The first shipment of over 2,000 Christmas trees have arrived in Panama from Canada.
16 NOVEMBER 2022
US: 3 CHARGED WITH ALLEGEDLY SENDING EXPORT-CONTROLLED DEFENCE-RELATED TECHNICAL DATA TO CHINA AND TO SUPPLY THE DoD WITH CHINESE-ORIGIN RARE EARTH MAGNETS FOR AVIATION SYSTEMS AND MILITARY ITEMS
On 14 November, a news release from US Immigration & Customs Enforcement announced that 3 individuals and Quadrant Magnetics LLC had been charged with wire fraud, violations of the Arms Export Control Act and smuggling of goods for their roles in an illegal scheme to send export-controlled defence-related technical data to China and to unlawfully supply the Department of Defense with Chinese-origin rare earth magnets for aviation systems and military items.
IRELAND TO CREATE NEW GAMBLING REGULATOR
On 15 November, iGB reported that the Gambling Regulation Bill will establish a new statutory authority, the Gambling Regulatory Authority. Gambling is currently regulated through a fragmented governance structure that runs through multiple agencies; including the Department of Justice and Equality, revenue commissioners from the Irish Tax Authority and district courts.
RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE OLEG DERIPASKA’S EMPLOYEE PLEADS NOT GUILTY TO EVADING US SANCTIONS
On 16 November, Reuters reported that a New Jersey woman who allegedly helped Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska evade US sanctions has pleaded not guilty to charges of violating sanctions and destroying evidence.
GUATEMALA: 2 AMERICANS FACING CHARGES OF SMUGGLING PRE-HISPANIC ARTIFACTS
On 15 November, the Seattle Times reported that 2 Americans, one a photographer and the other a connoisseur of Mayan folk art, are facing charges of smuggling pre-Hispanic artifacts in Guatemala.
UK: SURVEY REVEALS APATHY AND IGNORANCE OVER AML FINE RISK AMONG PROPERTY PROFESSIONALS
On 16 November, Property Eye reported that a new survey found that nearly half of property professionals aren’t bothering to upgrade AML processes because of ignorance or apathy over the risk of financial penalties. This was despite the survey also revealing that almost half of respondents had identified an instance of suspected money laundering in the past 3 years, and 59% said they were not completely confident in their AML procedures. Despite the growing threat, 42% of respondents said they are considering cutting their compliance budget in light of the expected recession.
LEGAL POWERS FOR GUERNSEY FINANCIAL CRIME INVESTIGATION UNIT
On 15 November, the BBC reported on new legal powers for the Office of the Director of the Economic & Financial Crime Bureau (EFCB), which has been operating since June 2021 under administrative provisions. The new law provided clarity around its functions and makes provision for accessing a wide range of investigative powers and legal remedies.
EUROPEAN COMMISSION REPORT HIGHLIGHTS ONLINE GAMBLING’S MONEY LAUNDERING RISKS
On 15 November, an article from Ballard Spahr LLP reported on the 2022 Suprenational Risk Assessment (SNRA) Report which analyses, on a broad scale, money laundering and terrorism financing risks and proposes a plan of action to address them, and also examines more specifically “sectors or products where relevant changes have been detected”. It flags the “Gambling Sector” as a “high risk” area of AML/CFT concern, with a particular focus on online gambling.
EX-NORWAY AND ASTON VILLA FOOTBALLER CAREW JAILED FOR TAX EVASION
On 16 November, The 42 reported that former Premier League and Norway striker John Carew has been sentenced to 14 months in prison for tax evasion and ordered to pay a fine by Oslo’s district court.
OFAC SANCTIONS MALTA-BASED, RUSSIAN-OWNED AVIATION COMPANY AND ITS BUSINESS JETS
On 15 November, a post on Kenneth Rijock’s blog reported that OFAC has placed sanctions upon a large number of Russian nationals, as well as against EMPEROR AVIATION LTD, a Russian-owned and controlled business jet charter company based in Malta. Additionally, Emperor’s fleet of aircraft, all of which are registered in Malta, and therefore carry 9H tail numbers. It is said that Emperor aircraft have been used, since the Russian invasion of the Ukraine, to transport individuals known to be oligarchs to and from countries outside of Russia.
IRAN FREES GREEK TANKERS AFTER NEARLY 6 MONTHS
On 16 November, Lloyds List reported that 2 tankers, which were seized in May in retaliation for US move to confiscate cargo from aframax tanker held in Greece, have been released after presumed diplomatic agreement between Greece and Iran.
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OIL PRICES RISE AFTER DRONE ATTACK IN PERSIAN GULF ON TANKER OWNED BY ISRAELI TYCOON
On 16 November, the Guardian reported that oil prices have risen after a tanker owned by an Israeli billionaire was hit by a drone carrying a bomb off the coast of Oman. Pacific Zircon is owned by Idan Ofer and operated by the Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping.
UK ADOPTS FURTHER INTERNATIONAL EXCHANGE OF INFORMATION ON TAX MATTERS
An article from Out-Law on 16 November advised that the UK has signed up to 2 new multi-lateral competent authority agreements (MCAA) for the automatic exchange of information about 2 different categories of international activity. The first relates to the automatic exchange of information under the OECD Model Rules for Reporting by Digital Platforms, with regulations expected to come into force from 1 January 2024. The second relates to the automatic exchange of information about arrangements that attempt to either circumvent the OECD Common Reporting Standard or prevent the identification of beneficial owners of entities and trusts.
SWEDEN DROPS INVESTIGATION INTO SUSPECTED ERICSSON BRIBERY IN CHINA
On 14 November, Yahoo Finance reported that the Swedish Prosecution Authority said it had closed an investigation into suspected bribery payments made in China by employees at telecoms equipment maker Ericsson because there was no evidence a crime had been committed. It had previously admitted to engaging in bribery in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait from 2000 to 2016 in a $1 billion corruption settlement with the US DoJ.
HMRC: COVID FRAUD TASKFORCE TO LEAVE BILLIONS UNACCOUNTED FOR
On 14 November, City AM reported that a unit set up to tackle Covid fraud is set to leave £3.3 billion outstanding when it winds down in March 2023, campaigners have warned.
US: SMALL BUSINESS GROUP CHALLENGES LAW REQUIRING CORPORATE-OWNERSHIP DISCLOSURE
On 15 November, the Wall Street Journal reported that a small business group is suing to block a law that was designed to stop money laundering by rooting out the use of anonymous shell companies. The lawsuit was filed by the National Small Business Association and targets the Corporate Transparency Act, which was passed as part of annual defence spending legislation and signed into law last year.
ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENCE
On 16 November, the Isle of Man announced that it had reissued a General Licence concerned with the use of the retail banking services of a designated credit or financial institution under certain circumstances.
HONG KONG CONTINUES DEVELOPING ITS VIRTUAL ASSET FRAMEWORK
On 16 November, a post from the Compliance & Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance & Enforcement at the New York University School of Law says that the latest statements from the government and regulators indicate that Hong Kong is moving forward with enhancing its virtual asset regulatory and legal regime.
PODCAST: ENCOURAGING AND PROTECTING WHISTLEBLOWERS
This week’s TRACE podcast contained a version of Alexandra Wrage’s recent keynote presentation at a Whistleblowers and Public Integrity conference hosted by the Vancouver Anti-Corruption Institute (VACI). She addresses the incredible personal price that whistleblowers pay when they’re driven to expose misconduct, explores how we can begin to shift the tone of the discussion around reporting and notes how difficult it is to uncover financial crime without whistleblowers.
AS US SANCTIONS THE FINANCIAL NETWORK AND AIRCRAFT OF RUSSIAN OLIGARCH SULEIMAN KERIMOV AND THE SWISS CONNECTION
On 16 November, ICIJ published an article saying that a ICIJ investigation detailed how Swiss businessman Alexander Studhalter was at the center of a vast web of shell companies tied to Kerimov that moved billions via American banks. Oligarch and mining tycoon Suleiman Kerimov is associated with a covert group of powerful Russians who are believed to hold President Putin’s vast wealth.
OFSI LICENCES AND LEGAL FEES
On 1 November, an article from Rahman Ravelli details a case before the High Court of Justice in the BVI where the issue of an OFSI licence for legal fees was a central issue. The case considered OFSI’s delay in granting a licence application for legal fees. The court noted that a party’s right to a fair hearing might be violated when other banks are “over-complying” when it comes to sanctioned parties and do not accept payments from a sanctioned party, even though a licence has been lawfully granted.
EU COURT RULING THAT ANNULLED THE DESIGNATION OF AN INDIVIDUAL ON THE GROUNDS THAT THE UNDERLYING FACTS WERE NO LONGER ACCURATE AND UP-TO-DATE
On 8 November, an article from Rahman Ravelli commented on a case before the CJEU in which a former governor of Sevastopol said that he should no longer be sanctioned as he had left the official positions he had held in Russian-occupied Crimea, and was no longer involved in politics.
ARE RED FLAGS ABOUT ISLAMIC STATE IN SOUTH AFRICA ALARMIST?
On 15 November, Defence Web asked this question after the US Treasury imposed sanctions on South African-based brothers Nufael Akbar and Yunus Mohamad Akbar, as well as Mohamad Akbar and Umar Akbar. It said they were ‘members of an [Islamic State] cell operating in South Africa who have provided technical, financial, or material support’ to Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (IS).
CAN MOZAMBIQUE’S MARCH TO AUTHORITARIANISM BE STOPPED?
On 16 November, an article in Defence Web asked this, saying that with outside attention focused on violent extremism and gas exports, Mozambique’s democratic backsliding is proceeding apace. It says that the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index has downgraded the current administration from a hybrid regime to an authoritarian one.
US SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE HAS INVESTIGATED A FATCA LOOPHOLE
On 16 November, an article from Foodman CPAs & Advisors says that, after a year-long investigation, the Senate Finance Committee investigated a loophole and delivered a report, “The Shell Bank Loophole”, that exposes a tax evasion scheme under a FATCA loophole that allows overseas banks to accept funds from US persons without reporting them to the IRS. It said that wealthy men like Robert Brockman can turn shell companies into shell banks and self-certify that they are reporting income in offshore accounts to the IRS.