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

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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