OTTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED – OCTOBER 24

On the dengue front, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has recommended authorisation of the Qdenga vaccine (TAK-003) against dengue, from the biopharmaceutical company Takeda, after reviewing the data of the various clinical studies, in which Panama participated together with Brazil, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The next step on the road to approval in Europe is the EMA’s marketing authorisation, which is expected in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Panamanian scientists are seeking 60,000 volunteers to carry out a research project, “Safety of COVID-19 Vaccines applied in Panama”, which consists of an observational study, to actively and systematically monitor adverse events that may occur from the day of application of the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine and for up to 1 year.

24 OCTOBER 2022

US: DoJ BRINGS FIRST TERRORISM MATERIAL SUPPORT CHARGE AGAINST A CORPORATION

On 20 October, an article from Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton and Garrison LLP was concerned with the case involving Lafarge SA, a multi-national building materials manufacturer headquartered in Paris, and its Syrian subsidiary Lafarge Cement Syria which had pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide material support to foreign terrorist organisations, the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and the al-Nusrah Front (ANF).  It says that the case underlining the importance of compliance when operating in high-risk countries and of robust m&a due diligence.

https://www.paulweiss.com/practices/litigation/economic-sanctions-aml/publications/doj-brings-first-terrorism-material-support-charge-against-a-corporation?id=45105

MYANMAR JOINS NORTH KOREA AND IRAN ON FATF GLOBAL ILLICIT FINANCE BLACKLIST

On 21 October, the Wall Street Journal reported on Myanmar being added to the FATF “black list” after FATF said that that Myanmar had failed to address a large number of deficiencies in its AML/CFT systems.  It notes that this isn’t Myanmar’s first time on the blacklist. Before it turned toward democracy a decade ago, Myanmar suffered decades of isolation and underdevelopment under a military regime and was blacklisted by the FATF during that time.  It was removed from the list in 2016 after a quasi-democratic government took charge and implemented financial changes.  The US and others were also lifting sanctions during that period to further encourage democratic change and bring Myanmar into the global fold.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/myanmar-joins-north-korea-and-iran-on-global-illicit-finance-blacklist-11666368938

GIBRALTAR DEFERS FATF REPORTING AS IT CALLS FOR TOUGHER FINES

On 21 October, iGB reported that Gibraltar had decided to defer reporting its progress to get the jurisdiction off the FATF AML “grey list”.  At its recent plenary, FATF had said that that the gambling sector was a major reason for Gibraltar’s presence on the list and said that authorities were not “applying sufficient fines for anti-money laundering failings”.  While Gibraltar is currently planning an overhaul of its gambling laws, its gambling commissioner has said that it will not issue more fines simple because of the FATF listing.

https://igamingbusiness.com/legal-compliance/compliance/gibraltar-defers-fatf-reporting-as-aml-body-calls-for-tougher-fines

CREDIT SUISSE TO PAY $234 MILLION TO END FRENCH TAX PROBE

On 24 October, Reuters reported that Credit Suisse has agreed to pay France €238 million to settle a tax fraud and money laundering case, putting another legal headache behind it as it prepares a strategic overhaul.

https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/credit-suisse-settle-french-tax-probe-with-prosecutors-court-hearing-2022-10-24/

CANADA: FINTRAC ISSUES OPERATIONAL ALERT REGARDING MONEY LAUNDERING FROM ILLICIT CANNABIS OPERATIONS

On 23 October, McCarthy Tetrault advised that, on 28 September, FINTRAC had issued an Operational Alert is to support entities that report to FINTRAC in better identifying and reporting financial transactions related to the laundering of proceeds from illicit cannabis activities. It notes that, while in 2018 an Act legalised and regulated the production, distribution, sale, and possession of cannabis across the country, a 2021 survey found that 37% of respondents had said that that some or all of their cannabis was purchased from illegal sources.

https://fintrac-canafe.canada.ca/new-neuf/nr/2022-09-28-eng

https://www.mccarthy.ca/fr/node/831691#page=1

NEW ZEALAND: COMMON AREAS OF AML/CFT NON-COMPLIANCE

On 20 October, the Department for Internal Affairs advised that it had recently reviewed the independent audit reports from a group of 38 reporting entities to understand their level of compliance with the AML/CFT Act. The most common areas of non-compliance identified by auditors are listed.

https://www.dia.govt.nz/AML-CFT-Common-areas-of-non-compliance

“PUTIN’S CHEF”, HEAD OF WAGNER GROUP, USED US AND UK LAW FIRMS TO FIGHT SANCTIONS

On 21 October, OCCRP reported on an article from The Intercept that says that Yevgeny Prigozhin is also known for funding the Internet Research Agency (IRA), a troll farm known for spreading disinformation globally, used the services of at least 4 UK and US law firms to challenge international sanctions against him. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16930-putin-s-chef-used-us-uk-law-firms-to-fight-sanctions

UKRAINE SAYS FORMER CHIEF OF CENTRAL BANK WANTED IN EMBEZZLEMENT CASE

On 24 October, Rferl reported that Ukraine has said that former central bank Governor Kyrylo Shevchenko is a wanted man, along with 2 high-ranking employees of lender Ukrgasbank, on suspicion of embezzling more than $5.42 million.  Shevchenko, who has denied any wrongdoing, was appointed the head of the central bank in July 2020.

https://www.rferl.org/a/ukraine-central-bank-governor-wanted-embezzlement/32098212.html

IRISH REVENUE SEIZES ALMOST €369,000 CASH LEAVING DUBLIN PORT

On 21 October, the Revenue Commissioners reported that the cash concealed in a truck that was stopped and searched by Revenue officers before departing Dublin Port for the UK.

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2022/pr-102122-seize-cash-dublin-port.aspx

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/616-sars-in-action-october-2022/file

PANAMA RESTRICTS INFORMATION ON SANCTIONED FISHING BOATS, EVADING TRANSPARENCY

On 14 October, Mongabay reported that an investigation recently published by Mongabay Latam and Bloomberg Línea seeks to answer the question: Why would a foreign boat request to fly the Panamanian flag?  The article says that the Panamanian authority, AMP, refused to hand over information concerning inspections carried out on Panama-registered boats and the resulting sanctions that were imposed, arguing that it is of a “restricted nature” despite its not being described as such in Panama’s Transparency Law nor being declared as such by any other kind of ruling – in the view of AMP, the information is restricted, in accordance with Article 14, Section 2 of the 2002 Transparency Law.  The impossibility of accessing this information could also hinder the detection of illegal activities that put the health of the ocean’s ecosystems at risk, legal experts have said.

https://news.mongabay.com/2022/10/panama-restricts-information-on-sanctioned-boats-evading-transparency/

ABU DHABI COURT CONFISCATES $10.6 MILLION IN MONEY LAUNDERING, FORGERY CRACKDOWN

On 24 October, Al Arabiya reported that Abu Dhabi’s Federal Criminal Appeal Court confiscated funds worth over $10.6 million from 2 companies owned by a defendant on charges of sanctions evasion, forgery, and money laundering.  The defendant is an Arab national and is to serve a 10-year prison sentence and will be deported upon sentence completion. 

https://english.alarabiya.net/News/gulf/2022/10/24/Abu-Dhabi-court-confiscates-10-6-million-in-money-laundering-forgery-crackdown

https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/economy/2022/10/24/uaes-fight-against-financial-crime-in-focus-at-mena-regulatory-summit/

PERUVIAN HEALTH MINISTER DISMISSED AFTER SCANDAL

On 24 October, TeleSUR reported that Peru’s President Pedro Castillo dismissed Health Minister Jorge Lopez, whom the press accuses of buying an apartment with money deposited by officials of his institution.

https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Peruvian-Health-Minister-Dismissed-After-Scandal-20221024-0004.html

US TREASURY RELEASES FIRST-EVER CFIUS ENFORCEMENT AND PENALTY GUIDELINES

On 20 October, Torres Trade Law published an article about the guidelines for the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States.  The Guidelines provide insight into how CFIUS determines whether and in what amount to impose a penalty or take some other enforcement action against a party that fails to comply with CFIUS mitigation agreements or other legal obligations.

https://www.torrestradelaw.com/posts/Treasury-Releases-First-045%3BEver-CFIUS-Enforcement-and-Penalty-Guidelines/289

EBA PUBLISHES REPORT ON THE INTEGRATION OF ESG RISKS IN THE SUPERVISION OF INVESTMENT FIRMS

A release on Mondo Visione on 24 October advised that the European Banking Authority (EBA) has published a Report on how to incorporate ESG risks in the supervision of investment firms.  The Report also provides an initial assessment of how ESG factors and ESG risks could be included in the supervisory assessment of investment firms.  Addressed to competent authorities, it sets out the foundations for integrating ESG risks-related considerations in the supervisory process of investment firms and covers the main SREP elements including: (i) business model analysis, (ii) assessment of internal governance and risk management, and (iii) assessment of risks (risk to capital and liquidity risk) – with proportionality as a key element of the Report.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/eba-publishes-report-on-the-integration-of-esg-risks-in-the-supervision-of-inves/

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UN APPROVES SANCTIONS AGAINST HAITIAN GANG LEADER

On 21 October, the Wall Street Journal reported that the UN had passed a resolution imposing sanctions on Jimmy Cherizier  (aka “Barbecue”), a gang leader who is blocking fuel and aid to the impoverished country as it struggles with a cholera outbreak and increasing hunger.  The sanctions package adopted by the UN Security Council include assets freeze, travel ban and arms embargo, against those engaging in or supporting criminal activity and violence, involving armed groups and criminal networks.  Designated activity includes recruiting children, carrying out kidnappings, trafficking, murder and sexual and gender-based violence.  Crucially, the resolution also designates the obstruction of humanitarian assistance to and inside Haiti, and any attacks on personnel or premises, of UN missions and operations.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-n-approves-sanctions-against-haitian-gang-leader-11666393906

https://news.un.org/en/story/2022/10/1129777

https://press.un.org/en/2022/sc15073.doc.htm

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US: NICARAGUA SANCTIONS – ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS MEASURES, GENERAL LICENSE AND FAQ

On 24 October, the US Treasury advised about a new Executive Order on taking additional steps to address the national emergency with respect to the situation in Nicaragua.  The new Executive Order gives the Treasury the authority to target certain persons that operate or have operated in the gold sector of the Nicaraguan economy, and any other sector identified by the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with the Secretary of State.  It also provides expanded sanctions authorities that could be used to prohibit new US investment in certain identified sectors in Nicaragua, the importation of certain products of Nicaraguan origin into the US, or the exportation, from the US, or by a US person, wherever located, of certain items to Nicaragua.  New General License GL 4 authorises US persons to engage in transactions prohibited by the Nicaragua Sanctions Regulations that are ordinarily incident and necessary to the wind down of any transaction involving the Directorate General of Mines (DGM) of the Nicaraguan Ministry of Energy and Mines, or any entity in which DGM owns, directly or indirectly, a 50% or greater interest until 23 November, provided that any payment to a blocked person must be made into a blocked account in accordance with the Regulations.  It also issued new FAQ 1093 about the General License.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/faqs/1093

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/nicaragua_gl4.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/nicaragua_eo_20221024.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy1046

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OFAC SANCTIONS NICARAGUA DIRECTORATE OF MINES AND GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL RESPONSIBLE FOR DECADES OF VIOLENCE

On 24 October, OFAC designated the Nicaraguan mining authority General Directorate of Mines (DGM) as well as an official of the Government of Nicaragua, Reinaldo Gregorio Lenin CERNA JUAREZ, over continued attacks on Nicaraguans’ freedom of expression and assembly. 

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20221024

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy1046

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EU ADDS 1 PERSON TO YEMEN SANCTIONS LIST

EU Regulation 2022/2304/EU of 24 October added Ahmad Al-Hamzi, a Major General, and Commander of the Houthi Air Force and Air Defense Forces, to its sanctions lists.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=OJ:L:2022:274I:FULL&from=EN

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 23

23 OCTOBER 2022

AUSTRIA: EU FUNDING AGENCY BOSS INVESTIGATED FOR LAUNDERING EU MONEY TO MALTA TRUST

On 22 October, The Shift reported that the head of the Agency for European Integration and Economic Development (AEI) in Vienna being accused of the fraud and embezzlement of EU funds to a private trust in Malta.  In July, raids were carried out at the Austrian finance ministry and at the offices of the federal police.

https://theshiftnews.com/2022/10/22/eu-agency-boss-investigated-for-laundering-eu-money-to-malta-trust/

EQUATORIAL GUINEA PROCEEDINGS AGAINST FRANCE BEFORE THE INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE ALLEGING THAT FRANCE IS FAILING TO COMPLY WITH ITS ASSET RECOVERY OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE 2003 UN CONVENTION AGAINST CORRUPTION 

On 18 October, an article in the European Journal of International Law reported on Equatorial Guinea having initiated proceedings in September at the ICJ, described as another stage in the long-running saga concerning the misappropriation and laundering of Equatoguinean public funds by Teodoro Ngueme Obiang Mangue, the son of the President of Equatorial Guinea.  The article aims to shed some light on the international asset recovery regime established by the UNCAC, and how these rules could apply to the case. 

https://www.ejiltalk.org/equatorial-guinea-v-france-no-2-a-first-attempt-at-international-litigation-on-stolen-asset-recovery/

IRAN ADVISES CITIZENS TO LEAVE UKRAINE

On 22 October, Eurasia Review reported that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran called on the Iranian nationals residing in Ukraine to leave that country for their own safety. 

https://www.eurasiareview.com/22102022-iran-advises-citizens-to-leave-ukraine/

SOUTH KOREA: CHINA-BASED ONLINE GAMBLING RING BUSTED; 20 ARRESTED

On 23 October, the Yonhap News Agency reported that authorities had busted an online gambling ring based in China for illicit operations in South Korea, worth a total of $3.9 billion.  Those arrested are accused of running the gambling sites from January of 2014 until July last year through the China headquarters in charge of a server and local operating units in South Korea.

https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20221023002600315?section=national/national

CUSTOMERS BATTLE TO REGAIN BILLIONS IN BITCOIN THE DoJ RECOVERED IN ITS LARGEST SEIZURE OF STOLEN CRYPTO

On 20 October, CNBC reported on the aftermath of the $70 million from customers’ accounts on the Bitfinex trading platform in 2016 and the subsequent recovery of funds by the DoJ.  It says that victims are embroiled in a battle over who is the legal owner of all that stolen crypto, with Bitfinex saying that it believes it’s already made its customers whole by providing them with a variety of digital tokens that customers could sell in exchange for cash after the hack. 

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/10/20/battle-over-billions-in-stolen-bitcoin-recovered-in-doj-seizure-.html

ESTONIA: 4 SUSPECTED IN €8-MILLION CRYPTOCURRENCY FRAUD

On 19 October, EER reported that 4 men are under investigation in relation to alleged false information and market manipulation in regard to the Dagcoin crypto-currency they had set up and which had netted them close to €8 million. 

https://news.err.ee/1608756766/four-suspected-in-8-million-cryptocurrency-fraud

SOUTH KOREA TO SET UP CYBERSECURITY TASK FORCE AFTER KAKAO DISRUPTIONS

On 18 October, the Korea Times reported that the presidential office announced a plan to establish a cybersecurity task force team to thwart threats and risks that can disrupt the nation’s key infrastructure after disruptions to Kakao’s ubiquitous messaging and settlement functions wreaked havoc on the nation. 

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2022/10/356_338055.html

MPs CALL FOR CRACKDOWN ON ADVISORS ENABLING TAX AVOIDANCE SCHEMES

On 24 October, City AM reported that a group of cross-party MPs in the all-party parliamentary group (APPG) on anti-corruption and responsible tax  have called on the UK government to begin cracking down on the accountants and financial advisors that facilitate tax avoidance schemes.

https://www.cityam.com/mps-call-for-crackdown-on-advisors-enabling-tax-avoidance-schemes/

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MALABU OIL SCANDAL: OECD CRITICISES ITALY OVER RECENT JUDGMENTS, SAYS OPL 245 RULING AT ODDS WITH ANTI-BRIBERY CONVENTION

On 18 October, Sahara Reporters reported that the OECD has strongly condemned Italy for recent judgments that now place Italy at odds with the OECD’s Anti-Bribery Convention.  An Italian court a few months ago acquitted energy companies, Eni and Royal Dutch Shell along with a series of past and present managers in one of the oil industry’s biggest corruption scandals.  The trial judge held that the companies and defendants had been discharged as there was no case to answer.

https://saharareporters.com/2022/10/18/breaking-malabu-oil-scandal-international-organisation-oecd-knocks-italy-over-recent

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