Tetra Pak, the maker of the ubiquitous milk and juice cartons, has unveiled a Christmas ‘recycletree’, the only tree of its kind in Central America, made from thousands of used, clean and dry Tetra Pak containers and illuminated with solar panels.
In compliance-linked news, La esterlla Panama reported that 2022 is to end with Bill 625, which adopts the legislation of extinction of domain of illicit assets (civil forfeiture), introduced (in its latest form) in April 2021, still languishing.
19 DECEMBER 2022
ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA SANCTIONS CONSOLIDATED LEGISLATION
On 19 December, the Isle of Man advised that the Russia Sanctions consolidated legislation has been amended following changes to the statutory documents (orders or regulations) relating to Russia trade sanctions. These changes came into effect on 16 December.
LAW COMMISSION POCA REFORM—IS THE GAME WORTH THE CANDLE?
On 14 December, Wilmer Hale published a post saying that, on 8 November the Law Commission in the UK released its report on reform of the criminal confiscation regime. The aim of the recommendations set out in the Report is to improve the process by which confiscation orders are made, ensure the fairness of the confiscation regime, and optimise the enforcement of confiscation orders. It says that although the Report’s proposals are worthwhile, they also show the limitations of law reform in improving the recovery of more than a small fraction of the proceeds of crime.
MORE DELAYS TO UKCA MARKING REQUIREMENTS
On 14 December, Travers Smith reported that the UK Government has announced it will give businesses another 2 years to apply the new UKCA product safety markings and continue to recognise the EU CE mark during the extended transitional period.
5 TONS OF COCAINE FROM PANAMA SEIZED IN BELGIUM
On 18 December, El Siglo reported that about 4.8 tons of cocaine from Panama was seized in the Belgian port of Antwerp, according to Belgium’s Federal Public Finance Service. The drugs were hidden in containers with bananas.
LITHUANIA WON’T APPLY EXEMPTIONS IN LATEST RUSSIA SANCTIONS PACKAGE
On 19 December, LRT reported that Lithuania has the right not to apply exemptions provided for in the ninth package of EU sanctions against Russia, the Foreign Minister has said.
EXPLORING MECHANISMS TO RECOVER THE PROCEEDS OF KLEPTOCRACY
On 19 December, a Commentary from RUSI says that the imposition of sanctions against the ‘oligarchs’ following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has triggered a policy conversation about the potential to move ‘from freeze to seize’: achieving permanent confiscation of assets frozen under sanctions. It explores asset recovery mechanisms that could help respond to the immediate policy goal surrounding Russian-linked assets and contribute to strengthening the broader asset recovery framework in the UK for the longer term. Among other things it said that some adjustments to existing legislation to include certain elements, such as a full reverse burden of proof, the involvement of expert witnesses and, most importantly, appropriate resourcing of law enforcement, will improve the odds of recovering proceeds of crime in the UK.
EU Q&A AND FACTSHEET: TRENDS, CHALLENGES AND REVISION OF THE EU ANTI-TRAFFIKCING DIRECTIVE
On 19 December, the EU published a Factsheet and Q&A, as the Commission is proposing a revision of the Anti-trafficking Directive to ensure that the EU and Member States are better equipped to address current challenges and trends.
UK: MERSEYSIDE DRUGS GANG RAN INDUSTRIAL SCALE AMPHETAMINE FACTORY IN SCOTLAND
On 19 December, a news release from the NCA advised that 4 members of an organised crime group that ran an industrial scale amphetamine lab in Scotland, and trafficked heroin and cocaine, have been convicted after an NCA investigation. They were caught after using the encrypted communications platform EncroChat.
UK BRIEFING: SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA
On 19 December, the House of Commons Library published an updated briefing.
UK: LICENCES THAT ALLOW ACTIVITY PROHIBITED BY FINANCIAL SANCTIONS
On 16 December, HM Treasury issued updated guidance, including an application form, for any person or organisation involved in a transaction with those subject to financial sanctions which needs a licence from OFSI.
UK: APPLYING TO ECJU FOR A LICENCE TO PROVIDE TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE UNDER EXPORT CONTROL LAW
On 19 December, the Department for International Trade published the application form to apply for a licence from the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) to provide technical assistance or support.
SPANISH POLICE ARREST KEY FIGURE IN SCAM BROKERAGE LINKED TO ‘FRAUD FACTORY’ INVESTIGATION
On 16 December, OCCRP reported that police had arrested a key figure in a massive investment fraud network that has defrauded victims around the world of billions of dollars. He was the head of a fake investment platform called EverFX, which purported to be a foreign exchange brokerage but actually just stole customers’ money without ever investing it. EverFX was one of 470 investment “brands” linked to an organised crime group, but it stands out because it appears to have sought a high profile for itself in Spain, even sponsoring the Sevilla Football Club for at least one season.
KAZAKHSTAN’S PRESIDENT VOWED TO CRACK DOWN ON ASSET THEFT. WHAT’S THE REALITY?
On 16 December, OCCRP says that President Tokayev has vowed to clamp down on the theft of state assets, and billions of dollars have already been recovered. But experts fear that the President’s backroom decisions are leaving the public in the dark — and serving primarily his own interests.
GLOBAL WASTE CRACKDOWN LANDS 25 TONNES OF HFC AND HCFC
On 16 December, Cooling Post reported that approximately 25 tonnes of HFC and HCFC have been seized in a global crackdown on illegal shipments of hazardous waste. Operation Demeter VIII, which took place from 1 to 31 October, saw 90 customs administrations from around the world cooperating. The main incident involved 1,239 non-refillable cylinders containing over 19 tonnes of refrigerant seized in Poland.
EU: AUTHORITIES TAKE MEDICINES AND DOPING SUBSTANCES WORTH OVER €40 MILLION OFF THE MARKET
On 19 December, a news release from Europol advised that it had coordinated the third edition of Operation Shield, a global effort to target trafficking of counterfeit and misused medicines and doping substances. The operation was led by France, Greece, Italy and Spain, and involved police and customs authorities from 28 countries (including 9 non-EU states).
‘INCREASED RIGOUR’ IN HMRC EXPORT CONTROLS ENFORCEMENT SINCE BREXIT
An article from Out-Law on 19 December says that new data published highlights how breaches of export controls are being enforcement with “increased rigour” in the UK since Brexit.
COMMUNIST PARTY OF VIETNAM EXPELS AIDE TO DEPUTY PM OVER BRIBERY CHARGES
On 18 December, RFA reported that Nguyen Van Trinh was accused of bribery in connection with a COVID test kit scandal. The Communist Party of Vietnam expelled an assistant to Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam for being “ideologically and politically degraded” and accepting bribes.
AMERICA’S NEW SANCTIONS STRATEGY
On 16 December, an article in Foreign Affairs looks at the background and history of US sanctions and how the US Can Stop the Russian war machine and strengthen the international economic order. The article is by Wally Adeyemo, the US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.
2 ALLEGED SENIOR MEMBERS OF A TRANSNATIONAL CRIME SYNDICATE LINKED TO PLOTS TO IMPORT AT LEAST 1 TONNE OF METHAMPHETAMINE INTO AUSTRALIA HAVE BEEN ARRESTED IN TAIWAN
On 17 December, a news release from Australian Federal Police said that Australian authorities provided intelligence to the Taiwan Criminal Investigation Bureau. Both men have been charged in Taiwan with illegal transportation of narcotics over the alleged plot to import 30 kg of methamphetamine into Australia.
EX-TWITTER EMPLOYEE SENTENCED FOR TAKING BRIBES TO MONITOR ‘USERS OF INTEREST’ TO SAUDI ROYAL FAMILY
On 16 December, the Los Angeles Times reported that a former Twitter employee who accessed the confidential data of “users of interest” to the royal family of Saudi Arabia in exchange for bribes was sentenced to 3½ years in federal prison.
RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERED THROUGH SAN FRANCISCO REAL ESTATE AND SILICON VALLEY START-UPS
On 15 December, OCCRP reported that an investigation had revealed that sanctioned Russian oligarch Suleyman Kerimov funnelled at least $28 million of his fortune into San Francisco real estate and Silicon Valley start-ups with the help of a covert network of US-based professionals. The San Francisco Standard traced the ways the financial services industry helped him do it in what it’s calling the “oligarch industrial complex”.
UK: SARS IN ACTION – DECEMBER 2022
The NCA has published the latest edition of its newsletter.
UK: RUSSIA SANCTIONS REGIME NOW BANS TRUST SERVICES
On 16 December, the Solicitors Regulation Authority published a news release reminding solicitors that the financial sanctions regime now includes a ban on providing trust services to those connected with Russia.
JERSEY: FEEDBACK ON FOLLOW-ON CONSULTATION ON AML/CFT SCOPE EXEMPTIONS
On 15 December, the Jersey FSC issued a news release saying that it had published feedback on the follow-on consultation on AML/CFT scope exemptions. The consultation was launched in December 2021 with the government on aligning Jersey’s AML/CFT scope exemptions regime with international standards. A follow-on consultation paper was issued in September 2022.
RUSSIA’S WAR ON UKRAINE – MARITIME LOGISTICS AND CONNECTIVITY: STATE OF PLAY
On 19 December, the EU Parliament Research Service published this update saying that the blockade of Ukrainian ports in the Black Sea has had a major impact on food security worldwide.
US TECHNOLOGY BOOSTS CHINA’S HYPERSONIC MISSILE PROGRAM
On 17 December, the Washington Post reported that military research groups at the leading edge of China’s hypersonics and missile programs — many on a US export blacklist — arepurchasing a range of specialised US technology, including products developed by companies that have received millions of dollars in grants and contracts from the Pentagon. Advanced software products are acquired by these military organisations through private Chinese companies that sell them on despite US export controls designed to prevent sales or resales to foreign entities deemed a threat to US national security.
THE FUSION BREAKTHROUGH: IT’S NOT REALLY ABOUT GENERATING ELECTRICITY
On 16 December, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported on the “major breakthrough” in nuclear fusion technology that, many reports misleadingly suggested, augurs a future of abundant clean energy produced by fusion nuclear power plants. It says that the fusion achievement that the US Energy Department announced is scientifically significant, but the significance does not relate primarily to electricity generation. It seems that the significance relates to the monitoring of the country’s nuclear weapons stockpile, not to clean electricity generation.
OFAC: PUBLICATION OF ILLICIT DRUG TRADE SANCTIONS REGULATIONS
On 19 December, OFAC announced the publication of these Regulations, which take effect on 20 December and give effect to Executive Order. OFAC says that it intends to supplement these regulations with a more comprehensive set of regulations, which may include additional interpretive guidance and definitions, general licences, and other regulatory provisions.
HOW THE WAGNER GROUP IS AGGRAVATING THE JIHADI THREAT IN THE SAHEL
In its November/December issue, the CTC Sentinel included this article, saying that over the past year, mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a private military company with very close ties to the Kremlin, deployed to Mali. It says that the Russian private military company and its brutal and indiscriminate counterinsurgency efforts are serving as a recruiting tool for the jihadis. With concern that Wagner may seek out Burkina Faso as its next client, the Russian mercenaries’ aggravation of the jihadi threat has very concerning implications for the stability and security of the region.
THE TERRORIST THREATS AND TRENDS TO WATCH OUT FOR IN 2023 AND BEYOND
In its November/December issue, the CTC Sentinel included this article, saying that the terrorist threat today is growing increasingly diverse, and although counterterrorism no longer sits atop the US national security hierarchy, it remains an omnipresent challenge, manifesting primarily through terrorist networks like al-Qaida and the Islamic State. Threats endure from state-sponsored terrorism as well as from domestic extremists, too, with the latter presenting a rising potential for violence during the upcoming presidential election season. The danger, it says, is that in its prioritisation of other national security issues, the US becomes complacent in its counterterrorism fight.
CANADA SEEKS SEIZURE FROM ROMAN ABRAMOVICH COMPANY
On 19 December, EU Sanctions blog reported that the Minister of Foreign Affairs has announced that Canada will pursue the forfeiture of $26 million from Granite Capital Holdings Ltd, a company owned by Roman Abramovich. Canada is the first G7 country to implement such measures.
BIDEN ADMINISTRATION WANTS TO BOOST EFFORTS TO TRACK US WEAPONS IN UKRAINE
On 12 December, NBC News reported that the Administration will want more accountability about how US weapons are distributed and used. The Defense Secretary and other military leaders want to enhance the accountability mission and make sure there are experts in country to help Ukraine use critical weapons systems, including air defence and counter-drone systems.
PPE MEDPRO: UK GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES ACTION TO RECOVER £122 MILLION
On 19 December, the Guardian reported the latest development in the Covid PPE scandal, that the UK Government has commenced legal action to recover more than £100 million from the company that was awarded 2 large PPE contracts.
ISLE OF MAN: LIST B COUNTRIES – JURISDICTIONS THAT MAY POSE A HIGHER RISK
On 19 December, the FSA said that it wished to provide further clarity around the approach expected of regulated and registered firms in respect of countries that are included in, or added to, the List B Country List updated from time to time by the Department of Home Affairs. List B is a list maintained by the Department on its website specifying jurisdictions that maypose a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing.
MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE: COURT CONVICTS MAN FOR MULTIPLE OFFENCES
On 19 December, a release on Mondo Visione advised that Kenneth Goh Jia Poh had been convicted and sentenced to 19 months’ imprisonment and fined $355,604 for multiple offences relating to false trading, unauthorised use of trading accounts and fraudulently inducing others to deal in shares, under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA). Using “spoofing and layering” he intended to create a false appearance of interest in these securities, so as to induce other market participants to trade at prices favourable to him. Once his trades were fulfilled, he would delete all the fictitious orders. Then, in 2020, while already under investigation for false trading, he made false statements on 9 occasions in a Telegram chat group to induce members in the chat group to purchase shares in the securities which he held. His false statements included overstating his target price for the securities and claiming that he had purchased shares in the securities when he had not.