The latest Covid statistics, for the week to 17 December, shows 4,990 new cases in the week (down from 6,718 the previous week) and 12 fatalities. The week ended with 10 people in ICU (up from 5 the previous week) and 153 in other wards (down 17). The test rate was down from 18.6% to 14.9%.
Menawhile, a court case has opened where dozens of former operators of the diablo rojos (the colourful former US school buses that used to provide public transport services) are facing fraud charges over over-claiming compensation when the buses were replaced by new, air-conditioned ones (together with an Oyster card-type payment system) several years ago. In total there are 198 defendants, out of a total of 541 people charged.
In other news, the Canal is said to have contributed $2,494 billion to the state during the last year.
21 DECEMBER 2022
US AUDITING WATCHDOG PROPOSES TIGHTENED REQUIREMENTS TO PREVENT FRAUD
On 20 December, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board has proposed tightening the requirements around how audit firms obtain and verify outside evidence about their clients, such as from customers and lenders, a process aimed at preventing fraud.
US: 2 BIOTECH CEO INDICTED ON SECURITIES FRAUD CHARGES
On 20 December, the Wall Street Journal reported that 2 biotechnology industry executives at CytoDyn Inc had been indicted on criminal charges that they defrauded investors when making claims about an experimental drug.
WELLS FARGO BANK TO PAY RECORD FINE TO SETTLE ALLEGATIONS IT HARMED CUSTOMERS
On 20 December, the Wall Street Journal reported that the settlement with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau includes a $1.7 billion penalty, the agency’s largest-ever fine, and more than $2 billion in consumer restitution. The agency said the bank illegally assessed fees and interest charges on loans for cars and homes. Some consumers had their vehicles illegally repossessed while others had overdraft fees unlawfully applied.
EU UPDATES FAQ RELATING TO EXPORT OF GOODS AND TRADE WITH DONETSK, KHERSON, LUHANSK AND ZAPORIZHZHIA OBLASTS
On 20 December, EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU had updated its Russia sanctions guidance.
COMPLYING WITH CANADA’S ANTI-CORRUPTION LAWS: A NEW GUIDE
On 16 December, Stikeman Elliott LLP published this Guide which provides an overview of the relevant legislation and considers measures that can help to reduce risk.
GUERNSEY: NEW PROHIBITIONS ON THE PROVISION OF TRUST SERVICES UNDER RUSSIA SANCTIONS
On 19 December, Mourant published an update which covered the introduction of new sanctions prohibitions in Guernsey in relation to the provision of trust services to designated individuals and persons connected to Russia.
UK: EXPORT CONTROL – UPDATED GUIDANCE ON GLOBAL PROJECT LICENCES
On 19 December, the Department for International Trade updated its guidance on the use of a global project licence to simplify the export of military goods and technology classed as collaborative defence projects. Differing from OIEL, a GPL is for military projects involving governments or other industrial collaborations. It covers the export or transfer of a range of controlled goods, technology or software by both physical and electronic means.
UK: GUIDANCE FOR OPEN INDIVIDUAL EXPORT LICENCES (OIEL)
On 19 December, the Department for International Trade published this guidance, saying that one may be able to use an open individual export licence (OIEL) to regularly export similar controlled items to the same customer.
INDONESIA BAUXITE BAN
On 21 December, Nikkei Asia reported that the Indonesia had announced a ban on exports of bauxite (which is the raw material for making aluminium), adding it to a growing list of commodities in an effort to develop a domestic mineral refining and processing industry.
US: TASK FORCE INVESTIGATING HOW US TECH ENDS UP IN IRANIAN ATTACK DRONES USED AGAINST UKRAINE
On 21 December, CNN reported that the Biden administration has launched an expansive task force to investigate how US and western components, including US-made microelectronics, are ending up in Iranian-made drones Russia is using.
RUSSIA AND IRAN ARE BUILDING A TRADE ROUTE THAT DEFIES SANCTIONS
On 21 December, Bloomberg reported that Russia and Iran are building a new transcontinental trade route stretching from the eastern edge of Europe to the Indian Ocean, a 3,000 km (1,860 mile) passage that’s beyond the reach of any foreign intervention; and are spending billions of dollars to speed up delivery of cargos along rivers and railways linked by the Caspian Sea.
COLOMBIA: RECLASSIFICATION OF 2 FATF RECOMMENDATIONS
On 20 December, Caracol Radio reported that Colombia had managed to get the plenary session of FATF-style regional body Gafilat to raise the rating of 2 FATF Recommendations – Recommendation 10, on CDD, and Recommendation 12, on PEP.
NEW ZEALAND: REGULATOR TAKES TIGER BROKERS TO COURT FOR AML/CFT BREACHES
On 21 December, Finance Magnates and others reported that the FMA had filed a civil lawsuit against the local subsidiary of the retail trading platform, Tiger Brokers for alleged breaches of rules around AML/CFT, and is seeking a pecuniary penalty of NZ$900,000 from Tiger Brokers (NZ) Limited. The FMA alleges the firm failed to appropriately vet customers, respond to activities that should have raised concerns, and maintain records in the manner required by the Act, failed to report suspicious activities and keep records as required, with record-keeping breaches which were “systemic and significant”.
COUNTERFEITERS OF L-ACOUSTICS LOUDSPEAKERS JAILED IN CHINA
On 21 December, AV Magazine reported that 5 people were found guilty of producing and selling fake products in Guangzhou are sentenced to up to 3 years in prison. L-Acoustics teamed up with government authorities to track down the people who were producing and selling counterfeit L‑Acoustics loudspeakers in China.
DANISH EUROSCEPTIC LAWMAKER ACQUITTED IN EU FRAUD CASE
On 21 December, Yahoo News reported that Morten Messerschmidt of the eurosceptic Danish People’s Party had been acquitted of charges of document fraud and misuse of EU funds. He had been sentenced to prison in August 2021 on the same charges in a case that was later declared a mistrial. The verdict ends a long-running case that was first initiated by EU’s Anti-Fraud Office in 2015 on suspicion of fraudulent use of EU grants by the right-wing group MELD and its associated foundation FELD, both of which are now defunct.
UK: DIGITAL IDENTITY CERTIFICATION FOR RIGHT TO WORK, RIGHT TO RENT AND CRIMINAL RECORD CHECKS
On 20 December, the Department of Digital, Culture, Media & Sport issued updated guidance on how digital identity providers can become certified to complete digital identity checks for the ‘Right to Work’, ‘Right to Rent’ and DBS schemes.
TRACKING THE SUPPLY CHAINS OF RUSSIA’S MOST SUCCESSFUL UAV
On 21 December, RUSI published an interactive summary of its Orlan Complex report which highlights methodologies that can be used by state and non-state actors alike in combating Russian sanctions evasion networks.
THE SEIZURE OF A LARGE AMOUNT OF ILLEGAL FIREWORKS INTENDED FOR CONSUMERS IN THE NETHERLANDS
On 20 December, a news release from Europol reported on an investigation by the German Regional Police, the Dutch National Police and the Dutch Prosecution Office of Amsterdam, supported by Europol, had discovered that an estimate of 250 tonnes of fireworks were stored in a bunker complex in Germany, about 20 km from the border with the Netherlands. The suspects involved in this illegal scheme attempted to circumvent the strict regulations for the sale of fireworks by hiding behind the façade of legal company, registered for the sale of authorised fireworks.
HONG KONG: CUSTOMS BUST RECORD SMUGGLING CASE
On 21 December, The Standard reported that Customs had arrested 5 men and seized over 9 containers of smuggled goods intended to be shipped to Shanghai with a market value of over HK$200 million. The smuggled items included dried seafood, wines, electronic products, and some medicine believed to be used to treat strokes, expensive food materials, some endangered species, some vinyl music records, and cosmetic products.
DEA SEIZED ENOUGH FENTANYL TO KILL EVERY AMERICAN IN 2022
On 20 December, ABC Eyewitness News reported that the DEA had said it has seized more than 379 million deadly doses of fentanyl this year. Due to its potency, fentanyl is more easily transported across borders and often laced with drugs used recreationally, including powdered cocaine. Some pills are made to look like prescription drugs including Xanax, Percocet and OxyContin. The DEA said 2 Mexican criminal organisations – the Sinaloa and Jalisco cartels – are the primary sources behind fentanyl trafficked into the US.
AML – RESEARCH PAPERS FOR THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT
On 20 December, the EU Parliament Research Service presented a collection of publications presents studies, in-depth-analyses and briefings related to AML, produced or delivered by the Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies (DG IPOL), the Economic Governance Support Unit (DG IPOL), and the Directorate-General for Parliamentary Research Services (EPRS). This selection of publications includes analyses on various aspects of the reform package proposals, such as the proposed EU Anti-Money Laundering Authority and the powers and cooperation of FIU, as well as an appraisal of the Commission Impact Assessment. It is complemented by analyses of the implementation of the existing framework, including with a specific focus on the banking sector.
UK: SUPREME COURT RULES IN FAVOUR OF HSBC ON QUESTION OF LOSS IN RELATION TO STANFORD PONZI SCHEME “QUINCECARE” LITIGATION
On 21 December, an article from Eversheds Sutherland said that, in a decision it said would be welcomed, the Court had has dismissed the appeal by Stanford International Bank against the decision of the Court of Appeal in April 2021 and, in doing so, it has upheld the Court of Appeal’s decision to strike out the majority of a £118 million claim against HSBC for an alleged breach of the Quincecare duty finding that SIB did not suffer a recoverable loss.
CHINESE MANUFACTURER AND US COMPANIES ADMIT SCHEME TO EVADE US CUSTOMS DUTIES
On 19 December, a news release from US DoJ advised that a company based in China, along with 3 businesses located in New Jersey and New York, entered into settlement agreements with the US, admitting they took steps to avoid paying customs duties using a double invoicing scheme.
SANCTIONS CLAUSES IN LETTER OF CREDIT TRANSACTIONS – VALID AND ENFORCEABLE?
On 19 December, an article from Watson, Farley & Williams was concerned with a case before the High Court in Singapore which considered the validity of a sanctions clause for the first time. It says that the judgment is a timely clarification on the interpretation and treatment of sanctions clauses and provides valuable guidance on the nature of letter of credit transactions as well as the rights and obligations under each component of these transactions.
NEW DOCUMENTS REVEAL ROMAN ABRAMOVICH SECRETLY HAD A YEARS-LONG PARTNERSHIP WITH THE RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT IN A FORESTRY VENTURE
On 20 December, OCCRP reported that, while lawyers for Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich argue he should not be sanctioned because his ties to the Kremlin are weak, but new documents reveal he secretly had a years-long partnership with the Russian government in a forestry venture.
ACQUITTAL OF CHARTERED ACCOUNTANT IN ONE OF THE LARGEST MONEY LAUNDERING TRIALS IN BRITISH LEGAL HISTORY
On 20 December, Exchange Chambers published a news release about the acquittal of am Australian chartered accountant, Heidi Butler, in a £266 million money laundering case, after an 8-month trial. The case involved allegations of a trade-based laundering scheme using criminal proceeds to buy gold in Dubai.
FCPA ENFORCEMENT UPDATE: 2 BIG SETTLEMENTS TO END THE YEAR
On 21 December, Bass Berry & Sims discussed 2 FCPA resolutions – settlements with ABB and Honeywell – that have now been announced. It says that there are a few specific points to take from these enforcement actions. First, and as is often the case in FCPA and other anti-bribery enforcement matters, third-party representatives can create substantial compliance risk. Second, the energy industry and other heavily regulated industries remain particularly ripe for corruption. Third, they highlight the continuing efforts by US enforcement officials to partner with regulators in other parts of the world. Finally, the ABB resolution underscores a recent focus on recidivist conduct.
THE FTX COLLAPSE MIRRORS AN INFAMOUS 18TH CENTURY BRITISH FINANCIAL SCANDAL
On 21 December, an article in The Conversation says that such scandals can be traced back to the origins of publicly traded companies, when the first stockbrokers bought and sold company shares and government securities in the coffee houses of London’s Exchange Alley during the 1700s. The author of the article says that he is struck by the similarities between what’s known as the Charitable Corporation Scandal and the recent collapse of FTX.
WHEN FISHING BOATS GO DARK AT SEA, THEY’RE OFTEN COMMITTING CRIMES – WE MAPPED WHERE IT HAPPENS
On 21 December, an article in The Conversation by a researcher with the Global Fishing Watch on a recent study to advance ocean governance by increasing transparency of human activity at sea, to show that these periods of missing transponder data actually contain useful information on where ships go and what they do – and how to use this missing data to help combat illegal activities at sea, such as overfishing and exploiting workers on fishing boats.
PODCAST: COMPLIANCE PREDICTIONS FOR 2023
As we near the end of the year, TRACE asked 9 experts in the field to provide their compliance predictions for 2023. Surprisingly, no prediction was duplicated.
HMRC CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS ACTIVITY: AN UPDATE
On 20 December, Field Fisher published an update which is an analysis of the firm’s annual survey of HMRC’s raids, decisions to prosecute, prosecutions and convictions.
KPMG E-INVOICING AND DIGITAL REPORTING GLOBAL UPDATE
On 21 December, KPMG produced the latest edition of this Update.
UK MARITIME SERVICES PROHIBITION AND OIL PRICE CAP GUIDANCE
On 20 December, HM Treasury issued this guidance on the provision of maritime transportation of, and associated services for the maritime transportation of, certain Russian oil and oil products.
UK GOVERNMENT HAS ORDERED RUSSIAN-OWNED LETTERONE (L1) TO SELL THE REGIONAL BROADBAND PROVIDER UPP CORPORATION
On 21 December, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the UK Government had made the order under the National Security and Investment Act 2021. LetterOne’s owners include Mikhail Fridman and Peter Aven who are UK sanctioned, but LetterOne itself is not.
EU ISS YEARBOOK OF EUROPEAN SECURITY 2022
The European Union Institute for Security Studies has issued this Report which provides an overview of events in 2021 that were significant for European security. The book charts major developments in the EU’s external action and security and defence policy.
ISLE OF MAN UPDATED RUSSIA SANCTIONS GUIDANCE
On 21 December, the Isle of Man published updated Russia sanctions guidance.
SWITZERLAND HAS ADDED 141 INDIVIDUALS AND 49 COMPANIES TO ITS TARGETED SANCTIONS LIST
On 21 December, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Switzerland had added a large number of names to its sanctions list, to track changes made by the EU on 12 and 16 December.
EU HAS UPDATED ITS RUSSIA SANCTIONS FAQ
On 21 December, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the EU had updated its FAQ on the transit of listed goods via Russia; the import, purchase and transfer of listed goods; the provision of services; and on insurance reinsurance.
US: RECORD NUMBER OF FIREARMS SEIZED AT AIRPORT SECURITY THIS YEAR
On 21 December, Homeland Preparedness News reported that the number of people who attempted to bring guns onto US airliners rose significantly this year, according to the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), despite having never been allowed in carry-on bags regardless of concealed weapons permits. TSA seizing 6,301 firearms as of Dec. 16, 2022 – more than 88% of which were headed for planes already loaded. The previous record was set last year at 5,972 firearms.
UK: 5 MEN INCLUDING FORMER LAWYERS JAILED OVER MONEY LAUNDERING
On 21 December, the Glasgow Times reported that 5 men have been jailed for money laundering which included the bank account of a football club owner being hacked. A total of almost £1.5 million was funnelled through the client account of Robertson’s law firm in Paisley to make it look legitimate.