said that front companies, shell companies in offshore tax havens and the transfer of assets via notary offices complicate the detection of money laundering rackets. It also says that, in Colombia, investigations into money laundering associated with the drug trade and gold exports have also been hampered by corruption – with the prosecution’s Financial Crimes Chief, Luz Angela Bahamon, facing multiple corruption charges, including one related to an illegal gold smuggling network.
NO ROOM FOR COMPLACENCY AS GLOBAL PIRACY INCIDENTS HIT LOWEST LEVELS IN DECADES
On 12 October, the International Chamber of Commerce reported that its International Maritime Bureau is calling for regional and international players to sustain their efforts, particularly in the Gulf of Guinea, as global piracy and armed robbery incidents reach their lowest levels since 1992.
CRITICAL RAW MATERIALS: REGULATORY INITIATIVES by US, EU AND UK
A briefing from HFW on 14 October discussed regulatory initiatives by the European Commission, the US and the UK on the security of supply of critical raw materials. It explained that critical raw materials are minerals which are of significant industrial and technological importance, but which are in limited supply – with around 30 or so key minerals, including lithium, cobalt, platinum, tungsten, and rare earth elements.
‘BABY AL CAPONE’ TO PAY $22 MILLION TO SIM-SWAP CRYPTO-HEIST VICTIM
On 15 October, The Register reported that, in the US, a man who lost $24 million in cryptocurrency in an elaborate SIM-swapping scam has won a multi-million-dollar judgment against the thief, who was 15 at the time of the hustle. Ellis Pinsky was a New York high school student at the time of the theft in 2018 and it is said that Pinsky has not been charged with any crime, and it’s presumed this is because he was a minor at the time of the theft.
UK FINANCE REPORT URGES CROSS-SECTOR ACTION TO COMBAT FRAUD
On 15 October, the Fintech Times reported that the fraud report covering the first half of 2022; reiterates calls for cross-sector action to target cyber criminals. The report says that the level of fraud in the UK is such that it must be considered a national security threat.
LEGAL CERTAINTY AHEAD FOR EU-US DATA TRANSFERS?
On 11 October, Irish law firm Matheson published this article about a new US Executive Order which introduces new binding safeguards aimed at addressing the CJEU’s findings in Schrems II. It notes that in March, On 25 March 2022, the European Commission and US Government announced that they had reached an agreement in principle on a new EU-US Data Privacy Framework. The adoption of the Executive Order, accompanying Regulations, along with a series of letters from US agencies to the EU, enables the European Commission to now prepare a draft adequacy decision in favour of the US. However, it cautions that, although a new US adequacy decision will bring some welcome legal certainty in regard to how to legitimise EU-US data transfers, businesses should be aware that such legal certainty may be short-lived.
KEY TREATY FOR SAFETY OF FISHERS AND FISHING VESSELS YET TO ENTER INTO FORCE
On 11 October, the IMO reported that its Secretary-General has urged ratification of 2012 Cape Town Agreement – the key international treaty applicable to large industrial fishing vessels aiming at providing safety standards, just as the SOLAS Convention does for commercial ships. For entry into force, the Agreement needs to be ratified by 22 States with an aggregate number of 3,600 fishing vessels operating on the high seas. The current number of ratifications stands at 17 States with a total of around 1,925 eligible fishing vessels.
ALBANIA MUST SHELVE GOLDEN PASSPORTS AND FIGHT MONEY LAUNDERING
On 13 October, Exit News reported that Albania has been told it must shelve its ‘golden passports’ plan and crack down on money laundering and corruption, in a country report for 2022 published by the European Commission. The report gives an overview of the state of play in terms of its path to EU membership, focussing on developments, improvements, and areas of concern from the last 12 months.
BILLIONAIRE FILM PRODUCER ROBBED OF $11 MILLION BY A GEORGIA INMATE FROM INSIDE A MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON
On 13 October, Yahoo Finance reported that an inmate in Georgia allegedly stole millions of dollars from billionaire Sidney Kimmel in one of the biggest heists to ever happen from inside a jail cell. He used a contraband phone to impersonate Kimmel, the 94-year-old CEO of Sidney Kimmel Entertainment.
REMAINING IRANIAN JUMBO JET CREW RELEASED IN ARGENTINA
On 14 October, TeleSUR reported that the courts had ordered the release of the last 5 crew members of the plane of Empresa de Transporte de Aerocargo del Sur (EMTRASUR), who had been held in Argentina since June. 19 crew members (14 Venezuelans and 5 Iranians) had been detained after the Boeing 747, bought from Iranian airline Mahan Air, of the Venezuelan airline landed in Argentina.
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