You cannot really feel Christmassy when it is 28 degrees at 4.30 pm, you need miserable and/or cold weather – though the shops and roads are very busy here today.
In other news, the new US Ambassador has urged Panama to press on with the much-delayed civil forfeiture law (known as “extinction of domain” law in Latin America).
12 new cases of monkeypox (which WHO says we are not supposed to call it now) bring to 78 the total number of cases to date. 42 doses of vaccine have so far been given. The health ministry also noted, with criticism implied I would guess, that victims are taking 7-9 days to seek medical attention.
22 DECEMBER 2022
THE REGISTER OF OVERSEAS ENTITIES: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
On 21 December, HFW published an article seeking to answer various questions about the new register which will be kept at Companies House, and will hold details of the beneficial owners of overseas entities which own “qualifying estates” in UK land.
US PARTNERING WITH BENIN TO COMBAT PIRACY IN GULF OF GUINEA
On 21 December, Dryad Global reported that the US is working with Beninese officials to increase their capacity to combat international piracy within territorial waters. Itis delivering a new patrol vessel, associated maintenance and launch facilities and specialised training to the Beninese Special River and Maritime Police Unit (USPFM).
IRAN “SMUGGLING VENEZUELAN GOLD TO FINANCE HEZBOLLAH”
On 12 December, the Iran International website claimed to have seen a confidential warning to clients fromLloyds Marine Insurance Company saying that the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Hezbollah illegally sends gold from Venezuela to Iran to finance the terrorist activities of Tehran-backed militias in Lebanon, bypassing sanctions.
PARLIAMENTARY SELECT COMMITTEE LAUNCHES INQUIRY INTO UK GOVERNMENT’S HANDLING OF GAMBLING
On 21 December, iGB reported that a select committee has launched an inquiry into the Government’s regulation of gambling, due to “warnings that more needs to be done to protect people”. The inquiry is currently open for evidence, and will be until 10 February.
6 UAE FIRMS FINED $871,000 FOR AML LAW VIOLATIONS
On 22 December, Zawya reported that the UAE government has imposed fines worth $871,270 on 6 companies for violating AML/CFT regulations and following inspections conducted by the Ministry of Economy.
ZIMBABWE HAS BANNED THE EXPORT OF RAW LITHIUM
On 21 December, Quartz reported that Zimbabwe has banned the export of raw lithium from its mines to stop losing billions of dollars in mineral proceeds to foreign companies. It says that Zimbabwe is projected to become one of the world’s largest lithium exporters.
CHILEAN CASE RECOGNISED AS THE BEST INVESTIGATION OF MONEY LAUNDERING IN LATIN AMERICA
On 21 December, El Cuidadano reported that FATF-style regional body GAFILAT at its recent Plenary recognised the case, saying that the Chilean case clearly identified the techniques that criminal organisations use to launder assets or finance terrorism, as well as the measures adopted by the competent authorities to detect and dismantle them. As part of the investigation, 116 convictions have been obtained for money laundering and embezzlement, 94 in 2019 and 22 in 2022.
NEW ZEALAND: MINISTER OF JUSTICE RELEASES REPORT ON AML/CFT ACT REVIEW
DLA Piper reported that the statutory review assessed the performance of the AML/CFT Act and whether any amendments should be made. Overall, the review found that the AML/CFT Act provides for a generally sound regulatory regime that is somewhat effective at detecting and deterring money laundering and terrorism financing. However, the report contains 215 recommendations for change. The Minister has already announced several changes.
ISLE OF MAN: FINANCE FIRM SURRENDERS LICENCE AFTER FSA INVESTIGATION
On 21 December, Manx Radio reported that a company has surrendered its licence and 3 directors have been barred from their roles after an investigation found a number of serious AML/CFT regulatory failings. A company formerly known as Corporate Options Limited, was found to have contravened the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering the Financing of Terrorism Code. A report found the company had not been fully compliant for several years because it hadn’t invested enough time and resources in AML, together with evidence that the business had been undertaking regulated activity without being licensed to do so.
EMCDDA RELEASES NEW ANALYSIS ON THE DRUG SITUATION IN THE WESTERN BALKANS AND DRUG MARKETS IN THE EASTERN AND SOUTHERN EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY REGIONS
On 22 December, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction released a report which provides the latest picture of the drug situation in the Western Balkans. At the same time, the emergence of new drug trafficking routes, the expansion of online markets, and the availability of a broader spectrum of substances, are among the findings highlighted in 2 new reports on the EU eastern and southern European neighbourhood.
EU: NEW REPORT SHOWS RISE IN RECREATIONAL USE OF NITROUS OXIDE
On 22 December, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs & Drug Addiction released a report on the rise in the supply and recreational use of nitrous oxide (‘laughing gas’). It points to the risks and harms associated with the drug, which is now widely available, cheap and popular among some young people.
JERSEY: CONSULTATION RESPONSE PUBLISHED – ACCESS TO BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP INFORMATION ON LEGAL ENTITIES
On 22 December, Jersey released its response and a policy paper on access to the beneficial ownership register when conducting customer due diligence (CDD). The documents concern access by “obliged entities”.
FORMER FIFA VICE-PRESIDENT JACK WARNER FUNDED A DISINFORMATION CAMPAIGN IN TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO DESIGNED TO DISCOURAGE BLACK TRINIDADIANS FROM VOTING
On 22 December, OCCRP reported claims that Warner personally funded an ethnically divisive disinformation campaign in Trinidad and Tobago designed by an election engineering firm to discourage black Trinidadians from voting in 2010. He is currently fighting extradition to the US on corruption charges including that he accepted $5 million in bribes to vote for Russia to be awarded the 2018 World Cup.
PERUVIAN PROSECUTORS SEEK 15 YEARS FOR EX-PRESIDENT VIZCARRA FOR GRAFT
On 21 December, OCCRP reported on calls for a 15-year prison sentence for former President Martín Vizcarra for allegedly receiving bribes in 2013, at the time he served as the governor of the Moquegua region in southern Peru. The former President is facing more accusations as the Prosecutor’s Office also reported that it has managed to reactivate a judicial cooperation mechanism with Brazil in connection with the Odebrecht corruption case.
AZERBAIJANI REGIONAL LEADER TALIBOV RESIGNS AFTER A GENERATION OF RULE
On 21 December, OCCRP reported that a strongman who ruled Azerbaijan’s remote region of Nakhchivan with an iron fist for 27 years had resigned, marking the end of his autocratic and often brutal rule over the secretive exclave. Vasif Talibov, 62, said that he would step down for health reasons, effective immediately.
ASSOCIATES OF SAM BANKMAN-FRIED PLEAD GUILTY TO FRAUD CHARGES AFTER FTX COLLAPSE
On 22 December, the Guardian reported that the 2 associates have pleaded guilty to criminal charges related to the collapse of the cryptocurrency exchange FTX and are helping investigators with their inquiries. Carolyn Ellison, a former chief executive of Alameda Research, a trading firm started by Bankman-Fried, and Gary Wang, who co-founded FTX, pleaded guilty to charges.
TURKISH NATIONAL INDICTED BY SWISS JUSTICE FOR SUPPORTING ISLAMIC MILITANTS
On 20 December, Swissinfo reported that authorities say they have indicted a Turkish national for supporting terrorist groups and depicting prohibited violence. He is also accused of producing and distributing propaganda material for the banned groups al-Qaeda and Islamic State, in particular via his own media outlet.
AUSTRALIA: WHAT DOES THE ASIC COURT ACTION AGAINST DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS OF STAR MEAN FOR BOARDS?
On 20 December, the Australian Institute of Company Directors posed this question in the light of action against 11 current or former Star Entertainment Group directors and executives for alleged breaches of their statutory duty of care and diligence by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission. ASIC allegations include that Board members approved the expansion of Star’s relationship with certain individuals with reported criminal links, rather than addressing money laundering risk by inquiring into whether Star should be dealing with them. It also alleges that Board members, when provided with information about money laundering risks affecting Star, did not take steps to make further enquiries of management about those critical risks and that this was a breach of their director duty obligations.
ALLEGED METH KINGPIN TSE CHI LOP EXTRADITED FROM NETHERLANDS TO AUSTRALIA
On 21 December, CNN reported that the alleged drug kingpin accused of running a multibillion-dollar methamphetamine empire, has been extradited to Australia following a nearly 2-year legal battle with Dutch authorities. He was arrested in 2021 at Amsterdam’s Schipol International Airport after arriving on a flight from the Taiwan.
CFATF PLENARY AND WORKING GROUP MEETINGS
On 20 December, the FATF-style regional body, CFATF, reported on its 55th Plenary, held in the Cayman Islands between 27 November and 1 December. Among the outcomes reported was that it discussed and approved the mutual evaluation reports for Suriname and Venezuela.
SHIPPING COMPANY MSC HITS BACK AT BLOOMBERG OVER ARTICLE ON DRUG SMUGGLING
On 21 December, Insurance Marine News reported that the Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) has responded angrily to an article by Bloomberg which MSC felt painted the leading container shipping company has complacent in the problem of drug smuggling from Latin America to Europe.
SWITZERLAND ADDS 8 INDIVIDUALS TO DRC SANCTIONS LIST AND AMENDS OTHER ENTRIES
On 22 December, the EU Sanctions blog reported that the Swiss had made changes to sanctions against the Democratic Republic of Congo by adding 8 individuals and modifying 9 entries.
JUST HOW RADIOACTIVE ARE LOW-YIELD NUCLEAR WEAPONS?
On 19 December, an article from The Drive asked this question, saying that Russia possesses an estimated 3,000–6,000 “low-yield” non-strategic nuclear weapons. It also notes that Russia has a nuclear doctrine that calls for escalation to the use of nuclear weapons as a means to de-escalate a conflict that Russian conventional forces are losing. The article explores how such weapons work, their likely impact, both immediate and in the longer term (it does not make happy reading…).
JUST UNDER 16,000 EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANTS ISSUED IN 2020
On 22 December, EU Observer reported that almost 16,000 European arrests warrants were issued in 2020, compared to just over 20,000 in 2019, according to a European Commission document. The warrants allow authorities in the 27 EU states to extradite people wanted for crimes where the offence carries a maximum penalty of at least 1 year in prison.
UAE CENTRAL BANK ISSUES NEW GUIDANCE ON AML/CFT FOR INSURANCE SECTOR
On 22 December, Gulf Today reported that the Central Bank has issued new guidance for the Licenced Financial Institutions (LFI) in the insurance sector comprising insurance and re-insurance companies, agents and brokers. The guidance discusses the money laundering and financing of terrorism risks relevant to life insurance and other investment-related insurance products, and how insurance operators can apply preventive measures to identify, assess, manage, and mitigate them.
DOES INTERNATIONAL LAW PROHIBIT THE FACILITATION OF MONEY LAUNDERING?
On 14 December, AML Intelligence carried an opinion piece by a lecturer at the Australian National University asking this question. This was in the light of the recent ECJ judgment that public access to beneficial ownership information in the EU was unlawful, but saying that there is an overwhelming political consensus that governments must clamp down on money laundering.