THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 31

On 31 December, Panama celebrates 23 years since final control of the Panama Canal was handed over by the US.

31 DECEMBER 2022

US: RUSSIA, UKRAINE SANCTIONS ETC UPDATE AS OF 30 DECEMBER

On 30 December, Bass, Berry & Sims published an update of the position re restrictions etc involving OFAC, the State Department, Commerce Department and DoJ.

https://www.bassberrygovcontrade.com/russia-ukraine-update-dec-30

INDIA: GOVERNMENT HAS SUSPENDED THE EXPORT LICENCE OF MANUFACTURER OF DOK-1 MAX COUGH SYRUP THAT REPORTEDLY LED TO THE DEATH OF 18 CHILDREN IN UZBEKISTAN

On 31 December, The Pioneer in India reported that the Government has suspended the export licence of Marion Biotech, manufacturer of Dok-1 Max syrup that reportedly led to the death of 18 children in Uzbekistan.  The Government says that this has brought bad reputation to the Indian pharma industry and is also likely to have an impact on the trust of international agencies on Indian pharma exports.

https://www.dailypioneer.com/2022/page1/uzbek-deaths-claim–noida-firm-export-licence-suspended.html

HONG KONG CUSTOMS RECORD SEIZURES OF CONTRABAND CIGARETTES IN 2022

On 30 December, the South China Morning Post reported that more than 750 million cigarettes seized as smugglers tried to take advantage of easing of coronavirus restrictions and resumption of trade.  This is the biggest annual haul since records began 2 decades ago.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3205120/hong-kong-customs-stubs-out-20-year-record-hk2-billion-trade-contraband-cigarettes-year

MEET THE CYBERCRIMINALS OF 2022

On 30 December, the Tech Crunch website looked back on some of the biggest thwarted cybercrime operations of the year, and their new and unconventional eyebrow-raising methods.

https://techcrunch.com/2022/12/30/meet-the-cybercriminals-2022/

ARMING UKRAINE AND HOW TO MITIGATE RISKS OF ILLICIT DIVERSION OF WEAPONS AND CONFLICT ESCALATION: A US PERSPECTIVE

In the December issue of Trust & Verify from VERTIC, this article says that arming any country comes with serious risks that should not be ignored and need to be considered at various stages.  It concentrates on the risks of diversions of weaponry and notes that in October the US issued its strategy to counter the illicit diversion of certain advanced conventional weapons in Eastern Europe.

https://www.vertic.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/TV171-1.pdf

OVER 1,500 SEAFARERS WERE ABANDONED IN 2022

On 30 December, Lloyds List reported on a trend which has continued throughout 2022, a year which has ended up being the worst on record – with 1,555 seafarers and 113 ships being abandoned this year, the highest number of cases since records began. 

https://lloydslist.maritimeintelligence.informa.com/LL1143448/Over-1500-seafarers-were-abandoned-in-2022

UK: SELECT COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE REGULATION OF GAMBLING

On 30 December, Local Government Lawyer reported that the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Committee has issued a call for written evidence after launching an examination of the Government’s approach to the regulation of gambling.  The Committee said this followed warnings “that more needs to be done to protect people, including children, from gambling-related harm”.

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/licensing/399-licensing-news/52568-select-committee-to-examine-regulation-of-gambling

JET LINKED TO ISRAELI SPYWARE TYCOON DELIVERS SURVEILLANCE TECH FROM THE EU TO SUDANESE MILITIA

On 30 November, the Lighthouse Reports website carried a report saying that in May a private aircraft linked to a former Israeli intelligence operative who has bought up an array of sophisticated surveillance technology landed in Sudan.  It is claimed that it was delivering high-end surveillance technology, made in the EU, to the notorious and feared militias, the Rapid Support Forces.  The equipment is said to have the capacity to turn smartphones into audio-visual informants on their owners.  It names Tal Dilian and spyware company Intellexa.  It is also reported that, when asked to distinguish between the better-known NSO spyware and this spyware, a senior source in the Israeli industry said that the latter does not follow Israeli law and sells to similar but also worse clients than NSO.

https://www.lighthousereports.nl/investigation/flight-of-the-predator/

CATERING TO NORTH KOREA’S ELITE, DEPARTMENT STORES STOCK UP ON FAKE LUXURY GOODS

On 30 December, RFA reported that counterfeit brand-name bags, perfumes, mink coats flow into the country ahead of New Year holidays.  It is said that freight trains running between Dandong, China, and Sinuiju, North Korea, operate every day except weekends, bringing loads of fake luxury items into the country.  The brand-name goods – some genuine but mostly counterfeits – are sold at about 10 department stores in the capital.  It is also said that stores are also importing large quantities of counterfeit goods to prepare for the suspension of trade with China for the Lunar New Year.

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/korea/fake-luxury-goods-12302022150804.html

NORTH KOREAN HACKERS ARE PRETENDING TO BE CRYPTO VENTURE CAPITAL FIRMS, CRYPTO START-UPS AND BANKS IN NEW PHISHING SCHEME

On 27 December, Coin Telegraph reported a warning from Kaspersky, saying that most of the fakes presented themselves as well-known Japanese companies, but some also assumed the identity of US and Vietnamese companies.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/north-korean-hackers-are-pretending-to-be-crypto-vcs-in-new-phishing-scheme-kaspersky

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 30

It is reported that during this year there were 202 (reported) deaths among migrants making the dangerous journey through the Darién Gap from Colombia into Panama.

30 DECEMBER 2022

JAPAN INSURERS TO CONTINUE MARITIME WAR INSURANCE IN RUSSIA

On 30 December, in the wake of most P+I clubs suspending offering insurance to vessels involved in trade with or near Ukraine, Nikkei Asia reported that Japanese insurers will continue to offer insurance for war damage for ships sailing through Russian waters.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Insurance/Japan-insurers-to-continue-maritime-war-insurance-in-Russia

LEGAL TRENDS IN LATIN AMERICA: THIS SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT BY COMPANIES IN 2023

On 29 December, Garrigues published this article (in Spanish) and concentrating on Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru.

https://www.garrigues.com/sites/default/files/documents/tendencias_legales_en_latinoamerica_esto_deberan_tener_en_cuenta_las_empresas_en_el_2023.pdf

CHINESE COMPANIES FIND SWISS LISTING HAVEN AMID US PRESSURE

On 30 December, Nikkei Asia reported that since new US measures came into force 5 months ago, 9 Chinese companies have raised $3.15 billion by listing in Zurich, thus exceeding that raised in the US.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Markets/Chinese-companies-find-Swiss-listing-haven-amid-U.S.-pressure

GOLD TO DRIED SEAHORSES, HEROIN TO WHALE VOMIT: VOLUME AND VARIETY OF CONTRABAND SEIZED IN INDIA

On 30 December, The Hindu reported on the 2021-22 ‘Smuggling in India Report’ which highlights the trends, areas of concern, and the challenges involved in securing the country’s economic frontiers – and the smuggling of contraband like gold, narcotics, cigarettes, currency, flora and fauna, as well as the detection of commercial frauds.  It also reports on international cooperation and engagements under the aegis of various bilateral and multilateral agreements and treaties signed by Indian Customs with foreign Customs administrations.

https://www.thehindu.com/data/data-gold-to-dried-seahorses-heroin-to-whale-vomit-volume-and-variety-of-contrabands-seized-in-india/article66313790.ece

https://edukemy.com/daily-current-affairs/gazette/2022-12-27/smuggling-in-india

https://dri.nic.in/writereaddata/2021-2022%20REPORT%20FINAL%205-12-22.pdf

CONTROVERSIAL BRITISH-AMERICAN KICKBOXER INFLUENCER ANDREW TATE DETAINED AMID HUMAN TRAFFICKING PROBE

On 30 December, Al-Jazeera reported that Andrew Tate and his brother Tristan had been detained in Romania as part of an investigation into alleged human trafficking.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2022/12/30/influencer-andrew-tate-detained-amid-human-trafficking-probe

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/30/andrew-tate-detained-in-romania-on-organised-and-charges

GREECE ASKS PANAMA TO CHECK POSSIBLE MONEY TRANSFERS FROM QATAR TO MEP KAILI

On 29 December, Politico provided an update for the so-called “Qatargate” case.

https://www.politico.eu/article/eva-kaili-qatar-corruption-european-parliament-greece-panama-money-transfers/

CANADA’S MODERN SLAVERY ACT POISED TO BECOME LAW

On 27 December, an article from Forwarder Law reported that the legislation is nearing the end of its legislative journey and can be expected to be passed into law in the new year.  It is said that, while somewhat late to the table compared to the US or the UK, Canada’s new regime leapfrogs the first stage of government procurement compliance to establish a broad regime for both crown and corporate responsibility, and therefore marks an important first step in coming into compliance with our international human rights obligations.

http://forwarderlaw.com/2022/12/27/canadas-modern-slavery-act-poised-to-become-law/

ON 1 JANUARY, CROATIA WILL ADOPT THE EURO AS ITS CURRENCY AND WILL FULLY JOIN THE SCHENGEN AREA

A news release from the EU on 30 December advised that, with Croatia, 20 EU Member States and 347 million EU citizens will share the EU’s common currency.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_22_7907

MALTA: 2 SENIOR OFFICERS AT FINANCIAL REGULATOR HID PILATUS BANK DOCUMENTS IN SAFE TO KEEP THEM FROM INVESTIGATING MAGISTRATE

On 29 December, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that, according to court transcripts, 2 officials of the MFSA hid incriminating financial disclosure documents of the bank from the investigating magistrate handling the case.

https://rijock.blogspot.com/2022/12/two-senior-officers-at-maltas-financial.html

FORMER SOUTH KOREAN PRESIDENT LEE MYUNG-BAK GRANTED SPECIAL PARDON

On 29 December, OCCRP reported that the South Korean government had announced q special pardon for former President Lee Myung-bak, annulling the 15 years left on his sentence for corruption.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/17212-former-south-korean-president-lee-myung-bak-granted-special-pardon

DR CONGO ACQUITS FORMER PRESIDENTIAL ADVISER TSHIMANGA

On 29 December, OCCRP reported that a court in the Democratic Republic of the Congo had acquitted a former presidential advisor who was charged with passive corruption, insults to the head of the state and influence peddling after OCCRP released a tape showing him negotiating a corrupt mining deal.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/17209-dr-congo-acquits-former-presidential-adviser-tshimanga

EU IS GETTING SERIOUS AND LIKELY IMPOSE A CBAM ON IMPORTED GOODS STARTING IN OCTOBER 2023

On 28 December, Sandler Travis Rosenberg released a podcast containing this warning.  A Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM) is a carbon tariff on carbon-intensive products, such as cement and some electricity.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/podcast/two-minutes-in-trade-have-you-heard-of-the-cbam

https://taxation-customs.ec.europa.eu/green-taxation-0/carbon-border-adjustment-mechanism_en

FTX ASSETS WORTH $3.5 BILLION HELD BY BAHAMAS SECURITIES REGULATOR

On 30 December, the Guardian reported that the securities regulator has said it has seized assets worth $3.5 billion from the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX and plans to return them to creditors and former customers.  The Securities Commission of the Bahamas said it had transferred all the digital assets to its own digital wallets for “safekeeping”.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/dec/30/ftx-assets-held-bahamas-securities-regulator

EXECUTIVES FROM $1.5 BILLION SOUTH KOREAN CRYPTO EXCHANGE FRAUD JAILED

On 28 December, Coin Telegraph reported that 6 executives involved in the crypto exchange fraud V Global have received prison sentences of up to 8 years.  V Global operated between July 2020 and April 2021, roping in around 50,000 investors by promising 300% returns alongside sizable payments for referring new customers.  The latest court action now takes the number of V Global execs behind bars up to 7.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/executives-from-1-5b-south-korean-crypto-exchange-fraud-jailed

US: FORCED LABOUR COURT CASE ENDS WITH A WHIMPER

A post from Crowell Moring on 29 December reported that the US Court of International Trade had issued a final opinion in Virtus Nutrition LLC’s challenge to US Customs and Border Protection’s detention of Malaysian palm oil imports, rejecting Vitrus’ request that the CIT confirm the importer’s right to re-export the shipment, detained in 2021.  It is said that the case did not provide insight into the evidence needed to successfully challenge CBP forced labour detentions.  The importing community was hoping for such guidance but will have to wait.          

https://www.cmtradelaw.com/2022/12/forced-labor-court-case-ends-with-a-whimper/

US: ICE RELEASES FY 2022 ANNUAL REPORT

On 30 December, the US Immigration & Customs Enforcement issued its latest annual report.  Its work includes combatting transnational criminal organisations (TCO) including disrupting the supply of opioids coming to US communities; improving transparency to stakeholders and the public.  It reports more than 790 disruptions to illicit activity, 14,000 non-citizen apprehensions, 1,900 criminal arrests, and the seizure of $5 million in assets and property.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ice-releases-fy-2022-annual-report

UK: 26 OPEN GENERAL EXPORT LICENCES REVOKED

On 30 December, the Department for International Trade reported that the revoked licences were originally created to be used in parallel with licences that had been locked against further registration.  On 30 September, the original licences were unlocked and made available for registration making the parallel licences redundant.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-exporters-202234-open-general-licences-revoked/nte-202234-open-general-licences-revoked

THE ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING WHISTLEBLOWER IMPROVEMENT ACT

On 30 December, an article from Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto LLP explained the background to the new Act which improves the flawed 2021 law.  It says that, for the first time in history, whistleblowers from any country have the right to anonymously and confidentially report money laundering and sanctions-busting to the US DoJ or Treasury.  If their information results in a successful prosecution, they could receive between 10-30% of the sanctions obtained by the wrongdoers.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-anti-money-laundering-whistleblower-7226635/

https://whistleblowersblog.org/podcasts/the-inside-story-of-passing-the-most-important-anti-corruption-law-in-the-past-25-years/

EXILED FORMER BOTSWANA PRESIDENT KHAMA FACES ARREST

On 30 December, VoA reported that a Botswana court has issued an arrest warrant for former President Ian Khama, who fled to South Africa, with 14 charges ranging from unlawful possession of firearms to money laundering.  He was officially charged in absentia in April 2022 but has not made a single court appearance. Khama was charged along with former intelligence boss Isaac Kgosi, suspended police commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe and Victor Paledi, a former senior government employee.

https://www.voanews.com/a/exiled-former-botswana-president-khama-faces-arrest-/6898164.html

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

EXILED FORMER BOTSWANA PRESIDENT KHAMA FACES ARREST

On 30 December, VoA reported that a Botswana court has issued an arrest warrant for former President Ian Khama, who fled to South Africa, with 14 charges ranging from unlawful possession of firearms to money laundering.  He was officially charged in absentia in April 2022 but has not made a single court appearance. Khama was charged along with former intelligence boss Isaac Kgosi, suspended police commissioner Keabetswe Makgophe and Victor Paledi, a former senior government employee.

https://www.voanews.com/a/exiled-former-botswana-president-khama-faces-arrest-/6898164.html

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

DANISH MULTINATIONAL COMPANY DANFOSS A/S CIVIL SETTLEMENT WITH OFAC IN RESPECT OF APPARENT VIOLATIONS OF MULTIPLE OFAC SANCTIONS PROGRAMS, INCLUDING IRAN, SYRIA, AND SUDAN

On 30 December, OFAC advised that, from 2013 to 2017, Danfoss’s wholly owned UAE subsidiary, Danfoss FZCO routed payments from customers in Iran, Syria, and Sudan to its bank accounts in the UAE, including one branch of US bank.  Danfoss agreed to remit $4,379,810 to settle its potential civil liability for 225 apparent violations.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20221230_33

OFAC: PRELIMINARY GUIDANCE ON IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PRICE CAP POLICY FOR PETROLEUM PRODUCTS OF RUSSIAN FEDERATION ORIGIN

On 30 December, OFAC issued this Guidance on the price cap imposed by the US as part of an international coalition, including the G7, the EU, and Australia.

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/126/price_cap_prelim_guidance_petroleum_products_20221230.pdf

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

WHY EUROPE STRUGGLES WITH US EXPORT CONTROLS ON CHINA

On 27 December, an article in The Diplomat says that it has not been as easy for the US to gain buy-in as some in Washington expected.  It says that some of the new controls introduced in October won’t be effective unless the other major semiconductor-producing nations get on board – which they have been reluctant to do so far. 

https://thediplomat.com/2022/12/why-europe-struggles-with-us-export-controls-on-china/

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

CRYPTO WASH TRADING

The National Bureau of Economic Research in the US has published this working paper on detecting fake trading in cryptocurrency exchanges.  It says that quantifying the wash trading on each unregulated exchange, it averaged over 70% of the reported volume.  It also documents how these fabricated volumes (trillions of dollars annually) improve exchange ranking, temporarily distort prices, and relate to exchange characteristics (e.g., age and userbase), market conditions, and regulation.

https://www.nber.org/system/files/working_papers/w30783/w30783.pdf

US: HOW TO SUBMIT ISF FILINGS TO CUSTOMS

On 29 December, Global Trade Magazine published an article about ISF (Import Security Filing, aka as “10+2”), a documentation system that ensures all cargo passing through US ports is legal and safe. The article covers all of the details of how ISF works, what data is required, and how to submit ISF filings.  ISF only applies to cargo shipped via ocean or sea – it does not apply to cargo imported by air.  However, ISF does apply to Foreign Cargo Remaining On Board (FROB), Immediate Exportation (IE), and Transport & Exportation (T&E) shipments – but the data needed for these types of shipments differ slightly from the requirements for standard inbound cargo.

https://www.globaltrademag.com/how-to-submit-isf-filing-to-customs-and-border-protection/

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 29

As reported below, it seems that Greece, investigating the background to the alleged corrupt influnce-peddling in the EU and involving Qatar, has “uregently” asked Panama for information on money that the former EU Vice-President involved may have transferred from Qatar.

Meanwhile, the negotiations between the Government and operators of the huge copper mine go into their third day – as it is reported that the Government received $46 million in royalties this year.

29 DECEMBER 2022

ISLE OF MAN: HAITI AND RUSSIA SANCTIONS CHANGES

On 29 December, the Isle of Man issued 2 news releases, bringing its sanctions notifications into line with that of the UK.  One added Haitian gang leader Jimmy CHERIZIER (aka “Barbecue”) to sanctions lists.  The other notified amendments to 2 existing entries on the Russia sanctions list.

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/dec/29/financial-sanctions-haiti/

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/dec/29/financial-sanctions-russia/

FACTSHEET SCHENGEN VISA

On 27 December, Lewis Silkin published a factsheet about the short-stay visa which permits its holder to travel to and between Schengen countries.  The visa permits the holder to travel to the Schengen area for a maximum of 90 days within any 180 days for tourism, business, work, study or transit purposes, depending on the type of visa they have applied for and been granted.  In addition, work authorisation and exemptions should also be verified in each jurisdiction.  The Schengen area encompasses Austria, Belgium, Croatia (from 1 January 2023), Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.  A large number of countries’ nationals are exempt from the visa requirement (including the UK and Panama).

https://www.mondaq.com/uk/work-visas/1265390/factsheet-schengen-visa

BAHAMAS NOW LARGELY COMPLIANT ON ALL 40 FATF RECOMMENDATIONS

On 28 December, Eyewitness News reported that the Bahamas has become only the second jurisdiction in the region to be largely compliant with all 40 FATF recommendations.

https://ewnews.com/bahamas-now-largely-compliant-on-all-40-fatf-recommendations

CUM-EX: KEY SUSPECT IN DANISH TAX FRAUD COULD BE EXTRADITED FROM DUBAI

On 29 December, Yahoo News reported that the Danish foreign ministry had said a Dubai court had ruled that a British man, the main suspect in the dividend tax fraud case, can be extradited to Denmark for prosecution, although the decision will be appealed.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/key-suspect-danish-tax-fraud-111339786.html

UKRAINE-BASED IRON ORE GROUP FERREXPO HAS DISTANCED ITSELF FROM ITS FORMER CEO AND CURRENT NED FOLLOWING HIS ARREST ON FRAUD CHARGES

On 29 December, Proactive Investors reported that Ferrexpo has distanced itself from its former CEO and current non-exec director Kostiantyn Zhevago, a former MP, following his arrest at a French ski resort on fraud charges.  Ukraine issued a domestic arrest warrant for Zhevago in 2019.

https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/1002180/ferrexpo-distances-itself-from-former-chief-executive-after-arrest-1002180.html

2 BRITISH NATIONALS ARRESTED IN SPAIN, AFTER AN INTERNATIONAL OPERATION INVOLVING THE NCA SAW THE SEIZURE OF AROUND 4 TONNES OF CANNABIS

On 28 December, a news release from NCA advised that the man and woman were detained on 10 December after their sailing boat, which was suspected of being used to smuggle drugs from Morocco, got into trouble during a storm in the Strait of Gibraltar.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/british-pair-arrested-after-four-tonne-cannabis-seizure

BOLIVIAN OPPOSITION LEADER LUIS FERNANDO CAMACHO ARRESTED ON ‘TERRORISM’ CHARGES

On 29 December, the Guardian reported that Bolivian police have detained prominent opposition leader Luis Fernando Camacho on charges of “terrorism” in a move that significantly escalates tensions between the national government and his Santa Cruz base.  It is said that the arrest was connected to the toppling of former leftist president Evo Morales in 2019.  The arrest follows week of unrest in Santa Cruz, led by Camacho. Protesters blocked streets and halted trade, angered over the national government’s delay in carrying out Bolivia’s population census (which could have had the effect of benefiting the region, politically and financially).

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/29/bolivian-opposition-leader-luis-fernando-camachos-whereabouts-unknown-after-police-arrest

2023 WILL SEE A MARKED INCREASE IN COCAINE PRODUCTION AND THE CONTINUED PROLIFERATION OF SYNTHETIC DRUGS IN LATIN AMERICA

On 29 December, as part of its review of possible events in 2023, Insight Crime noted that more governments in the region are rejecting the drug war and prohibition model pushed by the US.  It warns that without Mexico and Colombia’s cooperation, regional US anti-narcotics efforts would be severely limited.

https://insightcrime.org/news/gamechangers-2022-drug-bonanza-prohibition-challenges-2023/

NORTH MACEDONIA: 9 POLICE OFFICERS ON SERBIAN BORDER ARRESTED FOR CORRUPTION

On 27 December, AP reported that the commander of the police station at one of North Macedonia’s border crossings to Serbia, his deputy and 7 other station staff have been arrested for allegedly taking bribes from motorists.

https://apnews.com/article/europe-serbia-northmacedonia-corruption-bribery-4d663b437ee610a72e3abe2bf298ec6b

4 EX-TURKISH AIRLINES AIRBUS A340 AIRLINERS REAPPEAR IN IRAN

On 27 December, the Scramble website reported that, on 23 December, 4 ex-Turkish Airlines’ Airbus A340-300, which had been stored at Johannesburg since Spring 2019, were ferried to Iran.  They were all registered in the Guernsey (2-REG) register on behalf of a company based in Hong Kong, called AVRO Global Limited.

https://scramble.nl/civil-news/four-ex-turkish-airlines-airbus-a340-300s-disappear-to-iran

PHILIPPINES: 400,000 SEAFARERS AT RISK OF SAILING BAN

On 29 December, Hellenic Shipping News reported that an audit conducted by the European Maritime Safety Agency, or EMSA, indicated that the Philippines has not been complying with international maritime safety standards.  It specified that the training and certification in Philippine maritime education institutions fell short of guidelines mandated by the International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.  If the EU accepts the findings, it could prohibit them from working on EU-flagged vessels; and the Philippines could also end up being excluded from the IMO “white list” of countries with seafarer employability.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/philippines-400000-seafarers-at-risk-of-sailing-ban/

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/baptisteforestier_compliance-financialcrime-moneylaundering-activity-7014121671829659648-1cRW

COMBATING CHINESE DUAL-USE INFRASTRUCTURE IN LATIN AMERICA

An article from CSIS on 9 December says that, in the last 15 years, China has made significant advances in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) challenging US strategic interests in the region. What began as the pursuit of economic interest and an insatiable appetite for commodities has scaled rapidly to include security engagement, technological exchange, and of course, the building of critical infrastructure.  The article argues that, in order to address its vulnerabilities, the US should begin to take stock of China’s full toolkit of influence and economic coercion; although it also says that, for their part, LAC countries recognise the downsides to increased dependency on China.  It notes that the first country to sign on to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the global development program that aims to rewire much of the world’s most important economic activity through China, was Panama.  The article proposes that the US Government should consider the utility value of creating a network of special economic zones (SEZ) capable of furnishing the conditions for investments of a strategic nature, such as critical port infrastructure.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/combating-chinese-dual-use-infrastructure-bringing-private-sector

A second article linked US “nearshoring” to SEZ in Latin America and the Caribbean.

https://features.csis.org/US-nearshoring-in-central-america-with-SEZs/

US HAS PROPOSED EXPANDING THE INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC IN ARMS REGULATIONS (ITAR) DEFINITION OF “ACTIVITIES THAT ARE NOT EXPORTS, REEXPORTS, RETRANSFERS, OR TEMPORARY IMPORTS”

On 29 December, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Control has proposed expanding the definition to include 2 further exceptions – taking articles outside a previously approved country by the armed forces of a foreign government or UN personnel on a deployment or training exercise; and where a foreign item has been imported into and then re-exported from the US provided it has not been modified, enhanced, upgraded, altered or improved or had a US-origin defence article integrated into it.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/12/us-directorate-of-defense-trade-control-proposes-expanding-the-itar-definition-of-activities-that-are-not-exports-reexports-retransfers-or-temporary-imports/

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/countries-by-share-of-global-economy/

UKRAINE CUSTOMS HAS SEIZED A SOVIET-ERA KA.26 (‘HOODLUM’) LIGHT UTILITY HELICOPTER IN THE BACK OF A TRUCK BOUND FOR HUNGARY

On 24 December, The Drive reported that inspectors and the border patrol discovered documents for the helicopter had false information during a check at the Hungarian border. 

https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/ukraine-seizes-vintage-ka-26-helicopter-at-hungarian-border-crossing

EU PROSECUTOR INDICTS CROATIAN EX-MINISTER AND 3 OTHERS

On 29 December, EurActiv reported that the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) has indicted a former Croatian ministerformer EU funds minister Gabrijela Žalac, 2 businessmen, and the former director of a national financial agency for “trading in influence and the abuse of office and authority”.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/justice-home-affairs/news/eu-prosecutor-indicts-croatian-ex-minister-three-others/

US VIRGIN ISLANDS SUING JPMORGAN CHASE OVER JEFFREY EPSTEIN’S SEX TRAFFICKING

On 29 December, the Guardian reported that the US Virgin Islands is suing the bank, accusing it of helping Jeffrey Epstein’s sex trafficking of women and girls, according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York.  It accuses JPMorgan of “turning a blind eye” to illegal activities committed by Epstein – a client of the bank – on his private island, Little St James, which is part of the territory.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/dec/29/us-virgin-islands-suing-jpmorgan-chase-over-jeffrey-epstein-sex-trafficking

MONEY LAUNDERING CASE AGAINST PABLO ESCOBAR’S SON AND EIFE IN ARGENTINA SUSPENDED

On 29 December, Borderland Beat reported that a judge has ordered that the case must go back to the investigation stage.  The accused are María Isabel Santos Caballero, widow of Pablo Escobar; Sebastián Marroquín, son of the drug lord; Colombian native financier José Piedrahita Bayron; businessman Mateo Corvo Dolcet and soccer player Mauricio “Chicho” Serna; with them being investigated for laundering money that came from drug trafficking.

http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2022/12/money-laundering-case-against-pablo.html

EU INFLUENCE CASE: GREECE ASKS PANAMA WHETHER QATAR TRANSFERRED €20 MILLION IN NAME OF FORMER EU VICE-PRESIDENT

On 29 December, the Keep Talking Greece website reported that the head of Greece’s AML Authority has asked authorities in Panama to provide information on whether an amount totalling €20 million have been transferred from Qatar to bank accounts, which may have been opened in the name of Eva Kaili and partner Francesco Giorgi.

https://www.keeptalkinggreece.com/2022/12/29/kaili-greece-panama-bank-accounts-qatar/ 

NEW EXTORTION TRENDS IN LATIN AMERICA

On 22 December, a report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime says that extortion is estimated to generate between $40 million and $57 million each year for criminal organisations in Guatemala; between $190 and $240 million dollars in El Salvador and between $30 and $50 million dollars in Honduras.  These resources fund gang needs, including the cost of legal aid for incarcerated members, while extortion itself facilitates criminal governance processes.  It says that new methods not only demonstrate criminal innovation, but are also linked to other crimes, such as fraud, kidnapping and cybercrime.  The report analyses extortion innovations in northern Central American countries Mexico and Colombia, and examines how they have continued to emerge after COVID-19-driven changes.  To help address this phenomenon, it proposes a number of techniques to support better investigations into criminal organisations.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/innovadores-criminales-extorsion-centroamerica/ 

THE COCAINE MARKETS OF EASTERN AND SOUTHERN AFRICA

On 15 December, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published a report saying that Covid has not disrupted the flow of cocaine powder from Latin America to global markets appears to have been largely uninterrupted.  The countries examined are Botswana, Comoros, Eswatini, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mayotte, Mozambique, Réunion, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  The purpose of this report is to explore the current retail markets for cocaine across a number of countries in East and southern Africa.  This is achieved by analysing cocaine availability, retail pricing and distribution systems for domestic markets. 

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/cocaine-east-southern-africa/ 

THE PANDEMIC AND ORGANISED CRIME IN URBAN LATIN AMERICA: NEW SOVEREIGNTY ARRANGEMENTS OR BUSINESS AS USUAL?

This paper in the Journal of Illicit Economies and Development dated 21 December asks whether a health crisis with direct life and death consequences has empowered illicit actors, and by so doing changed longstanding relationships between illicit actors and citizens on one hand, and/or illicit actors and local authorities on the other.  Its larger aim is to understand whether and how the global pandemic has impacted governance by producing new scalar and sovereignty tensions between state and non-state actors at the scale of the city, and with what implications for the legitimacy of national authorities and democratic governance more generally.  It is based on grounded ethnographic fieldwork drawn from Brazil.

https://jied.lse.ac.uk/articles/10.31389/jied.134/ 

VIDEO: TERRORISM FINANCING AND AML ISSUES

On 27 December, AML Right Source published a 6-minute video in which a panel of experts discuss the guidance on CFT issued by FATF, FinCEN, and the US Treasury.  They look at how the guidance influences public and private actions to identify and interdict terrorist financing activity.

https://www.amlrightsource.com/news/aml-voices-guidance-on-cft

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

P+I INSURERS END WAR-RISK COVER FOR SHIPPING ACROSS RUSSIA, UKRAINE AND BELARUS

On 28 December, the Guardian reported that at least 12 of the 13 Protection and Indemnity (P&I) clubs – which cover 90% of the world’s ocean-going ships, including those from the UK and the US – are cancelling war-risk coverage across Russia, Ukraine and Belarus from January, leaving cargo and freight companies liable for major losses.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/dec/28/insurers-end-war-risk-cover-for-shipping-in-ukraine-invasion-territories