16 OCTOBER 2022
CHINA BANS FRUITY VAPES – BUT NOT THEIR EXPORT
On 16 October, the Guardian reported that China has banned the sale of flavoured e-cigarettes as part of a wide-ranging crackdown on the industry. But they can still be manufactured in China to be shipped around the world, including to the UK, where Chinese-made brands such as Elfbar, known for its range of flavoured disposable vapes, are popular.
EL SALVADOR’S BITCOIN EXPERIMENT
On 13 October, CNAS in the US published a CNBC report which is summarised in the headline: $60 Million Lost, $375 Million Spent, Little to Show So Far. El Salvador’s Bitcoin Law came into effect on 7 September 2021. As part of the law, prices are now sometimes listed in bitcoin, tax contributions can be paid with the digital currency, and exchanges in bitcoin will not be subject to capital gains tax. To help facilitate national adoption, El Salvador launched a virtual wallet called “chivo” (Salvadoran slang for “cool”) that offers no-fee transactions, allows for quick cross-border payments, and requires only a mobile phone plus an internet connection. However, research showed that only 20% of those who downloaded the wallet continued to use it after spending the $30 bonus.
REPORT: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND ARMS CONTROL
On 12 October, CNAS announced a new report which examines the potential for arms control for military applications of artificial intelligence (AI) by exploring historical cases of attempted arms control, analysing both successes and failures. The authors argue that policymakers can take steps today that may make AI technology more controllable in the long run by shaping its development.
1MDB: MALAYSIA’S EXTRAORDINARY FINANCIAL SCANDAL AND THE HOLLYWOOD BLOCKBUSTER IT ALLEGEDLY FUNDED
On 16 October, News24 carried an article about the background and fallout of the 1MDB scandal, saying that it allegedly saw top officials loot billions from state coffers and go on a worldwide spending spree, buying a $250 million yacht, several paintings and financing the Hollywood blockbuster, The Wolf of Wall Street.
IRELAND’S GANGLAND TRIAL OF CENTURY SET TO BEGIN IN DUBLIN
On 16 October, The Observer reported that Gerry “the Monk” Hutch, 58, a prominent crime boss, is to be tried for a 2016 murder that fuelled a lethal feud between rival gangs – the Hutch and Kinahan gangs – that still simmers 6 years later. The case centres on an attack in February 2016 when masked men disguised as police and armed with assault rifles stormed Dublin’s Regency Hotel to target rival gangsters during a boxing bout weigh-in and killed David Byrne, a member of the Kinahan cartel.
DRUGS BARON CURTIS WARREN TO FACE TOUGH RESTRICTIONS WHEN RELEASED FROM JAIL FOR FAILED 2009 JERSEY SMUGGLING PLOT
On 16 October, the Jersey Evening Post reported that Curtis Warren, 59, is to face some of the toughest restrictions ever placed on a criminal when he is released next month. Failure to comply with any of the new measures could put him back in jail for another 5 years.
AUSTRALIA CASINO FIRM STAR TO BE FINED $62 MILLION FOLLOWING INQUIRY
On 16 October, Investing.com and others were reporting a Sydney Morning Herald story that casino company Star Entertainment Group will be fined A$100 million (US$62 million) after an inquiry found it failed to prevent money laundering and criminal activity in its Sydney casino.
Baptiste Forestier, Chief Compliance Officer @LinkCy
BELARUS: “TRICKS” TO CIRCUMVENT THE WESTERN SANCTIONS REGIME
On 12 October, bne Intellinews carried an article about ways that companies are trying to avoid sanctions by importing or exporting sanctioned goods to or from Russia and Belarus via third countries such as Kazakhstan, Serbia or even Bulgaria.
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