14 DECEMBER 2022
ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA SANCTIONS LIST AMENDMENT
On 13 December, the Isle of Man issued a news release advising that the entry for Said Mikhailovich GUTSERIEV had been corrected.
ILLICIT SMALL ARMS AND LIGHT WEAPONS IN SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: SOURCES, CHALLENGES AND POLICY MEASURES
On 14 December, SIPRI published a report – Illicit Small Arms and Light Weapons in Sub-Saharan Africa: Using UN Reports on Arms Embargoes to Identify Sources, Challenges and Policy Measures. It uses the the data on small arms and light weapons (SALW) diversion from the UN Panel of Experts reports on the 5 UN arms embargoes in place in sub-Saharan Africa in 2022—on the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan (Darfur region). It provides a typology on the sources of illicit SALW in the states and regions under embargo and discusses the challenges of enforcing arms embargoes and possible policy solutions to address the various sources of illicit SALW in order to inform and support efforts to combat the proliferation of illicit arms.
WHITE-COLLAR CRIME ENFORCEMENT IN CANADA: MAKING HEADWAY?
An article from Osler Hoskins& Harcourt LLP on 7 December said that, in 2022, there were a number of significant developments in the regulation and enforcement of white-collar crime in Canada. Nearly 4 years after its inception, Canada’s DPA regime – referred to as “remediation agreements” under Canadian legislation – produced its first 2 agreements, one of which has received court approval, and the second of which is still pending before the courts. In June, the Cullen Commission released its final report on money laundering in British Columbia. Canada’s proposed forced labour and modern slavery legislation continued to advance through Parliament during 2022. Meanwhile, Canada continued to face criticism over perceived lack of enforcement of white-collar crime, including corruption, but the article says that there were multiple significant enforcement actions in Canada in 2022. Then, in October, the courts delivered what is described as landmark decision on privilege.
MONACO: THE FREEZING AND CONFISCATION OF INSTRUMENTALITIES AND THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME
On 12 December, HFW reported that, in November, Monaco had passed a new law. It still requires Royal Assent and must be published in the Journal de Monaco. The article says that the timeline for the completion of these steps is unclear but, given the importance of the matter, they are expected to be concluded reasonably quickly. The new law aligns Monaco’s AML/CFT laws with the recommendations of FATF, whilst also taking into account the recent observations of Moneyval.
A 10-YEAR IMPACT REPORT OF THE OECD GUIDELINES HUMAN RIGHTS CHAPTER
On 9 December, Paul Hastings LLP produced a report saying that, in 2011, the UN Human Rights Council adopted the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) and, in the same year, the OECD revised its Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises to include a new chapter on human rights obligations. The report synthesises hundreds of cases and provides an analysis of trends. It says that the private sector still has a long way to go to better integrate human rights perspectives into business practice – but there is often a cost to both action and inaction. Investors, employees, and the communities that companies work in depend on and even demand attention to human rights.
PRACTICAL GUIDE TO: E-SIGNATURES
On 12 December, an article from Abel & Imray says that the law and practice around use of e-signatures around the world has changed considerably as a result of the pandemic and evolving ways of working. Whilst further changes are likely, the article aims to summarise the current situation.
RANK SUBSIDIARY FAILS IN APPEAL OVER £5.8 MILLION GAMBLING COMMISSION FINE
On 14 December, iGB reported that a court has rejected an appeal from the Alderney-based subsidiary of the Rank Group against a £5.8 million fine from the Gambling Commission last year.
THE FATE OF THE AFGHAN CENTRAL BANK ASSETS – STATE OF PLAY
On 8 December, a post on the Transnational Litigation Blog said that the US froze roughly $7 billion in assets held by Afghanistan’s central bank, Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), located in New York. At the time of writing, none of that money has been dispersed. The question of to whom it should be allocated and for what purposes remains controversial and raises serious questions about central bank immunity.
UK: FATHER AND SON JAILED IN £900,000 COUNTERFEIT CURRENCY CASE
On 14 December, the Telegraph & Argus reported that Christopher and Jordan Gaunt were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court after pleading guilty to manufacturing counterfeit bank notes from premises in Holmfirth.
UK NOTICE TO EXPORTERS 2022/32: THE EXPORT CONTROL (AMENDMENT) (EU EXIT) REGULATIONS 2022
On 14 December, the Department for International Trade published this Notice notifying an amendment of the Export Control Order 2008. The changes include correcting a mistake made by an earlier amending instrument, and the removal of the Russian Federation as a permitted destination for the Retained General Export Authorisations (a form of open licence).
MUMBAI: CUSTOMS CLOSE TOILETS TO CATCH GOLD SMUGGLERS
On 13 December, MSN reported that, to prevent gold smuggling at the international airport, a Customs Deputy Commissioner has ordered the closure of 2 toilets so that the peddlers can’t hide the contraband for its retrieval by the next carrier.
SINGAPORE: 4 MEN CHARGED WITH LAUNDERING FRAUDULENT VAT REFUNDS FROM THE UK
On 13 December, Channel News Asia reported that 4 men were charged in court with engaging in a conspiracy to launder fraudulent VAT refunds from the UK, and regarding an unsuccessful attempt to make VAT refund claims.
UK LAW COMMISSION ANNUAL REPORT 2021-22
On 14 December, the Law Commission released its annual report saying that its work had included 8 major reports since the last annual report, covering topics such as electronic trade documents, hate crime and automated vehicles. It notes the implementation of several of its law reforms by Government, such as recommendations on communications and cyberflashing offences in the Online Safety Bill and recommendations on espionage offences in the National Security Bill.
MEXICAN CARTELS BRINGING DRUG EXPERTISE TO THE EU
On 14 December, a news release from Europol advised on anew report from Europol and the DEA on the involvement of Mexican criminal actors in the EU drug market. The report shows that Mexican cartels and EU-based criminal networks have been working together to traffic both methamphetamine and cocaine from Latin America to the EU. Despite no current indications of a fentanyl market in the EU, the discovery of fentanyl production facilities and seizures of the substance in the EU raises concerns over the development of a fentanyl market.
T-2 BUCKEYE JET TRAINER EXPORTED TO SOUTH AFRICA TO TRAIN CHINESE CARRIER PILOTS
On 14 December, Alert 5 reported that a warrant and 2017 indictment of a former US Marine Corps Harrier pilot accused of helping China to train its military pilots includes details of a former US Navy trainer jet being exported due to false information being provided. The retired T-2 was used by the US Navy to train pilots in aircraft carrier operations. It was exported to a South Africa flight academy, and the defendant is accused of providing training to Chinese pilots at the academy from 2010 to 2012.
SINGAPORE: MANAGER JAILED FOR SELLING S$1.3 MILLION WORTH OF BEVERAGES THAT ENDED UP IN NORTH KOREA
On 12 December, Channel News Asia reported that a manager at Pokka International sold about S$1.3 million worth of beverages such as strawberry milk and coffee to various companies, knowing they would eventually be exported to North Korea. It is illegal for any Singapore citizen or anyone in Singapore to trade certain goods with North Korea. On top of this, a trade prohibition on all commercial goods from or to North Korea was imposed in November 2017.
LARGEST VAT FRAUD INVESTIGATED IN EU: 24 ARRESTS, 312 HOUSE SEARCHES AND SEIZURES WORTH €67 MILLION
On 13 December, a news release from the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) advised about what is believed to be the biggest VAT fraud ever investigated in the EU. With the help of Europol and more than 30 national law enforcement partners, the EPPO was able to connect the dots between a company in Portugal and close to 9,000 other legal entities and more than 600 natural persons located in different countries. The estimated damages investigated under Operation Admiral currently amount to €2.2 billion.
A RESPONSE TO FATF CONSULTATION ON RECOMMENDATION 24
On 12 December, the Tax Justice Network in the UK published its response to FATF’s consultation on Recommendation 24 on beneficial ownership transparency for legal persons. The TJN says that the proposed guidance looks comprehensive on the risks, but rather loose on the solutions. It highlights continued concerns on bearer shares, nominees, private foundations and listed companies.
FRENCH JUDGE RULES THAT CUSTOMS OFFICERS BROKE RULES WHEN SEIZING RUSSIAN YACHT
On 13 December, Insurance Marine News reported that Russian billionaire Alexey Kuzmichev has achieved a legal victory in France after a local judge ruled that the customs officials who raided his yacht when it was moored in Cannes had broken procedural rules. His yacht was targeted by French authorities days after he was added to the EU sanctions list in reaction to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
OFAC GENERAL LICENSE 21A AUTHORISING LIMITED SAFETY AND ENVIRONMENTAL TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING CERTAIN VESSELS
On 14 December, OFAC issued General License 21A and an associated FAQ
UK: RUSSIAN OLIGARCH SEEKS TO BLOCK FRAUD LAWSUIT OVER SANCTIONS
On 14 December, City AM reported that a high-profile Russian oligarch is seeking to block an $850 million fraud lawsuit over claims the Russian banks suing him could use proceeds from the case to “fund the war in Ukraine”. Boris Mints accused of defrauding Bank Otkritie of millions, before it was bailed out by the Central Bank of Russia in 2017.
EXTRATERRITORIAL US LEGISLATION (SANCTIONS AGAINST CUBA, IRAN AND LIBYA) (PROTECTION OF TRADING INTERESTS) (AMENDMENT) (EU EXIT) REGULATIONS 2022
These Regulations amend the 1996 Order to address inoperabilities and deficiencies of retained EU law arising from the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, by updating a cross reference and removing an outdated reference to the EC Counter-measures Regulation (which no longer applies in the UK). The 1996 Order broadly makes compliance with certain US Sanctions a criminal offence (and mirror EU legislation). That Order does not provide for custodial sentences, but it does provide for a potentially unlimited fine
SEC CHARGES 8 SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS IN $100 MILLION STOCK MANIPULATION SCHEME
On 14 December, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the SEC had announced charges against 8 individuals in a $100 million securities fraud scheme in which they used the social media platforms Twitter and Discord to manipulate exchange-traded stocks. According to the SEC, since at least January 2020, 7 of the defendants promoted themselves as successful traders and cultivated hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter and in stock trading chatrooms. 7 were charged with securities fraud, and an eight with aiding and abetting the alleged scheme by, among other things, co-hosting a podcast in which he promoted many of the other individuals as expert traders.
US: FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES AGAINST THE FOUNDERS AND PROMOTERS OF 2 CRYPTOCURRENCY PONZI SCHEMES
On 14 December, a news release from US DoJ advised of indictments for the founders and promoters of 2 cryptocurrency Ponzi schemes known as IcomTech and Forcount (and later known as Weltsys), at various times between 2017 and 2021. It is said that IcomTech and Forcount were both purported cryptocurrency mining and trading companies that promised to earn their respective victim-investors profits in exchange for their purchase of purported cryptocurrency-related investment products.