THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 22

Having decided to keep Panama on its grey list, FATF urged Panama to complete the agreed action plan to strengthen its AML regime by February 2023.

In other news, so far this year Panama has seized over 100 tons of drugs, in 390 operations and resulting in the arrest of 354 Panamanians and 166 foreigners.

22 OCTOBER 2022

A HUGE MONEY LAUNDERING CASE ENTANGLING RUSSIAN AND VENEZUELAN OLIGARCHS JUST GOT UNSEALED

On 21 October, Fortune carried an article about a US court case in which 7 individuals have been charged with conspiring to purchase sensitive US military technology, smuggle oil and launder tens of millions of dollars on behalf of wealthy Russian businessmen, complete with Hong Kong shell companies, bulk cash pick-ups, phantom oil tankers and the use of cryptocurrency to cloak transactions.  Involved are 2 Russians: Yury Orekhov, who used to work for a publicly-traded aluminium company sanctioned by the US, and Artem Uss, the son of a wealthy governor allied with the Kremlin, partners in a German company trading in industrial equipment and commodities. 

https://fortune.com/2022/10/21/russia-venezeula-oligarchs-money-laundering-oil-military-technology-indictment/

FATF AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF PAKISTAN’S REMOVAL FROM ITS ‘GREY LIST’

On 21 October, The Wire carried this Explainer which provides a quick overview of Pakistan’s chequered history with FATF and what its removal means for its relations with the rest of the world.

https://thewire.in/world/explainer-fatf-and-the-significance-of-pakistans-removal-from-its-grey-list

IRELAND: IMF – FINANCIAL SECTOR ASSESSMENT PROGRAM-TECHNICAL NOTE ON AML/CFT

On 21 October, IMF published this Technical Note which says that Ireland faces significant and increasing threats from foreign criminal proceeds.  As a growing international financial center, Ireland is exposed to inherent transnational money laundering and terrorist financing related risks.  An increased focus on risks related to transnational illicit financial flows is required, and a thematic risk assessment undertaken by the Anti-Money Laundering Steering Committee (AMLSC) of international risks would enhance the authorities’ risk understanding and is key to effective response to the rapid financial sector growth.   It also says that introducing data analytics tools, including machine learning to leverage potentially available big data on cross-border payments, would allow for efficient detection of emerging risks.

https://www.imf.org/-/media/Files/Publications/CR/2022/English/1IRLEA2022012.ashx

US: SPORTS CAR STOLEN 30 YEARS AGO FOUND BURIED IN YARD OF MANSION BUILT BY CONVICTED CRIMINAL

On 22 October, Sky News reported that a sports car stolen 30 years ago has been found buried in the yard of a California mansion built by a man with a history of arrests for murder, attempted murder and insurance fraud.  Police believe the car was buried 4ft or 5ft deep in the backyard of the home some time in the 1990s – before the current owners bought the property.

https://news.sky.com/story/sports-car-stolen-30-years-ago-found-buried-in-yard-of-15m-mansion-built-by-convicted-criminal-12726876

UK NOTICE TO IMPORTERS 2954: OPEN GENERAL IMPORT LICENCE 2022

On 21 October, the Department for International Trade published this new Open General Import Licence, which has been updated to reflect changes to commodity codes.  The purpose of the licence is to permit the importation of all goods into the UK, subject to the various exceptions it sets out.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-importers-2954-open-general-import-licence-2022

AFTER 8 ROUNDS, IS THERE SPACE FOR FURTHER EU SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA?

On 22 October, the Guardian asked this question, saying that after 8 rounds of EU sanctions, the appetite for further measures is diminishing. “Member states are working on additional possible measures, but we need to see the scope, because we have adopted so much so far that the space is rather limited”, a senior EU official said. “That’s a matter of fact”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/oct/21/further-russia-sanctions-eu-ukraine-poland-russia-eu-baltic-states-poland

QANON IN EUROPE: TRACING A VIRAL CONSPIRACY

On 5 October, Lighthouse Reports said that it and Bellingcat have spent the past year working on one of the largest data-driven investigations into the spread of QAnon in Europe.  

https://www.lighthousereports.nl/investigation/qanon-in-europe-tracing-a-viral-conspiracy/

US: HOMELAND SECURITY INVESTIGATIONS LAUNCHES OPERATION BOILING POINT TO TARGET ORGANISED RETAIL THEFT

On 19 October, Homeland Preparedness News reported that, working alongside industry partners, as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement and prosecutors, HSI will use Operation Boiling Point to raise consumer awareness about the issue, investigate crimes and generally seek to disrupt and dismantle organised theft groups. 

https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/78785-homeland-security-investigations-launches-operation-boiling-point-to-target-organized-theft/

SWITZERLAND AIMS TO TRACK CORPORATE OWNERSHIP IN ATTEMPT TO CURB MONEY LAUNDERING

On 21 October, ICIJ reported that, facing international pressure to shed light on shadowy corporate ownership, the Swiss government plans to reveal who actually owns legal entities.  Alongside the proposed corporate registry, the cabinet has floated the idea of extending AML laws to “the area of the legal profession”. 

https://www.icij.org/investigations/pandora-papers/switzerland-aims-to-track-corporate-ownership-in-attempt-to-curb-money-laundering/

THE ITALIAN ANTI-TAX CRIME FRAMEWORK

On 17 October, the Corporate Crime Observatory published this report produced under the VIRTEU Project, (VAT fraud: Interdisciplinary Research on Tax crimes in the EU).  It analyses some of the most problematic aspects of the Italian anti-tax crime criminal legal framework.  In particular, it focuses on the existing tax gaps, the reasons leading to the lack of voluntary tax compliance, and the most recent tax policies adopted to combat the phenomenon of tax evasion.

https://www.corporatecrime.co.uk/virteu-reports/#comp-l9cgzcqj

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