As the European Medicines Agency (EMA) warned that the pandemic “is not over yet” and the mutation of the virus that causes Covid-19 is “faster” than the process of updating vaccines, and warned that a “new wave is expected in the coming weeks” for new subvariants of Ómicron…the Ministry of Health (MINSA) here reported that there are 6,579 cases of dengue nationwide – 5,917 cases are without warning signs, 647 with warning signs and 15 serious cases have been reported, of which 3 have died. there have also been 4,863 cases of malaria this year.
28 OCTOBER 2022
‘FAT LEONARD’ EXTRADITION GIVES MADURO REGIME AN EDGE IN REDEFINING RELATIONS WITH THE US
On 27 October, USNI News reported that a legal expert has said that the extradition of international fugitive Leonard Francis from Venezuela to the US could mark the start of a major shift in the relationship. He was arrested while traveling on a Malaysian passport and attempting to fly to Russia after he flew to the country from Cuba. He had fled the US and is wanted in connection with a huge fraud involving the US Navy in Asia.
BELGIUM: CHANGES IN ULTIMATE BENEFICIAL OWNERS LEGISLATION
On 26 October, an article from White & Case advised about changes from 1 October to Belgian law regarding the recording of ultimate beneficial owners (UBO), in order to ensure compliance with the relevant EU Directive. The amendments introduce a number of changes to the previous rules, in particular as regards the very definition of the ultimate beneficial owner, as well as the scope of exemptions from the general record-keeping duty.
INCREASE OF THEFT AGAINST SHIPS TRANSITING PHILIP CHANNEL IN SINGAPORE STRAIT
On 28 October, Seatrade Maritime News reported that there has been an increase in the number of incidents of theft, robbery and piracy against ships in the Philip Channel in the west of the Singapore Strait this year. There have been 8 incidents in the Philip Channel so far this year, compared to 3 in the whole of 2021.
ENABLING CROSS-SECTOR DATA-SHARING TO BETTER PREVENT AND DETECT SCAMS
A conference report from RUSI on 20 October says that without collaboration and data-sharing, fighting fraud has been described as ‘like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle without knowing who has the next missing piece’. Better information sharing is one of the Strategic Objectives of the UK Government’s current Economic Crime Plan, and is likely to underpin the upcoming second iteration.
AFGHANISTAN UNDER THE TALIBAN: THE UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES OF SANCTIONS
On 24 October, a Commentary from RUSI asks if, as the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan continues to deteriorate, is the international community helping or exacerbating the situation?
FROM FREEZE TO SEIZE: HOW THE UK CAN BREAK THE DEADLOCK ON ASSET RECOVERY
On 10 October, a Commentary from RUSI observed that the UK continues to impose sanctions, but it is lagging behind allies in developing its approach to the recovery of ill-gotten assets. It says that it has been months since the last attempt to freeze (and seize and confiscate) oligarch assets. This inaction is indicative of 2 elements: the persistent confusion among UK policymakers surrounding the ultimate goal of confiscating Russian sanctioned assets, and the inadequacy of the UK’s asset recovery frameworks when faced with this task.
CHARTERER LINKED TO RUSSIAN OLIGARCH WINS $2 MILLION APPEAL OVER SANCTIONS DISPUTE
On 28 October, TradeWinds reported that a court in London has reinstated a $2 million arbitration award to a charterer linked to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska after judges ruled that a shipowner should have accepted payment in euros to avoid sanctions concerns. Dutch bulker specialist MUR Shipping triggered a force majeure clause in its contract of affreightment with charterer RTI in April 2018, 4 days after the US imposed sanctions on Deripaska, who was then president of RTI’s parent company, Rusal.
SPAIN SANCTIONS FULL OVERHAUL OF GAMBLING LAW
On 28 October, SBC News reported that Spain will undertake significant changes to its gambling market following the Senate’s approval to reform the Gambling Law of 2011.
HOW COULD US SANCTIONS ON NICARAGUA GOLD EFFECT ILLEGAL MINING IN COSTA RICA?
On 27 October, the Tico Times reported that gold is Nicaragua’s number 1 export reaching almost $900 million in 2021. It says that Costa Rica currently has no legal gold operations. However, in the 1990s Costa Rica had granted a mining concession in a remote jungle location not far from the Nicaraguan border, but in reaction to fierce opposition to the open pit mine, it cancelled the concession back in 2011. That has not stopped mining in the area. Given its proximity to Nicaragua and the fact that access is to the location is very difficult, local authorities have struggled to combat illegal mining. Almost all of those working in these mines are poor Nicaraguans that cross the border without documentation.
SWITZERLAND: AML – NEW GUIDANCE FROM THE MEF AND THE NEW GOVERNMENT’S POSITIONS ON BITCOIN REGULATION
On 28 October, The Cryptonomist reported that a very recent circular which replaces a previous one has provided new guidance on AML sanction proceedings.
EURO BANKING ASSOCIATION (EBA) PUBLISHES FRAUD TAXONOMY
On 28 October, Finextra reported that the EBA has made its payment fraud taxonomy available to the public in a bid to curb the rising threats to the European payments system. The taxonomy has been developed by the EBA’s expert group on payment fraud-related topics, and is designed to provide a “simplified and straightforward framework to describe fraud scenarios related to all kinds of payments, including card transactions”. The hope is that the taxonomy will be used by banks to develop some common terminology around payment fraud that will then make it easier for them to share data and intelligence.
EU: A MEMBER STATE CANNOT EXTRADITE A THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONAL TO ANOTHER THIRD COUNTRY WHERE THAT NATIONAL HAS BEEN CONVICTED BY FINAL JUDGMENT IN ANOTHER MEMBER STATE FOR THE SAME ACTS
A news release from the CJEU on 28 October was concerned with a German case involving an extradition request made by the US authorities for the purpose of prosecuting a Serbian national who, for that reason, was remanded in custody in Germany.
UK: RUSSIA (SANCTIONS) (EU EXIT) (AMENDMENT) (NO. 15) REGULATIONS 2022
These Regulations make further amendments to the Russia sanctions regime and comes into force on 29 October, with the exception of the prohibition on the import of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) which will come into force on 1 January.
WILDLIFE EXPERTS: RHINO HORN TRAFFICKING IS ON THE RISE WORLDWIDE
On 27 October, OCCRP reported that the findings of the Wildlife Justice Commission’s (WJC) report show a dire situation for rhinoceroses, one of the world’s last forms of megafauna.
US GOLD MINING COMPANY VIOLATED ENVIRONMENTAL LAW MORE THAN 3,000 TIMES
On 28 October, OCCRP reported that a federal judge found that a gold mining company has violated environmental laws more than 3,000 times at its Buckhorn Mine in “one of the unspoiled natural areas” of Washington State. She found the company Crown Resources liable for pollution of waters in and around the Buckhorn Mountain Mine which flows into the Kettle River watershed, a tributary of the Columbia River.
THE RISK OF CROSS DEBARMENT BY MULTILATERAL DEVELOPMENT BANKS
On 28 October, an article from Out-Law says that multilateral development banks (MDB), such as the World Bank, police fraud, corruption, collusion and other forms of corporate misconduct. Those who engage in wrongdoing can be barred from projects, and a system of cross-debarment operates which means the debarment decisions by one MDB are recognised and applied by other MDB if certain conditions are met. It is therefore important that businesses reliant on work from MDB-funded projects familiarise themselves with how cross-debarment works and understand what they can do to avoid it.
PANAMA’S EX-PRESIDENT TO FACE HEARING FOR MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME
On 26 October, OCCRP reported that former Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli will face a preliminary hearing for his alleged role in the “New Business” money laundering scheme, related to the purchase of a Panamanian media outlet. It notes that the former President faces another open corruption investigation into his role in a scheme involving bribes paid out by Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht; and his 2 sons were sentenced in a US court in May to 3 years each for laundering $28 million from bribes given by the same Brazilian construction company.
ANOTHER AUSTRALIAN CASINO OPERATOR IS IN TROUBLE AS INDUSTRY SCRUTINY INTENSIFIES
On 26 October, Casino.org reported that another casino operator, albeit much smaller, is in trouble for violating gaming rules in Australia. ABC News reported that the Reef Hotel Casino in Cairns violated Queensland’s Casino Control Act. The company that holds its casino licence, Reef Corporate Services Ltd, acknowledged its breaches in court.
AN ASSESSMENT OF THE SECOND US GOVERNMENT DOMESTIC TERRORISM ASSESSMENT
On 28 October, a post from Lawfare said that the new report is the second iteration of the Strategic Intelligence Assessment and Data on Domestic Terrorism. From additional granularity in the size and scope of the threat of domestic terrorism to a more forthcoming acknowledgement of its complexity, it should provide a road map for US domestic counterterrorism efforts.
THE MODERNISATION OF THE INTER-AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (IDB) SHOULD PROCEED
An article in Americas Quarterly on 17 October argues that a change of leadership at the Inter-American Development Bank should not delay implementation of a sorely needed reform agenda. The IDB is the largest development bank in the Americas, whether measured by assets, capital or shareholders. Established in 1959 ahead of all other such regional multilateral lenders around the globe, it is owned by 48 governments, including 26 borrowing members from Latin America and the Caribbean and 22 non-borrowing nations. The US has a 30% stake, by far the single largest holding.
US: MASTERMIND BEHIND MASSIVE MARRIAGE FRAUD CONSPIRACY SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON
On 27 October, a news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement advised that Ashley Yen Nguyen, 58, was also ordered to serve 3 years of supervised release and pay $334,605 in fines. She pleaded guilty to the charges in November 2020. As part of her plea, she admitted to conspiring to engage in marriage fraud, mail fraud, immigration fraud, money laundering and making false statements in a tax return.
US COAST GUARD HALTS ILLEGAL USE OF ‘PAPER CAPTAINS’ IN WASHINGTON-BASED TUNA FISHING OPERATION
On 27 October, Homeland Security News reported that many fishing vessels have engaged in a pattern and practice of hiring foreign nationals to serve on US commercial fishing vessels in the capacity of captain, and the USCG has ended the use of illegal foreign nationals on a commercial fishing vessel that operated out of the State of Washington.
CUSTOMS: NEW AGREEMENT TO IMPROVE TRADE FLOWS BETWEEN THE EU AND MOLDOVA ENTERS INTO FORCE ON 1 NOVEMBER
On 28 October, the EU announced that a new agreement between the EU and Moldova will enter into force on 1 November, improving trade facilitation for businesses. The new arrangements mean that both the EU and Moldova will mutually recognise each other’s Authorised Economic Operators (AEO) programmes.
BaFin ISSUES WARNING ABOUT FAKE OFFERS OF ASSISTANCE FROM UK FCA
On 28 October, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the German regulator, BaFin, has become aware that consumers are currently being contacted by persons purporting to work for the UK Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) who are claiming to offer assistance with the recovery of lost funds. Those contacted are first asked to transfer high sums of money, with the claim that this is required for “verification”.
ILLEGAL FISHING SPURS BILLIONS IN LOSSES FOR DEVELOPING COUNTRIES, STUDY SAYS
On 26 October, the Guardian reported that developing countries are losing billions of dollars due to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, which siphons off revenue through illicit financial flows, according to a new study by the Financial Transparency Coalition (FTC).