Well, the Cabinet here has suspended operations of the giant copper mine, Minera Panama, following failure to reach agreement on a new operating contract, and after the deadline for signing expired. The draft agreement was said to include a minimum annual royalty payment of $375 million, improved conditions for workers, providing greater protections for the environment and promote the well-being of local communities through social works. The Government claims that the Canadian company insisted on undermining royalties and demanded tax breaks and tax credits. Commercial production began in 2019 and, at full current capacity, the plant would produce more than 300,000 tons of copper per year, along with gold, silver and molybdenum.
16 DECEMBER 2022
SANCTIONS AND ACCOUNT FREEZING ORDERS
On 12 December, Rahman Ravelli reported on a test case that it says highlighted the challenges of detecting and disrupting sanctions evasion. It involved the interplay between sanctions imposed on Petr Aven, the former head of Russia’s largest private bank, Alfa-Bank JSC, and 9 account freezing orders sought by NCA concerning UK-registered companies responsible for managing Aven’s central London properties and Surrey estate.
US BLACKLISTS CHINA CHIPMAKER YMTC
On 15 December, Nikkei Asia reported that Yangtze Memory Technologies is among 36 Chinese companies and research organisations that were added to a US Entity List, described as a trade blacklist.
DISPARATE US, EU AND UK SANCTIONS RULES COMPLICATE MULTINATIONALS’ EXITS FROM RUSSIA
On 13 December, an article from Skadden says that the withdrawal of Western companies from Russia in the wake of the war in Ukraine does not take place overnight, and many foreign companies that have operated in Russia face ongoing legal hurdles as they work to complete exits in 2023. That involves navigating a dense web of regulations promulgated by the US, UK and EU, which have differences, and,in addition, Russia has begun imposing controls on some exits, adding another layer of complexity. The article sets out to highlight important differences among the 3 primary sanctions regimes that companies must factor in when planning an exit.
RUSSIAN SANCTIONS – DOES ENGLISH LAW PROTECT PARTIES WHO NOW HAVE NON-PERFORMABLE CONTRACTS
An article from DWF LLP on 14 December was looked at the conclusions derived from a UK Court of Appeal case involving a shipping company in light of judgment recently delivered in the appeal. This is Part 2 of its reporting, in Part 1 in May it reviewed the judgment handed down by the English Commercial Court in the case. It says that the Court of Appeal judgment emphasised the need to closely examine contractual provisions, such as force majeure clauses, and to interpret them accurately.
GERMAN AML CHIEF RESIGNS AMID ROW OVER SAR BACKLOG
On 15 December, the Financial Times reported that the head of the German FIU since 2018 has resigned after it was admitted that FATF was not told about a massive backlog of SAR. He is the fourth head of a supervisory body to resign since 2021, with the others resigning in the wake of the Wirecard scandal.
PAKISTAN ESCAPES THE FATF GREY LIST, BUT RISKS A CLASH WITH ITS JIHADISTS
On 15 December, a Commentary from RUSI says that Pakistan has been able to secure its removal from the FATF’s grey list, but its actions have fuelled dissent among jihadist groups in Kashmir.
SPYWARE COMPANIES IN ATHENS RAIDED AFTER GREECE BANS SALE
On 16 December, OCCRP reported that Greek police had raided the Athens office of an Israeli company behind the Predator spyware, as investigations into a wiretapping scandal that has rocked the country in recent months continue. The offices of Intellexa, the spyware company which supplies Predator, was raided, alongside the offices of 5 other companies, and the raids also targeted the company executives’ homes.
COLOMBIA REVOKES AMNESTY IT GRANTED TO ALLEGED IRA BOMB-MAKING TRIO
On 16 December, the Guardian reported that Colombia’s peace tribunal has revoked a controversial amnesty it granted to 3 alleged IRA members accused of training Colombia’s largest guerrilla group in bomb-making, after it concluded that the Irishmen had not come clean about their 2001 trip to South America. Ireland has no extradition treaty with Colombia so they have remained there ever since.
EncroChat’s PATH TO EUROPE’S HIGHEST COURTS
On 16 December, a research briefing from the EU Parliament Research Service said that, after infiltrating an encrypted phone network widely used by criminals (EncroChat), law enforcement authorities in Europe made headlines with high-profile arrests and seizures. The paper provides background on the EncroChat operations and an overview of the trends in French, German and UK jurisprudence, and calls attention to recent challenges before Europe’s highest courts.
UK UPDATES ITS EXPORT CONTROL LEGISLATION
On 16 December, an article from Eversheds Sutherland said that, on 7 December, the Export Control (Amendment) (EU Exit) Regulations 2022 came into force and updated UK export control legislation, the Export Control Order 2008 and the retained 2009 EU Dual-Use Regulation. This legislation governs the control of exports, brokering, technical assistance, transit and transfer of dual-use items from the UK. The firm says that it is interesting to see that the UK Government has harmonised export control legislation with that of the EU as, at the time of Brexit, there was no indication that they would do so.
UK: WHY DOES THE EXISTING LIMITED PARTNERSHIP STRUCTURE REQUIRE REFORM?
On 16 December, an article from Dentons says that there have been increasing reports recently of the misuse of English limited partnership and Scottish limited partnership vehicles, and links to criminal activities such as money laundering and fraud. It says that the old legislation allows that an LP may become disconnected from the UK by moving its principal place of business abroad and the relevant individuals may become difficult to track down, meaning it is possible to potentially exploit the opaque nature of the LP structure. In September 2022, the UK Government announced the new Economic Crime and Corporate Transparency Bill which aims to reform the current LP regime and crack down on the misuse of these entities by increasing the scope and reliability of information that must be filed at Companies House and ensuring that a legitimate connection to the UK is maintained by the LP.
DALIAN OCEAN FISHING, SUBJECT OF MONGABAY PROBE, NOW SANCTIONED BY US
On 15 December, Mongabay reported that OFAC recently announced sanctions on Chinese individuals and companies allegedly involved in human rights abuses and illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing while operating in distant waters. Dalian Ocean Fishing Co Ltd, was the subject of 2 Mongabay investigations: one uncovered widespread human rights abuses, and the other exposed extensive illegal shark-finning operations within the DOF fleet of longline fishing vessels.
POLICE SEARCHED IVANHOE MINES’ VANCOUVER OFFICE AS PART OF SWISS BANK TRANSFER INVESTIGATION
On 15 December, Mining.com reported that, in November 2021, police searched Canada’s Ivanhoe Mines’ Vancouver office seeking information on $2.7 million in bank transfers from Ivanhoe to a Swiss bank account in connection with contracts for its Congolese mining operations.
AUSTRALIA: AFP HAS ARRESTED AN ALLEGED CASH COURIER AND SEIZED UP TO $5 MILLION DOLLARS IN SUSPECTED ILLICIT CASH
On 15 December, a news release from the Australian Federal Police advised that the man, aged 25, had been the target of an AFP investigation since early November and was arrested after being observed acting suspiciously in Perth’s northern suburbs.
PODCAST: WASTE CRIME IS ‘THE NEW NARCOTICS’ IN THE UK
On 13 December, a podcast from Mongabay said that the UK Environment Agency calls waste crime — where instead of delivering recycling or rubbish for proper disposal, companies simply dump it in the countryside — “the new narcotics” because it’s so easy to make money illegally. In a 3-part, “true eco-crime” series for Mongabay’s podcast, investigative journalists traced England’s towering illegal waste problem. In this second episode, a lawyer describes her year-long campaign to get the government to deal with a single illegal dump site, but they failed to act before it caught fire. It also involves a former official at Interpol who shares that his agency also lacks the resources to tackle the problem.
FORMER IMF CHIEF AND POLITICIAN DOMINIQUE STRAUSS-KAHN INVESTIGATED OVER REVELATIONS IN THE PANDORA PAPERS ABOUT HIS MOROCCAN TAX RESIDENCY AND BUSINESS DEALINGS
On 14 December, ICIJ reported that French authorities are looking into the former finance minister’s Moroccan tax residency status as part of a broader probe targeting 200 people named in the ICIJ investigation.
ERICSSON AGREES TO 1-YEAR MONITORSHIP EXTENSION AFTER DPA BREACH
On 15 December, a post on the FCPA Blog advised that Swedish telecom Ericsson has agreed to a 1-year monitorship extension with the DoJ and SEC following its $1 billion FCPA settlement in 2019.
WORLD CUP SHINES LIGHT ON ALLEGATIONS OF NORTH KOREAN LABOUR IN QATAR
On 16 December, NK News reported on allegations that Qatar used overseas DPRK workers stem which from a 2014 investigation by The Guardian that found as many as 3,000 DPRK laborers may have been working in the country, including at four construction sites in the new Lusail City developed for the tournament. Qatar has denied the accusations. DPRK has often dispatched citizens abroad to earn money for the regime, and experts say Qatar’s reported willingness to hire North Koreans appears to reflect generally friendly ties between the countries, which have their roots in the 1970s and became formal diplomatic relations 30 years ago.
MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD AT THE CROSSROADS
On 16 December, an article from The Conversation asks where now for Egypt’s once-powerful group following leader Ibrahim Munir’s death in exile and repression at home?
OFAC COUNTER NARCOTICS DESIGNATIONS REMOVALS
On 16 December, OFAC advised that 5 individuals and 14 entities in Colombia have been removed from the SDN List.
UK AMENDS RUSSIA SANCTIONS ENTRIES FOR SAID MIKHAILOVICH AND MIKAIL SAFARBEKOVICH GUTSERIEV
On 16 December, HM Treasury issued 2 Notices which notified amendment of existing entries for these 2 persons.
MICHELLE MONE’S BILLIONAIRE HUSBAND COULD FACE JAIL IF FOUND GUILTY OF SPANISH FRAUD CHARGE
On 16 December, the Daily Record reported that Doug Barrowman, husband of Michelle Mone, who is facing questions over the PPE Medipro Covid PPE case, could be facing a lengthy jail sentence if found guilty of fraud charges in Spain.
US: IMPORTS FROM SE ASIA ARE CIRCUMVENTING ADD/CVD ORDERS ON SOLAR CELLS AND MODULES FROM CHINA
On 16 December, an article from White & Case reported that the US Department of Commerce had published its preliminary determinations that solar cells and modules completed in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, or Vietnam using components from China, and exported from Southeast Asia, are circumventing the antidumping duty (ADD) and countervailing duty (CVD) orders on solar cells, whether or not assembled into modules, from China. This alert discusses the preliminary determinations and the potential impacts on producers and importers of solar cells and modules from SE Asia.
OneCoin CO-FOUNDER KARL GREENWOOD PLEADS GUILTY TO WIRE FRAUD
On 16 December, Finance Magnates reported that Karl Greenwood, the Co-Founder of OneCoin, the multi-billion dollar cryptocurrency pyramid scheme, has pleaded guilty in the US to charges of wire fraud and money laundering in connection with his role in the fraudulent crypto project. He was arrested in Thailand in July 2018 and extradited to the US.