On 22 December, US Immigration & Customs Enforcement reported on a successful operation in Panama and Costa Rica in which 20 arrest warrants and 23 search warrants resulted in the arrest of 19 individuals, the seizure of several vehicles, and the rescue of 77 migrants. The individuals rescued were from various countries enroute to the US, including nationals from Colombia, Ecuador, India, Nicaragua, Sri Lanka, and Venezuela; and the arrests included 6 employees of the migration service for Panama. It is said that the operation started with information from a Panama National Police (PNP) checkpoint (which you see on occasion, and I have been through, mainly near the Costa Rican border).
23 DECEMBER 2022
NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF FINANCIAL SERVICES VIRTUAL CURRENCY GUIDANCE FOR BANKING ORGANISATIONS
On 22 December, a post from the Compliance & Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the New York University School of Law was concerned with the NYDFS having issued guidance that expands the scope of virtual currency activity for which New York banking organisations need prior approval.
THE EU STANDARD CONTRACTUAL CLAUSES (SCC) LOOMING DATA TRANSFER DEADLINE
On 20 December, an article from Mayer Brown reminded one that companies that rely on standard contractual clauses for transferring personal data from the EEA to jurisdictions not considered to offer an adequate level of data protection under the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) must ensure that none of their existing contracts use the old SCC after 27 December.
COUNTERFEITING AT THE BORDERS OF THE EU: CONTINUOUS INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF DETENTIONS
On 22 December, an article from IP Twins was concerned with the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) report entitled “EU enforcement of intellectual property rights: results at the EU border and in the EU internal market 2021”. The data collected reveals that the annual number of detentions of goods suspected of infringing an intellectual property right has increased slightly, as has that of the procedures initiated.
RUSSIA’S STATE-SPONSORED KILLERS: THE WAGNER GROUP
This Russia Analytical Digest from the Center for Security Studies at Zurich University focuses on the Wagner Group private military company. It summarises the development of Wagner since 2014/15, highlighting that it operates in coordination with Russian security agencies as a parallel or shadow army that can rarely be held accountable. It also considers how Wagner’s prominent, if not officially acknowledged, role in the offensive on Ukraine has accelerated a process of semi-privatising certain functions of state security.
CHINA’S CHIP EQUIPMENT IMPORTS PLUNGE IN NOVEMBER AS US EXPORT CONTROLS BITE
On 22 December, the Wall Street Journal reported that Chinese customers bought $2.3 billion worth of chip-making equipment in November, a drop of 40% from a year earlier, according to the country’s customs bureau. The drop followed new restrictions imposed in October on the export of advanced semiconductors and chip-manufacturing equipment to China.
ARGUMENT THAT US DoJ EFFECTIVELY DEPUTISED A TECHNOLOGY COMPANY’S LAWYERS TO CONDUCT AN INVESTIGATION INTO BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS IN INDIA
On 22 December, the Wall Street Journal reported on a court case in which 2 former executives of a New Jersey technology company Cognizant are accusing federal prosecutors of outsourcing a bribery probe, in a legal challenge that could have implications for the DoJ’s preferred approach in recent years to investigating corporate crimes. They are asking a federal judge to block evidence that they say was gathered unconstitutionally, and to consider further arguments that could lead to the case being dismissed altogether.
US: CAR MAKERS FACING SENATE INQUIRY INTO POSSIBLE LINKS TO UYGHUR FORCED LABOUR
On 22 December, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Senate Finance Committee has opened an inquiry into whether auto makers are using parts and materials made with forced labour in China’s Xinjiang region.
THEFT OF FEDERAL FUNDS HIGHLIGHTS EXPANDING CYBER THREAT FROM FOREIGN ACTORS
On 22 December, a post from the Compliance & Enforcement blog from the Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement at the New York University School of Law reported on the implications of the latest in a series of financial crimes and acts of espionage perpetrated by state-linked organisations against both private and public entities in the US. It says that the theft of US Government funds in the case is illustrative of the landscape of expanding cyber threats the American national security apparatus must navigate.
On 23 December, a newsletter from KYC 360 provided a summary of the latest news on the alleged corruption at the EU said to have been carried out by or on behalf of Qatar.
THAI PROSECUTORS INDICT US CITIZEN AND MYANMAR TYCOON AND ALLEGED ARMS DEALER ON DRUG CHARGES
On 23 December, OCCRP reported that the indictment is for their alleged roles in laundering drug money by purchasing energy from a Thai state-owned company, and sending it over the border to be sold in Myanmar. It names Thai-American Dean Gultula, and a well-connected Myanmar tycoon named Tun Min Latt. Also indicted were a Thailand-registered company connected to both men and 2 other people involved in the company. The article notes that in August, the UK imposed sanctions on Tun Min Latt’s Star Sapphire Group of Companies, saying it “has been responsible for the brokering of deals for military goods”.
ISLE OF MAN: NEW AML/CFT SECTOR REPORT – FUND SERVICES
On 23 December, the FSA advised that a new sector report, including the 2021 data, was available in respect of fund managers / administrators.
SCOTTISH COURT CLARIFIES THE DISTINCTION BETWEEN CONFIDENTIALITY AND LEGAL PRIVILEGE
On 23 December, an article from Out-Law reported that the Inner House of the Court of Session in Scotland has confirmed that a solicitor’s duty of client confidentiality can be overcome in the public interest, providing an important practical direction on the difference between confidentiality and legal professional privilege (LPP). It is said that communications can be confidential but not privileged, but they cannot be privileged and not confidential. Obligations of confidentiality may be overturned in the public interest, however privilege cannot – except in very limited circumstances such as where there is fraud or where privilege is specifically removed by statute.
WHAT IS SPOLIATION OF EVIDENCE AND WHAT TO DO?
On 22 December, an article from Control Risks posed this question, saying that key data may be obtained from a system, in part or in whole and the collection, handling, transfer and analysis of that data requires that it be free from potential spoliation issues and concerns. With the exponential increase of relevant digital evidence in modern litigation, it is imperative to understand how and when spoliation issues may be of real concern. Spoliation of evidence is the intentional or negligent alteration, hiding, withholding or destruction by a party connected to the case.
TAXATION OF THE DIGITALIZED ECONOMY
On 22 December, KPMG published the latest edition of this newsletter on direct and indirect tax information worldwide.
RUSSIA EXPLORES BUYING SOME OF THE 400 ‘STOLEN’ AIRLINERS
On 23 December, EurActiv reported that Russian airlines have held exploratory talks with at least one major Western leasing firm about using state funds to buy some of the more than 400 aircraft stranded in Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. Russia has said 78 of these aircraft were seized while abroad, meaning that well over 400 remain in Russia. The Russian proposal, which would need EU approval.
FORMER HEAD OF A MISSISSIPPI GRAIN STORAGE AND PROCESSING COMPANY IS CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING FARMERS, BANKS AND THE MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE OF TENS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS
On 23 December, the Daily Mail reported that the federal trial of John R Coleman, the former CEO of Express Grain Terminals LLC has been delayed until May. It says that court documents allege that from June 2018 to October 2022, he altered Express Grain´s audited financial statements to receive a state warehouse licence and lied about the amount of debt he owed on corn, wheat, soybeans or other crops held at the facility, and that farmers delivered grain to Express Grain throughout the 2021 harvest season but did not receive payment.
DOES THE SUPREME COURT ARGUMENT IN CIMINELLI FORESHADOW FURTHER NARROWING OF FEDERAL FRAUD STATUTES?
On 23 December, an article from Baker Hostetler says that the case seems poised to continue a trend of narrowing the scope of federal criminal fraud statutes. It concerns the “right-to-control” theory whereby a fraudulent scheme is criminal so long as the victim is deprived of “potentially valuable economic information” concerning the victim’s control of money or property. The article also says that, in recent years, the US Supreme Court has narrowed the scope of various federal criminal fraud statutes.
SPANISH POLICE ARREST NEW ZEALANDER ON FBI’S MOST WANTED LIST
On 23 December, the Guardian reported that Michael James Pratt, a New Zealand citizen, had been sentenced to life in prison in the US for sexual exploitation and sexual assault, and producing child sexual abuse images. This was the first time the arrest of an FBI most wanted individual has occurred in Spain.
THAI POLICE RAID FORMER TESCO CLOTHING SUPPLIER AT CENTRE OF SWEATSHOP CLAIMS
ON 23 December, the Guardian reported that Thai police have raided a clothing factory previously used by UK supermarket Tesco that is the subject of a UK lawsuit over alleged sweatshop conditions, raiding the VK Garment factory (VKG) in Mae Sot. Tesco faces a landmark lawsuit in the UK from 130 former VKG workers and a 7-year-old girl who was allegedly raped in factory accommodation.
MAN RAN GANG THAT SUPPLIED A TONNE OF COCAINE AND LAUNDERED £24 MILLION
On 23 December, Berkshire Live reported that a local man was part of a drugs gang that flooded the region with a tonne of cocaine and laundered £24 million. The group has now been jailed for 119 years after an investigation from South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) in the UK.