While Panama celebrates a (damp) independence day, it has been announced that the wearing of face masks on public transport is to remain mandatory for the time being (although one has to say an increase in people not wearing a mask – though still definitely the minority)…
3 NOVEMBER 2022
US: FORMER HEAVYWEIGHT BOXER HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH TRAFFICKING 22 TONNES OF COCAINE WORTH OVER $1 BILLION
On 2 November, Sky News reported that Goran Gogic, 43, from Montenegro, was arrested while trying to board a flight to Zurich from Miami International Airport, after being indicted by a grand jury in New York.
US ACCUSES NORTH KOREA OF TRYING TO HIDE SHIPMENTS OF AMMUNITION TO RUSSIA
On 2 November, CNN reported that the US is accusing North Korea of secretly supplying Russia with artillery shells by concealing where they are being transported to. It is said that North Korea is trying to hide the shipments by making it appear as if the ammunition is being sent to countries in the Middle East or North Africa.
GHANA DRAFTS PLAN TO PROTECT THE MARITIME ECONOMY
On 2 November, Dryad Global reported that Ghana sees enormous potential in its blue economy, but faces threats including piracy, illegal fishing, drug smuggling and human trafficking. A new National Integrated Maritime Strategy (NIMS) aims to ensure that Ghana’s maritime domain will be safe and its blue economy thriving by 2040.
AUSTRALIAN AND SINGAPORE BANKS TRANSACTING WITH MYANMAR MILITARY’S INNWA BANK DESPITE SANCTIONS
On 3 November, Mizzima reported that released bank records reveal transactions with the international banks ANZ, UOB and BIDV in Myanmar kyat, according to pressure group Justice for Myanmar. It shows that major international banks continued to transact with Innwa Bank after its parent company, Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), was sanctioned by the US, UK and EU in response to the grave human rights violations and atrocity crimes committed by the junta in their illegal attempted coup. ANZ is based in Australia and UOB is based in Singapore, and the Australian and Singapore governments have refused to sanction MEC, thereby allowing their banks to transact with Innwa Bank.
AUSTRALIA’S FINANCIAL CRIMES WATCHDOG ORDERS AUDIT INTO SPORTSBOOKS SPORTSBET AND BET365 OVER AML CONCERNS
On 3 November, Asia Gaming reported that AUSTRAC has ordered an audit of leading sportsbooks Sportsbet and Bet365 to assess their compliance with AML/CFT rules. A similar probe was launched into Entain, which operates Labdrokes and Neds in Australia, in September.
MALAYSIAN NATIONAL HAS TO FORFEIT MORE THAN $2 MILLION SENT TO NEW ZEALAND FOR LAUNDERING
On 3 November, Stuff reported that a Malaysian man living in New Zealand will have to forfeit more than $2 million after a High Court ruled it had been sent to New Zealand for laundering purposes.
UK: HUGE HAUL OF COUNTERFEIT DESIGNER GOODS WORTH £200 MILLION SEIZED BY POLICE
On 3 November, ITV reported that a huge haul of counterfeit designer goods, including fake watches, sunglasses and handbags, worth £200 million has been seized by police in Southall. About 84,000 items, mostly counterfeit designer watches, were seized from a storage unit.
US: EXPORT INFORMATION MUST NOT BE DISCLOSED TO FOREIGN ENTITIES
On 3 November, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the Census Bureau has seen an increase in inquiries from foreign governments for copies of the electronic export information (EEI). It has also received inquiries from the trade about specific countries requiring EEI-related documentation, such as the internal transaction number. However, the information contained in the EEI is confidential under US law and that under the Foreign Trade Regulations the EEI may not be provided to a foreign government for any purpose. EEI is the data that must be filed through the Automated Export System (AES) for goods shipped from the US to a foreign country. The filing includes information about the sender and receiver of the goods, and about the goods being exported.
DOCUMENTS REVEAL WAGNER GROUP TIES TO SUDANESE MILITARY COMPANIES
On 2 November, OCCRP reported that the Russian mercenary company owned by the infamous businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, secured and maintained its position in Sudan’s gold sector while working closely with companies affiliated with Sudan’s brutal military.
UNODC LAUNCH MANUAL TO TACKLE UNDERREPORTED CRIME OF ORGAN TRADE
On 2 November, OCCRP reported that the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has launched a new toolkit on how to effectively investigate and prosecute the trafficking of people for the purpose of organ removal – a form of trafficking that has been persistently left in the dark, yet is detected in many countries around the world.
HOW ILLEGAL LOGGING BECAME NATIONAL SECURITY CRISIS IN CHILE
On 2 November, Insight Crime reported that Chile has long grappled with rampant illegal logging, particularly in the south. But as clashes between timber mafias, loggers, and Indigenous communities worsen, a new legal framework is trying to contain the problem. The change has so far led to the arrest of 25 people in the country’s illegal logging heartland.
RUSSIAN OIL FUELLING AMERICAN CARS VIA SANCTIONS LOOPHOLE
On 1 November, a video report from the Wall Street Journal reported that a Lukoil refinery in Sicily uses up to 93% Russian crude to make fuel that eventually reaches the US.
UK: LACK OF CUSTOMER DUE DILIGENCE (CDD) IDENTIFIED BY SRA AS MAIN CAUSE OF AML BREACHES
On 2 November, the Law Society advised that most solicitors and law firms take their AML obligations seriously, according to the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s latest AML report. But a “small minority” aren’t yet playing their part in the fight against economic crime.
NEW ONLINE GATEKEEPER RULES COME INTO FORCE IN EUROPE
On 1 November, EU Business reported that the EU Digital Markets Act (DMA) entered into force on 1 November, with the new EU Regulation putting an end to unfair practices by companies that act as gatekeepers in the online platform economy. The DMA defines when a large online platform qualifies as a “gatekeeper”; and the DMA will define a series of obligations they will need to respect, including prohibiting gatekeepers from engaging in certain behaviours.
GLOBAL PIRACY REMAINS AT LOWEST LEVEL IN DECADES
On 2 November, Insurance Marine News reported that global piracy and armed robbery incidents in the maritime industry have fallen to their lowest level in three decades according to the report for the first 9 months of 2022 from the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB). However, the latest global quarterly piracy report still detailed 90 incidents of piracy and armed robbery against ships in the first 9 months of 2022.
‘AUTHORISING’ IS AT THE CENTRE OF MOST FCPA CASES
A post on the FCPA Blog on 3 November points out that the FCPA prohibits offering to pay, paying, promising to pay, or authorising the payment of money or anything of value to a foreign official for an improper purpose – in plain English, it means giving approval, either explicitly or implicitly.
EU COMBINED NOMENCLATURE HAS BEEN UPDATED FROM 1 JANUARY
On 2 November, Baker McKenzie advised that the European Commission has published the updated Combined Nomenclature (CN) for 2023, which takes effect from 1 January. Noting the main changes made, the post reminds one that declaration of goods upon import, export, or when subject to intra-Community trade statistics between EU Member States is based on the CN; and it sets the customs duty rate that is applicable as well as determines how the products are handled for statistical purposes.
MEXICO: MARINE KNOWN AS ‘EL MARINO’ HAS ALLEGEDLY STARTED HIS OWN CARTEL
On 27 October, Vice reported that a former Mexican marine and ex-lieutenant for the infamous Sinaloa Cartel drug lord Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada is forming a new cartel, according to a series of official documents leaked by a hacker group. Carlos Enrique Martínez Cuesta, known as “El Marino” or “El 5,” recently parted ways with the Sinaloa Cartel.
RUSSIA’S SECURITY SERVICE WORKS TO SUBVERT MOLDOVA’S PRO-WESTERN GOVERNMENT
On 28 October, the Washington Post reported that a trove of sensitive materials obtained by Ukrainian intelligence and reviewed by The Washington Post illustrates how Russia continues to try to manipulate countries in Eastern Europe. The FSB has funnelled tens of millions of dollars from some of Russia’s biggest state companies to cultivate a network of Moldovan politicians and reorient the country toward Moscow.
NEW ZEALAND ADDS 14 INDIVIDUALS AND 7 ENTITIES TO RUSSIAN SANCTIONS
On 3 November, EU Sanctions blog reported that those designated include military personnel, defence entities and executives, disinformation outlets and a paramilitary organisation and its senior commanders.
CROWDFUNDING: PRYTULA FOUNDATION RAISED $5.5 MILLION FROM PRIVATE DONORS TO BUY 50 FV103 SPARTAN COMBAT VEHICLES USED BY THE BRITISH ARMY
On 3 November, the Guardian reported that this is the latest example of the extraordinary scale and indeed speed of the crowdfunding campaigns that have been powering the Ukrainian military since the early days of the war.
DUBAI FSA FINES KPMG LLP AND FORMER KPMG LLP AUDIT PARTNER FOR AUDIT FAILINGS
A release on Mondo Visione on 3 November advised that the Dubai Financial Services Authority had imposed fines of $1,500,000 on KPMG LLP and $500,000 on Mr Milind Navalkar a former KPMG LLP Audit Partner and DFSA registered Audit Principal, over Abraaj Capital Limited Audit Failings.