OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 6

Feeling better today (though not 100%), but my wife is now taken to bed. Obviously not Covid, but seemingly nearly everyone we know seems to have something similar in the past few days – mainly among those returning to the country from abroad.

Somewhat surprisingly, considering its history and international business connections, the media here reports that, for the sixth consecutive year, Panama once again ranked as one of the countries with the “lowest” English language proficiency in the world. It seems that Argentina, Costa Rica, Cuba, Paraguay and Bolivia all score better. My personal experience is that where foreigners do speak English, many are more proficient than native speakers (possibly because they have to learn the language properly, rather than just picking it up…).

https://www.laestrella.com.pa/cafe-estrella/cultura/221206/dominio-idioma-ingles-panama

In other news, the first harvest of sea cucumber (holoturoids) produced on a marine farm is reported from Colón on the Caribbean coast. It is said that the farm expects a great demand from the international market, especially in Asia, from countries like China where it is an integral part of food and natural medicine with innumerable benefits.

6 DECEMBER 2022

COMOROS COURT SENTENCES FORMER PRESIDENT TO LIFE IN PRISON

On 28 November, France 24 reported that a court in the Comoros had handed down a life sentence for high treason to ex-president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi, who was tried in absentia and was convicted of selling passports to stateless people living in the Gulf.  President from between 2006 and 2011, he passed a law in 2008 allowing the sale of passports at an exorbitant fee.  The scheme aimed at the so-called bidoon – an Arab minority numbering in the tens of thousands who cannot obtain citizenship, and the former President was accused of embezzling millions of dollars under the scheme.

https://www.france24.com/en/africa/20221128-comoros-court-sentences-former-president-to-life-in-prison

DISCLOSURE: A GUIDE TO SEEKING NORWICH PHARMACAL ORDERS

On 2 December, an article from Baker & Partners about Norwich Pharmacal Orders (NPO) in Jersey.  An NPO is a disclosure order which allows information to be obtained from third parties who have become ‘mixed up’ in wrongdoing, helping individuals to investigate, pursue those ultimately responsible and (hopefully) recover their losses.

https://www.mondaq.com/jersey/arbitration-dispute-resolution/1256774/disclosure-a-guide-to-seeking-norwich-pharmacal-orders

IRELAND: ANALYSIS OF DIRECTORS’ LIABILITY IN IRELAND

On 5 December, an article from the Maples Group said that the Irish High Court recently held directors and shadow directors personally liable for funds misappropriated by a company as part of a fraudulent investment scheme worth €186 million – the first time that an Irish court has pierced the corporate veil to hold directors personally liable.  It says that the judgment serves as a stark reminder of the importance of directors’ duties and, in particular, the potential consequences for their dereliction by passive directors.

https://www.mondaq.com/ireland/directors-and-officers/1257712/analysis-of-directors39-liability-in-ireland

CANADA: THE DOCTRINE OF KNOWING RECEIPT: HOW A THIRD PARTY CAN BE LIABLE FOR RECEIVING PROCEEDS OF FRAUD

On 2 December, an article from Devry Smith Frank LLP explains that when a third party receives proceeds of fraud or trust property for their own benefit, and are enriched at the expense of a beneficiary, victims can sue to recover the property in the possession of the third party under the law of “knowing receipt”.  In order to establish liability under the doctrine of knowing receipt, the victim must satisfy the court of 2 things: a receipt requirement and a knowledge requirement.

https://www.mondaq.com/canada/white-collar-crime-anti-corruption-fraud/1256738/the-doctrine-of-knowing-receipt-how-a-third-party-can-be-liable-for-receiving-proceeds-of-fraud

FOR LEGAL PRIVILEGE TO APPLY, PRIVACY AND CONFIDENTIALITY ARE NOT THE SAME

On 6 December, an article from RPC said that a recent case provided a helpful overview of the law on confidentiality and privacy where a claim to legal professional privilege (LPP) is made, highlighting that the 2 should not be equated.  It says that the outcome is similar to that in another case in which access from and storage on a third party’s servers was held not to waive privilege.

https://www.lexology.com/commentary/litigation/01ab1fe6-7531-47fc-bd9d-75a42a97fcc5

NOKIA SENDS 4 APPLICATIONS FOR EXPORT LICENCE TO SUPPLY TO RUSSIA

On 5 December, Yahoo News reported that 2 applications were sent to European regulators, while another 2 were submitted to a US regulator, with one of the applications already accepted.  Nokia does not plan to return to the Russian market but wants to complete contractual obligations and supply equipment.  The share of Nokia equipment in the Russian market is 20-25%. All major telecom operators use the company’s equipment.

https://news.yahoo.com/nokia-sends-four-applications-export-152300029.html

AIRCRAFT COMPANIES SUE INSURERS OVER LOSSES FROM RUSSIA SANCTIONS

On 6 December, the Irish Independent reported that 3 Irish-registered companies involved in international aircraft leasing have brought High Court proceedings against insurers’ refusal to provide indemnity for the loss of some $1.75 billion worth of airplanes detained in Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.

https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/aircraft-firms-sue-insurers-over-losses-from-russia-sanctions-42197356.html

RUSSIA TURNS TO THE CHINESE YUAN FOR CROSS-BORDER PAYMENTS

On 5 December, the Payments Journal reported that the Russian Central Bank (RCB) said that roughly 50% of Russian cross-border payments are being made using currencies other than the euro and the dollar, and Russia has been increasingly turning towards the Chinese yuan for cross-border payments. 

https://www.paymentsjournal.com/amid-heavy-sanctions-russia-turns-to-the-chinese-yuan-for-cross-border-payments/

US CITIZEN AND 12 EGYPTIANS STAND TRIAL OVER SMUGGLING EGYPTIAN ANTIQUITIES

On 6 December, the Egypt Independent reported that 12 defendants, including a US citizen and 11 Egyptians, are on trial at the Cairo Criminal Court after being accused of smuggling Egyptian antiquities.  One of the defendants was arrested red-handed at JFK Airport in the US, leading to authorities discovering the rest of his accomplices.

https://www.egyptindependent.com/us-citizen-12-egyptians-stand-trial-over-smuggling-egyptian-antiquities/ 

UK: ACMD ADVICE ON THE CLASSIFICATION AND SCHEDULE OF REMIMAZOLAM

On 2 December, the Home Office published a report from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) on the classification and schedule of Remimazolam.  ACMD recommends that remimazolam should be controlled as a Class C drug under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.  Remimazolam is a prescription-only medicine, which can only be given by a healthcare professional experienced in sedation.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/acmd-advice-on-the-classification-and-schedule-of-remimazolam/acmd-advice-on-the-classification-and-schedule-of-remimazolam 

WIRECARD IN THE DOCK AS GERMANY’S BIGGEST FRAUD TRIAL SET TO START

On 6 December, RTE reported that former Wirecard executives go on trial, 2 years after the collapse of the payments company that produced Germany’s biggest postwar fraud scandal and sent shockwaves through the country’s political and financial establishment.

https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2022/1206/1340206-wirecard-trial-to-begin-this-week/ 

REPORT: MONEY LAUNDERING CRITICAL IN SUSTAINING SYNTHETIC OPIOID EPIDEMIC

On 5 December, OCCRP said that increasingly complex money laundering networks play a vital role in sustaining the synthetic opioid trade, which is linked to tens of thousands of deaths globally each year – and a new report from FATF on fentanyl and tramadol says authorities are not doing enough to fight back.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/17116-report-money-laundering-critical-in-sustaining-synthetic-opioid-epidemic

MEXICAN PROSECUTOR WHO LED INVESTIGATIONS INTO VIOLENT CRIMES OF ROMANIAN GANG IS ACCUSED OF BEING ON THEIR PAYROLL

On 5 December, a report from OCCRP says that after former member of the Riviera Maya gang was stabbed in Mexico by his onetime comrades.  The Mexican prosecutor who led the investigation didn’t even look into them as suspects.  Now, it says, they may have been paying him off.  The Mexican prosecutor who was allegedly paid off by the head of the Romanian gang also investigated 2 major criminal cases involving its members, including a murder and an attempted murder.

https://www.occrp.org/en/how-a-crew-of-romanian-criminals-conquered-the-world-of-atm-skimming/mexican-prosecutor-who-led-investigations-into-violent-crimes-of-romanian-gang-is-accused-of-being-on-their-payroll

US: THE UYGHUR FORCED LABOR PREVENTION ACT – POTENTIAL IMPACT ON CRITICAL MINERALS SUPPLY FOR CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES

On 5 December, an article from White & Case said that the UFLPA established a rebuttable presumption that goods produced wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, or by certain identified entities, are made with forced labour, and therefore subject to an import prohibition in the US.  The US Government has recently signalled that it will dedicate significant resources to bar imports of any product category where supply chain visibility suggests the possibility of forced labour.  It says that there is a strong likelihood that US Customs will pay especially close attention to imported critical minerals and products containing critical minerals.

https://www.whitecase.com/insight-alert/uygher-forced-labor-prevention-act-potential-impact-critical-minerals-supply-clean

COCAINE SEIZURE IN INDIA INCREASED 3,479% IN 2021-22

On 5 December, the Big News Network reported that seizures of cocaine increased from 8.667 kg to 310.21 kg.  There were also big increases in methamphetamine and heroin.

https://www.bignewsnetwork.com/news/273141464/cocaine-seizure-in-india-increased-3479-pc-in-2021-22-dri-report

FORMER US MARINES PILOT FACING EXTRADITION TO THE US OVER ACTIVITY IN CHINA

On 5 December, the Guardian reported that Daniel Duggan was arrested on return from China at the request of the FBI.  6 weeks of high-security custody later, the charges against him remain sealed.  His arrest coincided with warnings from Australian and British authorities over the practice of former military pilots being offered lucrative contracts to train pilots in China.

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2022/dec/06/shrouded-in-secrecy-the-australian-trial-of-a-former-marines-pilot-facing-extradition-to-the-us

MASS GRAVES IN VENEZUELA CONNECTED TO DISAPPEARANCES IN ILLEGAL MINING HUB

On 5 December, an article from Insight Crime says that the discovery of 3 mass graves in Venezuela’s eastern state of Bolívar points to how sinister the increase in disappearances in the country’s illegal mining epicentre has become.  At least 37 people had gone missing in Bolívar’s mining areas between September 2021 and April 2022.

https://insightcrime.org/news/mass-graves-venezuela-connected-disappearances-illegal-mining-hub/

FRENCH PROSECUTORS NAME UKRAINIAN SUSPECT IN LEBANESE CENTRAL BANK PROBE

On 5 December, Swissinfo reported that French prosecutors said that they have put a Ukrainian woman linked to the governor of Lebanon’s central bank under formal investigation as part of a cross-border probe into alleged fraud to the detriment of the Lebanese state.  Anna Kosakova, with whom central bank governor Riad Salameh has a daughter, is suspected of aggravated money laundering.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/french-prosecutors-name-ukrainian-suspect-in-lebanese-central-bank-probe/48110680

CREDIT SUISSE FIGHTS $600 MILLION DAMAGES AWARD OVER MISHANDLING OF ROGUE BANKER

On 5 December, Swissinfo reported that a Bermuda judge awarded the damages to bank client and Georgian billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili in March after ruling that Credit Suisse Life had turned a “blind eye” to convicted fraudster Patrice Lescaudron’s misuse of Ivanishvili’s money.  However, a lawyer for a Credit Suisse Group AG unit suggested the size of the ruling exaggerates what the returns would have been if the money had been invested properly. 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/credit-suisse-fights–600-million-damages-award-over-mishandling-of-rogue-banker/48109196

THE DOWNSIDES OF DIGITAL REVOLUTION: CONFRONTING AFRICA’S EVOLVING CYBER THREATS

On 2 December, a report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime says that over the past 2 decades, Africa has experienced an unprecedented wave of technological diffusion and innovation.  Africa’s digital revolution carries with it significant potential for benefit, but also enormous downsides, threats and challenges.  The report looks at how Africa’s digital revolution is impacting and amplifying a broad array of security threats, including organised crime, critical infrastructure sabotage, cyber-espionage and armed conflict innovation.

https://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/Nate-Allen-Matthew-La-Lime-Tomslin-Samme-Nlar-The-Downsides-Of-Digital-Revolution-Confronting-Africas-evolving-cyber-threats-GITOC-December-2022.pdf

UK: WHICH? CLAIMS BANKS ARE LEAVING CUSTOMERS WIDE OPEN TO SPOOFING FRAUD

On 2 December, Finextra reported claims that security failings at some of the UK’s largest banks are leaving customers vulnerable to fraud. To test how effective banks were at protecting their customers, Which? made calls to a test phone, spoofing the prominent numbers of 14 current account providers.  The firms’ numbers were chosen if they were the ones printed on the back of debit cards or listed as fraud helplines on their websites. It found many were not utilising Ofcom’s ‘Do Not Originate’ (DNO) list, a shared resource with telecoms providers to help them identify and block calls from numbers that are most likely to be spoofed.

https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/41419/which-claims-banks-are-leaving-customers-wide-open-to-spoofing-fraud

AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION ONSITE OF BRUNEI DARUSSALAM

On 2 December, FATF-style regional body APG reported that an onsite visit for Brunei Darussalam’ 3rd APG Mutual Evaluation was conducted from 7 to 18 November.  Brunei’s mutual evaluation report will be considered for adoption at the next APG Annual Meeting in July 2023.

https://apgml.org/news/details.aspx?pcPage=1&n=4194

HONG KONG POLICE SHUT DOWN MONEY LAUNDERING SYNDICATE SUSPECTED OF PROCESSING HK$168 MILLION THROUGH 100 BANK ACCOUNTS

On 6 December, the South China Morning Post reported that Hong Kong police have arrested 13 men and shut down a local money laundering syndicate that had used more than 100 bank accounts to process illegal funds.  Those detained included 4 core members of the syndicate and 9 holders of the bank accounts that were used to collect and launder crime proceeds. 

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3202273/hong-kong-police-shut-down-money-laundering-syndicate-suspected-processing-hk168-million-through-100

CANADA IMPOSES ADDITIONAL SANCTIONS ON THE IRANIAN REGIME: 4 INDIVIDUALS AND 5 ENTITIES TARGETED

On 5 December, Baker McKenzie reported that, on 2 December, Canada announced further amendments to the Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations in response to the Iranian regime’s “gross and systematic human rights violations and actions that continue to threaten international peace and security”.  There are now over 275 parties listed under Schedule 1 of the Regulations.  Among the newly listed parties are senior officials, prominent regime supporters, entities involved in transporting and developing UAV, and 1 media outlet – Javan News Agency.

https://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/canada-imposes-additional-sanctions-on-the-iranian-regime-4-individuals-and-5-entities-targeted/

ARMS TRANSFER AND SALW CONTROL-RELATED ASSISTANCE IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA: IDENTIFYING NEEDS AND BRIDGING GAPS

On 6 December, a report from SIPRI provides an updated picture of assistance activities involving countries in the region.  It assesses to what extent assistance delivered in the region has been in line with the needs and requests of MENA countries and provides recommendations on the priorities that should be the focus of future assistance efforts.  It argues that effective arms transfer and small arms and light weapons (SALW) controls are essential to help to ensure that the region, which is already plagued by conflicts and tensions, does not become even more unstable.

https://www.sipri.org/commentary/topical-backgrounder/2022/arms-transfer-and-salw-control-related-assistance-middle-east-and-north-africa-identifying-needs-and

GLOBAL JURISDICTIONS IMPLEMENT RUSSIAN OIL BAN AND PRICE CAP POLICY—NEW COMPLIANCE EXPECTATIONS FOR INDUSTRIES INVOLVED IN GLOBAL OIL TRADE

On 6 December, Wilmer Hale published this Client Alert, saying that the new price cap policy will create complex new sanctions compliance and recordkeeping obligations for global industries involved (directly or indirectly) in Russian energy trade, including the insurance, trade finance, banking, brokering, navigation, shipping and refinery industries.

https://wilmerhalecommunications.com/26/5466/december-2022/global-jurisdictions-implement-russian-oil-ban-and-price-cap-policy.asp

NATIONAL LAWS ON EU SANCTIONS WILL BE BETTER ALIGNED

On 6 December, Irish law firm McCann Fitzgerald reported that, in the wake of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the Council of the EU has decided that Member State legislation on sanctions should be better aligned.  Council Decision (EU) 2022/2332 requires Member States to apply minimum rules on the definition of criminal offences and penalties in the area of sanctions and other restrictive measures.

https://www.mccannfitzgerald.com/knowledge/disputes/national-laws-on-eu-sanctions-will-be-better-aligned

‘DARK ACTIVITIES’ OF RUSSIAN-LINKED OIL TANKERS HAVE DOUBLED

On 6 December, the Guardian reported on analysis which shows that the number of Russian-affiliated oil tankers “going dark” to avoid being tracked in the South Atlantic has doubled in recent months in a sign of clandestine means being deployed to avoid sanctions.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/06/dark-activities-of-russian-linked-oil-tankers-has-doubled-analysis-shows

WTO REPORT SHOWS INCREASE IN TRADE RESTRICTIONS AMIDST ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY AND MULTIPLE CRISES

On 6 December, a news release advised that the WTO Director-General’s annual overview of developments in the international trading environment shows that trade restrictions are increasing in a context of economic uncertainty exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the food security crisis.  WTO members are introducing restrictions at an increased pace, particularly on food, feed and fertilisers.  The stockpile of import restrictions in force also continues to grow.

https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news22_e/tmwto_06dec22_e.htm

MAPPED: WHICH COUNTRIES HAVE THE HIGHEST INFLATION RATE?

https://elements.visualcapitalist.com/mapped-countries-with-highest-inflation-rate/

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

EBA CONSULTS ON NEW GUIDELINES TO TACKLE DE-RISKING

On 6 December, the European Banking Authority launched a public consultation on new Guidelines on the effective management of money laundering and terrorist financing risks when providing access to financial services. Through these Guidelines, the EBA aims to ensure that customers, especially the most vulnerable ones, are not denied access to financial services without valid reason.  This consultation runs until 6 February.  There are 2 sets of guidelines – the first set is adding a new section to the EBA’s ML/TF risk factor guidelines, which set out what financial institutions should do to identify and tackle ML/TF risk; the second set tackles the issue of effective management of ML/TF risks by financial institutions when providing access to financial services.

https://www.eba.europa.eu/eba-consults-new-guidelines-tackle-de-risking

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2022/12/new-common-eu-standards-on-the-development-and-implementation-of-sound?cc_lang=en

WORLD BANK DEBARS A KOREAN IT COMPANY FOR 3 YEARS FOR AN OBSTRUCTIVE PRACTICE CONNECTED TO A PROJECT IN VIETNAM

A post from the FCPA Blog on 5 December advised that Lotte Data Communications Company Limited (LDCC) and its subsidiaries are ineligible to participate in projects and operations financed by the World Bank Group during the 36-month debarment.  LDCC is part of the Lotte Corporation. Lotte is the fifth-largest chaebol in South Korea.

https://fcpablog.com/2022/12/05/world-bank-debars-korean-chaebols-it-unit/

EU HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS: ENTRIES FOR 6 INDIVIDUALS AND 2 ENTITIES UPDATED

EU Regulation 2022/2374/EU amended the sanctions regime to update the details for 6 individuals and 2 entities.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2022.314.01.0081.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2022%3A314%3ATOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2022.314.01.0090.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2022:314:TOC

EU AMENDS DRC SANCTIONS REGIME

EU Regulation 2022/2373/EU amends the 2005 Regulation creating the EU Democratic Republic of Congo sanctions regime, expanding the criteria for designations.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2022.314.01.0079.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2022%3A314%3ATOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2022.314.01.0097.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2022:314:TOC

RUSSIAN SANCTIONS COST CYPRUS 20% OF OIL TANKER FLEET

On 6 December, the Cyprus Mail reported that approximately 20% of the oil tanker fleet registered in Cyprus have migrated to other registries since 6 October, when the European Commission signalled its intention to cap the price of Russian seaborne oil.

https://cyprus-mail.com/2022/12/06/russian-sanctions-cost-cyprus-20-of-oil-tanker-fleet/

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 5

I don’t know what happened while I was out of the country, but I return to find the number of new Covid cases has rocketed, and the total of reported cases since March 2020 now tops 1 million. Test results for the week to 3 December were up to 19.8%. On the other hand, hospitalisations and fatalities are only a fraction of what they were at the worst moments of the pandemic.

Over 7,000 new cases were added in the week to 3 December, with 7 fatalities (the same number as the previous week). There were 9,626 reported active cases – nearly 3 times the figure when I left the country at the end of November, but the number of patients in ICU has actually fallen , to just 4 (compared to the 6 or 7 of the previous couple of weeks), with 160 in other wards.

I think I have it too now, but have not yet been tested. My wife had a test, as she had a meeting to go to today, but she was negative, so maybe I haven’t got Covid. Perhaps it was just withdrawal symptoms from not having the unlimited fine food that the ship offered.

Having returned under the weather, and then having my PC literally blow up (I think the power thing blew), today the internet stopped for a while… Luckily I have this back-up PC I had sent from Britain and had recently had checked over and repaired, but I think I need to start dropping Christmas present hints about a new laptop and/or PC…some hope.

5 DECEMBER 2022

FREEZING ASSETS ACROSS JURISDICTIONS

On 29 November, an article from Fenwick Elliott Solicitors started by saying that in international arbitration, winning your case is only half the battle.  The harder part is often getting the money.  Even if an unsuccessful party has assets, gaining access to them is no sure thing. It cautions that merely winning a case in one jurisdiction (where the losing party does not have the funds to satisfy a judgment debt) does not guarantee that its assets in other jurisdictions will be readily available to the victor.  It goes on to say that a recent Australian case illustrates why, in the context of international arbitration, freezing orders are a useful tool, but also highlights the difficulties involved.

https://www.fenwickelliott.com/research-insight/newsletters/international-quarterly/freezing-assets-across-jurisdications

JERSEY: DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS LAW

On 1 December, an article from Ogier discussed the draft Criminal Justice (Deferred Prosecution Agreements) (Jersey) Law which, it says, brings Jersey into line with jurisdictions that have mature DPA regimes, such as the UK and the US.

https://www.lexology.com/commentary/private-client-offshore-services/jersey/ogier/deferred-prosecution-agreements-high-stakes-bargain

EU COUNCIL ADDS SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS TO LIST OF ‘EU CRIMES’ AND EU COMMISSION PROPOSES MEASURES FOR ASSET FORFEITURE AND HYBRID TRIBUNAL

On 1 December, an article from Ropes & Gray LLP reported on developments in the EU, saying that having agreed in principle the measures, the Commission will now need to formulate a directive setting out the minimum rules and the penalties for a sanctions breach, and the draft will then be discussed and adopted by the EU Council and European Parliament.

https://insights.ropesgray.com/post/102i2pe/eu-council-adds-sanctions-violations-to-list-of-eu-crimes-and-eu-commission-pro#page=1

IRREGULAR MIGRATION FROM COLOMBIA TO PANAMA AND ORGANISED CRIME

On 30 November, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised crime published a report saying that, according to Panamanian authorities, the number of migrants who crossed the Darién border region between Colombia and Panama between January and September 2022 amounts to 151,000 people.  That means that, without having finished the year, the figure has already increased by 13% compared to 2021, with 133,000 migrants.  The Darién is a jungle area shared by Colombia and Panama that represents the land connection between Central and South America – it is seen as a dangerous area, due to natural threats as well as those from smugglers and guerrillas, and there are no roads connecting the 2 countries through it.  The article considers the role of the Clan del Golfo (or Gaitanista Self-Defense Forces of Colombia).

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/colombia-frontera-clan-migracion/

BAN ON OIL SHIPMENTS VIA LITHUANIA TO KALININGRAD TAKES EFFECT
On 5 December, Delfi in Italy reported that the EU’s embargo on most Russian oil imports, announced 6 months ago, comes into force.

https://www.delfi.lt/en/politics/ban-on-oil-shipments-via-lithuania-to-kaliningrad-takes-effect.d?id=91937135

SOUTH AFRICA TO START REGULATING CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGES

On 1 December, My Broadband in South Africa reported an amendment to the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) annexure, designating crypto asset service providers as “accountable institutions”, with effect from 19 December.

https://mybroadband.co.za/news/cryptocurrency/472131-south-africa-starts-regulating-cryptocurrency-exchanges.html

DEFENCE CROWDFUNDING ‘EXACERBATED’ LIBEL DAMAGE

On 5 December, the Law Society Gazette reported that a judge has ruled that the fact that more than 1,000 people – including 2 media celebrities – contributed to the crowdfunding of a libel defence exacerbated the harm done by the original publication.  The High Court case in London was concerned with the alleged rise of antisemitism in the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/defence-crowdfunding-exacerbated-libel-damage/5114494.article

ITALY HOME TO 11 OF 100-PLUS UNOFFICIAL CHINESE ‘POLICE STATIONS’

On 5 December, the Guardian reported that Italy hosts the highest number of unofficial Chinese “police stations” out of a network of more than 100 around the world, a report by a Spanish civil rights group has claimed.  The civil rights group alleges that the unofficial police stations are used by China to “harass, threaten, intimidate and force targets to return to China for persecution”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/dec/05/italy-home-11-unofficial-chinese-police-stations-world

PANAMANIAN SUSPECTED OF ARRANGING EUROPEAN COCAINE SHIPMENTS WITH DANIEL KINAHAN ARRESTED

On 4 December, the Sunday World in Ireland reported that Anthony Alfredo Martínez Meza was arrested in Dubai as part of an international police operation targeting Europe’s super-cartel.  He  is suspected of being the connection who arranged to get Colombian cocaine shipped into Europe.

https://www.sundayworld.com/crime/irish-crime/panamanian-suspected-of-arranging-european-cocaine-shipments-with-daniel-kinahan-arrested/186653185.html

EUROPOL: 8,755 MONEY MULES WERE IDENTIFIED ALONGSIDE 222 MONEY MULE RECRUITERS, AND 2,469 INDIVIDUALS ARRESTED WORLDWIDE

A news release from Europol advised that law enforcement from 25 countries, supported by Europol, Eurojust, INTERPOL and the European Banking Federation (EBF) have joined forces to crack down on one of the most important enablers of money laundering: money mules and their recruiters.  It said that the European Money Mule Action (EMMA8) has gone international, with actions carried out in countries as far apart as Colombia, Singapore and Australia.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/media-press/newsroom/news/2-469-money-mules-arrested-in-worldwide-crackdown-against-money-laundering

THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK IN EU MEMBER STATES FOR THE ACQUISITION AND USE OF PEGASUS AND EQUIVALENT SURVEILLANCE SPYWARE

On 5 December, a briefing from the EU Parliament Research Service considers the existing legal framework in EU Member States for the acquisition and use of Pegasus and equivalent surveillance spyware.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2022/740151/IPOL_STU(2022)740151_EN.pdf

FORMER HEADS OF NEW YORK-BASED NGO PLEAD GUILTY TO CONSPIRING TO BRIBE ELECTED OFFICIALS OF THE MARSHALL ISLANDS

A news release from US DoJ on 1 December advised that 2 Marshallese nationals had pleaded guilty to conspiring to pay bribes to elected officials of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) in exchange for passing certain legislation.  The charges involved supporting legislation creating a semi-autonomous region within the RMI called the Rongelap Atoll Special Administrative Region (RASAR) that would benefit the business interests of the defendants and their associates. 

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-heads-new-york-based-non-governmental-organization-plead-guilty-conspiring-bribe

VENEZUELA GOLD: 10 WAYS TO ADDRESS ILLICIT FINANCIAL FLOWS (IFF) FROM THE MINERAL TRADE

An article from the Brookings Institution on 1 December says that Venezuela’s gold production and trade illustrate many of the risks and harms associated with IFF.  These include environmental damage, human rights abuses, and security threats for Venezuela and the region. 

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2022/12/01/venezuelas-gold-10-ways-to-address-illicit-financial-flows-from-the-mineral-trade/

KEY PLAINTIFF IN LANDMARK EUROPEAN CORPORATE TRANSPARENCY CASE OWNED COMPANIES IN NOTORIOUS TAX HAVENS

On 1 December, an article from ICIJ says that a business executive in Luxembourg behind a successful effort to roll back corporate transparency in Europe owned companies in high-profile tax havens. 

https://www.icij.org/investigations/luxembourg-leaks/key-plaintiff-in-landmark-european-corporate-transparency-case-owned-companies-in-notorious-tax-havens/

UK: THE ANTI-BRIBERY AND ANTI-CORRUPTION REVIEW

On 1 December, Dechert LLP published this article, saying that while in recent years, the UK anti-corruption enforcement landscape has been characterised by the SFO use of deferred prosecution agreements (DPA) to resolve allegations of bribery and corruption against corporates, the past year has seen a slight change of emphasis, with 2 high-profile corporate guilty pleas in bribery cases and no DPA concluded since July 2021.

https://www.dechert.com/knowledge/publication/2022/11/the-anti-bribery-and-anti-corruption-review–united-kingdom—en.html

ABB PAYS $462.5 MILLION TO SETTLE FCPA OFFENCES

On 2 December, a post from the FCPA Blog reported that Swiss conglomerate ABB Ltd had agreed to pay penalties of $462.5 million to resolve charges that it violated the FCPA by bribing a South African official to win contracts for a power plant project.  It was the third time ABB has been charged with FCPA offences, following earlier settlements in 2010 and 2004.

https://fcpablog.com/2022/12/02/double-recidivist-abb-pays-327-million-to-settle-fcpa-offenses/

COULD RUSSIA SANCTIONS WORK IN PRACTICE EVEN IF THEY FAIL ON PAPER?

On 1 December, an article in Freightwaves argues that on paper, sanctions and restrictions to date looks like a convoluted, naively designed and messy fiasco.  In practice, the plan might work, at least partially — though not the way you’d think if you took it literally.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/how-russia-sanctions-could-work-in-practice-even-if-they-dont-on-paper

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/vivekmishrain_moneylaundering-management-insurance-activity-7005331797077028864-2CRm?

VENEZUELAN OIL EXPORTS EXPLOIT FAKE DOCUMENTS AND USE SHIPS LINKED TO IRAN

On 2 December, an article in Insurance Marine News reported that Reuters has identified 3 vessels chartered by little-known companies that exported Venezuelan oil and then used false documents to conceal its origin.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/venezuelan-oil-exports-exploit-fake-documents-and-use-ships-linked-to-iran/

FINANCE SECTOR CAPTURE

This paper from Paul Beckett, an advocate in the Isle of Man, and presented at the online symposium “Notes From a Smaller Island”.  He argues that once a jurisdiction has been captured by its finance sector, a subtle shift takes place.  In the beginning, business is attracted, amongst other things, because the legislation enacted up to that point is in itself attractive when compared to that of the client’s home jurisdiction.  The legislation has developed over the years to serve the interests of the people of what has now become a tax haven.  Once captured, the tax haven is pressurised into creating ever more inventive and commercially-driven legislation, morphing traditional structures and modifying age-old legal concepts.  He says that the Isle of Man has left its wilder tax haven days long behind it, but nevertheless has still been impacted by finance sector capture.  He says that there are 3 examples that he says serve to illustrate how provisions which serve no useful purpose for the day to day lives of the local population have been introduced to benefit clients of the finance sector: Trusts, Companies and Insurance Law.

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/paul-beckett-frsa-4664ba25_finance-sector-capture-activity-7004712516530380800-fQkJ?

A PLAN TO PUSH BACK AGAINST CHINA’S FISHING PRACTICES

On 2 December, an article from War on the Rocks discusses China’s large fishing fleet — and maritime militia — that it now uses to encroach on the sovereignty of its neighbours.  It says that the US Coast Guard is well positioned to work with countries to push back against China’s fishing practices, and to take the lead on this issue.  It has the capabilities to provide willing partners and allies with advice and assistance on illegal fishing and can work with coastal states on identifying and remedying the threat.

https://warontherocks.com/2022/12/a-plan-to-push-back-against-chinas-fishing-practices/

https://www.statista.com/chart/12221/the-worlds-biggest-arms-companies

POST-BREXIT CALAIS DAYTRIPPERS REAP THE REWARDS ON A FESTIVE CAR TRIP

On 5 December, The I newspaper in the UK carried a report reminding Britons that, as third-country nationals they are entitled to claim the tax back on their shopping in the EU. A wide variety of goods qualify for a VAT refund (up to 20%) including cosmetics, technology, jewellery, and food and drink items.  Alcohol and tobacco limits, however, have returned to pre-Single Market levels.

https://inews.co.uk/inews-lifestyle/travel/post-brexit-booze-cruise-daytrippers-festive-calais-2009743

BRIBERY, FRAUD CHARGES DISMISSED AGAINST EX-NEW YORK LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR

On 5 December, the Mail Online reported that bribery and fraud charges against Brian Benjamin were dismissed by a federal judge, leaving him to face only records falsification charges.  The judge said that prosecutors failed to allege an explicit example in which Benjamin provided a favour for a bribe, an essential element of bribery and honest services fraud charges.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-11504231/Bribery-fraud-charges-dismissed-against-ex-NY-Lt-Governor.html

UK: COPS RESPONDED TO A BREAK IN AND FOUND 10 TONNES OF FAKE GOODS AND A HUGE STASH OF ILLEGAL MEDICINES

On 5 December, the Manchester Evening News reported that police officers went to investigate a burglary and discovered 10 tonnes of fake goods. They also seized 80,000 illicit prescription drugs.  The recovery was part of Operation Vulcan which has a huge remit to investigate a stretch of Bury New Road in the Strangeways are which has been a hub for selling counterfeit goods for decades.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/cops-responded-break-found-ten-25678466

HSBC MALTA €82,000 FINE FROM MONEY LAUNDERING WATCHDOG

On 5 December, Malta Today reported that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) has fined HSBC €82,000 for violating local AML laws.  The   FIAU explained that the bank failed to document the justification for a €2 million transaction by one of its clients.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/business/business_news/120190/hsbc_malta_slapped_with_82000_fine_by_money_laundering_watchdog#.Y45yUsvMKUk

https://www.linkedin.com/posts/william-j-callahan-iii_nationalsecurity-sanctions-antimoneylaundering-activity-7005528769046147072-4tUT

JoSTC: THE NEW JOURNAL FOR THE EXPORT CONTROL COMMUNITY

The European Studies Unit (ESU) of the University of Liège has announced the hosting of the Journal of Strategic Trade Control (JoSTC), a peer-reviewed and open-access journal with the intention of providing authoritative and thought-provoking sound resources to academics, practitioners and stakeholders involved in and concerned with strategic trade control issues.  The first issue in due in the Spring.

https://www.esu.ulg.ac.be/the-journal-of-strategic-trade-control-has-been-launched/

https://www.jostc.org/

THE OPIOID CRISIS IN THE UNITED STATES: A BRIEF HISTORY

On 30 November, the US Congressional Research Service published this briefing paper

https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF12260

VENEZUELA: OVERVIEW OF US SANCTIONS

On 30 November, the US Congressional Research Service published this briefing paper explaining that for over 15 years, the US has imposed sanctions in response to activities of the Venezuelan government and Venezuelan individuals.  The earliest sanctions imposed related to Venezuela’s lack of cooperation on antidrug and counterterrorism efforts.  New and extended sanctions followed under various administrations, and including in response to the increasing authoritarianism of President Nicolás Maduro.

https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF10715

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y