It was reported today that Panama reached a new record in clean energy production in September with 97% of electricity generated from clean sources – the vast bulk from hydroelectric power.
4 NOVEMBER 2022
ALGERIA-MOROCCO CONFLICT IS A POSSIBILITY
A briefing from Oxford Analytics on 29 September said that tensions between Algeria and Morocco have been rising over the past 2 years, and they have clashed at the UN about engaging with a UN peace process over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
CANADA ORDERS CHINESE COMPANIES TO DIVEST FROM MINERS AFTER SECURITY REVIEW
On 2 November, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Canadian Government had ordered 3 Chinese companies to divest their shares from domestic companies involved in extracting critical minerals, citing national-security concerns.
JPMORGAN SETTLES WHISTLEBLOWER EXECUTIVE’S RETALIATION LAWSUIT BEFORE TRIAL
On 25 October, KYC 360 reported that JP Morgan had agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a former anticorruption lawyer at the bank. An attorney and former vice-president in the bank’s global anti-corruption compliance division, claimed she was fired after raising concerns about the bank’s anti-corruption policies, including its screening of employees and third-party entities.
UK: GOVERNMENT RESPONSE TO PARLIAMENTARY REPORT ON ILLICIT FINANCE AND THE WAR IN UKRAINE
On 26 October, Parliament released the Government Response of 1 September to the Foreign Affairs Committee Second Report of Session 2022–23, “The Cost of Complacency: Illicit Finance and the War in Ukraine” published on 30 June. Saying it is not complacent about the threat, the response sets out what has been done since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The response sets out the Government’s answer to each of the Committee’s specific conclusions and recommendations.
US STATE DEPARTMENT OFFERS $5 MILLION FOR INFORMATION ON NORTH KOREA-LINKED SMUGGLING NETWORK
On 3 November, UPI reported that the State Department has offered a $5 million reward for information leading to the disruption of a smuggling network that has secretly delivered petroleum products to North Korea.
EXODUS OF INTERNATIONAL BANKS FROM PACIFIC ISLAND NATIONS THREATENS REGIONAL ECONOMIC STABILITY
On 4 November, The Strategist from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute warned that, in the Pacific islands increasing numbers of islanders are at risk of becoming estranged from financial services. Many nations are at the early stage of developing their financial infrastructure, and the continued development of these systems is reliant on assistance from the international private and public sectors. Relationships between international financial institutions (including Australia’s banks) and local and regional banks have been essential to the region’s financial infrastructure. Remittances from overseas workers are a significant feature of the economies that ensures a balance-of-payments surplus in most receiving countries. In short, banking relationships with international financial institutions provide the connective tissue needed to support domestic banks in the Pacific. Of the ‘big four’ Australian banks (ANZ, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, NAB and Westpac), ANZ is now the only financial institution that maintains a physical presence in many of the Pacific islands. Australia’s other banks have opted to de-risk their financial footprint in the region.
FOOD FRAUD: GINGER
On 4 November, a paper from Nature says that an important spice, ginger has been widely distributed in the Chinese and the EU markets, the 2 largest trading areas, in various forms. The ginger supply chain between China and the EU is long and complex, providing opportunities for fraudsters to deceive consumers. In it, ginger is used as an example for interpreting the fraud issues within low-priced and high-trade volume spice products. This review aims to summarise the open access information from food and food fraud databases, literature, and stakeholders about ginger fraud, and to map, deconstruct and analyse the food fraud vulnerability in the supply chain. It says that, to ensure the integrity of the ginger supply chain, there is a need to apply fraud vulnerability tools in the companies of the industry. In addition, screening and confirmatory techniques based on the characteristics of ginger should be utilised for monitoring fraud issues in the supply chain.
GUINEA JUNTA ORDERS CORRUPTION CASE AGAINST OUSTED LEADER ALPHA CONDÉ
On 4 November, Yahoo News reported that Guinea’s justice minister has ordered legal proceedings against former President Alpha Condé and more than 180 officials from his deposed regime for alleged corruption and embezzlement of public funds. Condé was overthrown last year, and is said to be in Turkey for medical treatment, but his exact whereabouts are unknown.
UK GOVERNMENT BANS SERVICES ENABLING THE TRANSPORT OF RUSSIAN OIL
On 3 November, a news release advised of new legislation which introduces a ban on UK ships and services facilitating the maritime transport of Russian crude oil from 5 December. The legislation will also pave the way for a cap on the price of seaborne Russian crude oil.
FRENCH COURT HAS SENTENCED FORMER LIBERIAN REBEL COMMANDER KUNTI KAMARA TO LIFE IN PRISON FOR CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY
On 3 November, Jurist reported that the prosecution relied on numerous witnesses and victims to testify to Kamara’s participation in or supervision of the abuses. Kamara stood accused of multiple crimes against humanity including rape, torture and killings. He served as a commander in the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy (ULIMO) during the first Liberian civil war from 1989-97.
382 ARRESTS DURING JOINT ACTIONS AGAINST SMUGGLERS USING THE BALKAN ROUTES
On 4 November, a news release from Europol advised that law enforcement authorities jointly targeted firearms trafficking, drugs trafficking, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings during coordinated EMPACT Joint Action Days between 26 and 29 October. The actions, which included intensified checks on the EU’s external borders, were coordinated by Spain and Europol, and activities involving 28 countries across Europe were also supported by Eurojust, Frontex, INTERPOL, SELEC and other international organisations. In total, the activities led to 382 arrests of suspects, the majority of whom were alleged to be involved in drug trafficking, facilitation of illegal immigration, document fraud and the trafficking of firearms.
METHAMPHETAMINE PRODUCTION IN MEXICO IS TOXIC FOR THE ENVIRONMENT
On 3 November, an article from Insight Crime concentrates on Sinaloa, as the centre of synthetic drug production in Mexico, and which suffers from the resulting environmental damage. From 2010 to June 2022, Mexican authorities secured nearly 700 clandestine laboratories in the state of Sinaloa and neighbouring municipalities.
US: JUDGE OVERSEEING THE CELSIUS BANKRUPTCY CASE ORDERS PROBE INTO WHETHER THE FIRM WAS OPERATING LIKE A PONZI SCHEME
On 2 November, Coin Telegraph reported that the federal judge overseeing the Celsius crypto lending platform case has asked for an investigation to look into whether the firm acted like a Ponzi scheme. This was in response to allegations from customers that Celsius had used assets of new users to pay yields and facilitate withdrawals to existing users, and as a result, fits the legal definition of a Ponzi scheme.
5 SUSPECTS ARE ON TRIAL IN FRANCE FOR ALLEGEDLY HAVING IMPORTED CHEAP SPANISH WINE AND PASSED IT OFF AS MORE EXPENSIVE VINTAGES
On 4 November, Securing Industry reported that it is said to have started in 2013 and continued until 2019 – involved 4.6 million bottles of Spanish wine and generated an estimated $4 million in profits for the gang. This is not the only such case reported this year.
SWITZERLAND ADDS 3 IRANIAN INDIVIDUALS AND 1 ORGANISATION TO ITS RUSSIA SANCTIONS
On 4 November, a post from Baker McKenzie advised that Switzerland had added 3 Iranian individuals and 1 organisation to its list of those subject to an asset and economic resource freeze.
LATIN AMERICA: WILL BOOMING LITHIUM BRING COMPETITION — OR COLLABORATION?
On 2 November, an article from Americas Quarterly posed this question, saying that nearly 55% of the world’s lithium deposits lie in Latin America’s lithium triangle, the swath of territory encompassing Chile’s and Argentina’s northern regions and Bolivia’s south-west; and the price of lithium carbonate equivalent, a key lithium derivative, has soared almost 500% in the past 2 years. Chile, Argentina and Bolivia could become major global lithium players by the decade’s end, but there are risks that supply could falter if production is not streamlined.
AUTHORITARIAN ABUSES: THE WEAPONISATION OF ANTI-FINANCIAL CRIME
On 2 November, a Commentary from RUSI said that financial crime measures are increasingly being co-opted for authoritarian ends should concern us all. It says that, for authoritarian regimes, the FATF’s standards have been co-opted to justify the suppression and discrediting of critics on dubious or unfounded grounds. Targets include watchdogs, investigative journalists, human rights lawyers, pro-democracy reformers and political opposition figures, and any other entities deemed to threaten the regime. But misuse is also seen in stable democracies, it says.
SEC CHARGES CREATOR AND PROMOTERS IN CONNECTION WITH TRADE COIN CLUB
On 4 November, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the SEC had announced charges against Douver Torres Braga, Joff Paradise, Keleionalani Akana Taylor, and Jonathan Tetreault for their roles in Trade Coin Club, a fraudulent crypto Ponzi scheme that raised more than 82,000 bitcoin, valued at $295 million at the time, from more than 100,000 investors worldwide.