On 8 December, City AM reported that a trio of fund managers have been convicted of carrying a large-scale fraud that saw Libya’s sovereign wealth fund lose £46million. They managed £822 million worth of investments on behalf of the Libya Africa Investment Portfolio (LAIP), but defrauded the fund through a series of offshore shell companies.
On 8 December, OFAC advised that it was designating a sanctions evasion network led by businessman Sitki Ayan that has facilitated the sale of hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of oil for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF). The network involves the Gibraltar-based ASB Group of Companies Limited. 5 individuals and a large number of entities are designated, as well as the QUEEN LUCA, a Panama-flagged LPG tanker.
On 8 December, a report from Politico makes allegations concerning Turkish businessman Sıtkı Ayan, a friend of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan — the 2 men attended the same high school. It says that the collaboration between a member of the Turkish president’s inner circle and Iran’s power elite is detailed in hundreds of pages of documents, including business contracts and bank transfers.
On 8 December, Rferl reported that, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry, the exchange took place at the Abu Dhabi airport. Bout, nicknamed the “Merchant of Death,” was serving a 25-year sentence in the US for arms dealing.
On 6 December, a report from Insight Crime says that two-thirds of the US population now has legal access to medicinal or recreational marijuana and the DEA says the majority of the marijuana its anti-drug officials seize is produced domestically. It says that this has major implications for Mexico’s organised crime groups, who just 10 years ago were the main suppliers of marijuana to the US. It says that cartels have turned inward in an attempt to capitalize on Mexico’s growing – and almost legal – domestic market for marijuana.
On 7 December, an article from Hogan Lovells reviewed the WBG Sanctions System Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2022. It says that enforcement results show signs of recovery from the impact of the pandemic on transnational investigations. They also underscore the importance of proactive integrity risk management in private-sector development financing, and they indicate enhanced scrutiny of the World Bank’s $320 billion financing in connection with the pandemic response, the food crisis, and the war in Ukraine. In the year the WBG sanctioned 35 firms and individuals – such sanctions normally involving being barred from participation in World Bank-financed programmes (which also involves debarment from other international finance organisation projects). It started 48 new external investigations, the most since Fiscal Year 2019 and a 20% increase over the previous year, and 94 investigations were still active at the end of Fiscal Year 2022.