On 26 October, the US Treasury advised that OFAC had designated 10 Iranian officials for the brutal ongoing crackdown on nationwide protests in Iran, as well as 2 Iranian intelligence actors and 2 Iranian entities involved in the Iranian government’s efforts to disrupt digital freedom. Today’s action comes 40 days after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s arrest and death in the custody of Iran’s Morality Police and the ongoing brutal crackdown on peaceful protests in Iran.
On 26 October, a news release advised that OFAC had taken action to counter the Russian persistent malign influence campaigns and systemic corruption in Moldova by imposing sanctions on 9 individuals and 12 entities. The individuals and entities sanctioned today include oligarchs widely recognized for capturing and corrupting Moldova’s political and economic institutions and those acting as instruments of Russia’s global influence campaign, which seeks to manipulate the US and its allies and partners, including Moldova and Ukraine. The designations include former Moldovan government official Vladimir Plahotniuc, who engaged in state capture by exerting control over and manipulating key sectors of Moldova’s government, including the law enforcement, electoral, and judicial sectors.
On 26 October, a post on the EU Sanctions blog reported on the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee having published the Government response to a June 2022 report. This includes the detail that Overseas Territories have frozen Russian assets with a combined estimated value in excess of $9 billion, including $8.4 billion by the Cayman Islands and more than $400 million by the BVI. Crown Dependencies have frozen assets worth over £1 billion, including £1.9 million by the Isle of Man, £5 million by Guernsey and £1.15 billion by Jersey.
On 25 October, OCCRP reported that a new study finds that the UN has paid out tens of millions of dollars to Syrian companies linked to war profiteers, human rights abusers, and sanctioned figures linked to the Bashar Al-Assad regime. The UN paid out roughly $137 million to Syrian companies linked to human rights abusers, war profiteers, sanctioned people, and other figures connected to the Bashar Al-Assad regime in 2019 and 2020.
On 26 October, a post from Kenneth Rijock pointed one towards tips from Robert Mitchell, from Riskscreen, who has posted his personal list for profiling Politically Exposed Persons (PEP) that compliance officers will find instructive; he calls it “TIGHT”.
On 26 October, the Brisbane Times and others reported that a joint law enforcement agency inquiry led by the NSW Crime Commission investigated for the first time the nature and extent of money laundering activity that may be occurring in licensed premises in New South Wales, and concerns that cash flowing through the state’s poker machines had made them attractive to criminals to make it appear that their money was legitimately acquired. It is said that NSW poker machines in pubs and clubs turned over $95 billion in 2020-21, and while it was not possible to quantify how much of this was the proceeds of organised crime, the amount was estimated to be in the billions.
On 26 October, Haaretz reported that a corporation in Myanmar implicated in crime and corruption – whose top executives were arrested in Thailand on drug and money laundering charges – is said to have served as a middleman between Israeli arms exporters and the military junta ruling Myanmar. The UK imposed sanctions on the corporation, Star Sapphire Trading, for its ties to the Myanmar army during the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
On 26 October, MSN reported that the General Court of the EU had annulled the European sanctions against Dmitry Ovsiannikov, governor of Sevastopol between 2017 and 2019, finding that once he left office no responsibility can be attributed for the violation of the territorial integrity of Crimea.
On 25 October, a report from the Stimson Center says that States Parties to the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) are required to report on their conventional arms exports and imports each year. These reports have the potential to provide much-needed transparency in the notoriously opaque global arms trade – but ATT annual reporting has yet to live up to its full potential. The report highlights the key trends, transparency issues, and good practices exemplified by the 2021 annual reports and considers whether some of the negative transparency trends that have plagued reporting for years may finally be showing signs of reversing.