OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 2

Panama Covid-19 update – the Rt rate has crept up nationally to 0.99 (though here in the city it has fallen to 0.8). As Phase 2 of the vaccination programme begins on Thursday. there are 599 new cases today and 12 new fatalities. There are 8,048 active cases, with 170 in ICU and 1,026 in other wards.

2 MARCH 2021

COMMERCIALISING CANNABIS AND PATENT LITIGATION

On 1 March, Field Fisher released an Insight saying that there has been a significant growth in patenting in and around cannabis, for example in methods and apparatus to extract particular desired ingredients from the cannabis plant, or in relation to the use of cannabis or derivative products for the treatment of particular conditions.  The article says that so far, however, there has been very little cannabis-related patent litigation – that may be changing.  

https://www.fieldfisher.com/en/services/intellectual-property/intellectual-property-blog/commercialising-cannabis-and-patent-litigation

REPORT: BLOCKCHAIN, BITCOIN AND DIGITAL FINANCE 2021

On 18 February, JP Morgan released an 86-page report on the state of digital finance and fintech for 2021 summarising the overall growth of digital financial services such as cryptocurrency, the impact of corporate interest, and CBDC implementation.  Among other things it notes the rising global interest in CBDC testing and implementation spearheaded by China and other countries throughout Asia. 

https://www.tbstat.com/wp/uploads/2021/02/JPM_Bitcoin_Report.pdf

FORMER IMF CHIEF RATO TO STAND TRIAL IN SPAIN ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

On 1 March, Reuters reported that former IMF chief Rodrigo Rato, found guilty of embezzlement in 2018, is close to standing trial again in Spain after a court charged him with corruption, money laundering and tax dodging. 

https://www.reuters.com/article/idUSKCN2AT2SQ

CANADIAN AML REGIME AMENDMENTS AFFECT SOME VIDEO GAME AND SOCIAL MEDIA VIRTUAL CURRENCIES

On 25 February, DLA Piper published an article saying that new amendments will come into force on 1 June.  The purpose is to close loopholes found in the existing regime and to adapt to commercial realities in ‎an era of e-commerce, FinTech, and digital technology. In order to understand whether a particular provider of an interactive entertainment service or platform is operating a “money service business” it is critical to understand what types of virtual currencies will subject a provider to the changed regulations.

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2021/02/gems-coins-bells-and-bottle-caps-canadian-aml-regime-amendments-affect-some-video-game/

INDIA: OFFICIALS AND POLITICAL LEADERS ALLEGEDLY RECEIVED HUGE KICKBACKS EVEN AS THEY HELPED AN ILLEGAL COAL BUSINESS

On 2 March, The Statesman carried an article about an ongoing investigation by the CBI into a case involving illegal mining and the transport of illegal coal, and the associated kickbacks said to be involved.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/cbi-nabs-handler-coal-smuggling-racket-kingpin-1502955006.html

MYANMAR USING ISRAELI-MADE TECHNOLOGY AND VEHICLES IN CRACKDOWN

On 1 March, i24 News reported a New York Times story that Israeli-built vehicles, US software and European hardware are enabling Myanmar to crackdown on protesters.  It is said that Israel banned military sales to Myanmar in 2018, but soldiers deployed on the day of the coup appeared to be trucks produced by Israel’s Gaia Automotive Industries produced after the ban.  Weapons manufacturer Elbit Systems and digital forensics company Cellebrite are also named as providing services to the Myanmar government.

https://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/asia-pacific/1614660015-myanmar-using-israeli-made-technology-vehicles-in-crackdown

PRINCETON UNIVERSITY HAS AGREED TO PAY A FINE FOR 37 EXPORT VIOLATIONS RELATED TO CONTROLLED STRAINS AND RECOMBINANT ANIMAL PATHOGENS SENT TO FOREIGN RESEARCH FACILITIES

On 1 March, Chemistry World reported that 15 countries, including China and the UK, were involved, and that the university has settled with the US Commerce Department for $54,000 and it has also agreed to conduct external and internal audits of its compliance with regulations.

https://www.chemistryworld.com/news/princeton-fined-for-export-violations-involving-controlled-pathogens/4013318.article

HONG KONG REGULATORY ENFORCEMENT TRENDS – ANNUAL REVIEW AND LOOK AHEAD

On 2 March, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer reported on the work of the Securities and Futures Commission and Hong Kong Monetary Authority in 2020.  It also predicts some trends for the future.

https://knowledge.freshfields.com/en/Global/r/4406/hong_kong_regulatory_enforcement_trends___annual_review

UK GOVERNMENT ‘EXPECTS’ GREATER TRANSPARENCY FROM ISLE OF MAN AND CHANNEL ISLANDS BY END OF 2023

On 2 March, the Jersey Evening Post reported that, in a letter to a Parliamentary Select Committee in the UK, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said that Westminster would respect the ‘constitutional boundaries’ of the 3 islands, , and work with them as part of a global drive towards greater company-ownership transparency.  Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man are expected to have appropriate legislation ready within 2 years.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2021/03/02/uk-government-expects-greater-transparency-by-end-of-2023/

WHEN WILL HONG KONG DATA PROTECTION LAW BE UPDATED?

On 2 March, an article from Bird & Bird published article saying that a little over a year since the publication of a review paper, the proposed amendments have yet to be implemented as law.  The article takes a look at the current status of the proposed amendments and what businesses should expect.  It briefly lists the proposed amendments. 

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2021/hong-kong/when-will-the-hong-kong-data-protection-law-get-its-facelift

GANG SMUGGLING INDIAN NATIONALS BUSTED IN ROMANIA

On 2 March, a news release from Europol announced that it had supported the Romanian Police to dismantle an organised crime group involved in migrant smuggling.  The migrants were paying between €5 000 and €6 000 per person to be smuggled in lorries and vans from Romania to Germany, Italy and Portugal. A number of Indian citizens, some of them residing legally in Romania, were coordinating the criminal activities. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/gang-smuggling-indian-nationals-busted-in-romania

EU COURT: ACCESS TO TRAFFIC OR LOCATION DATA IN RESPECT OF ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATIONS, ALLOWING PRECISE CONCLUSIONS TO BE DRAWN CONCERNING A PERSON’S PRIVATE LIFE, IS PERMITTED ONLY IN ORDER TO COMBAT SERIOUS CRIME OR PREVENT SERIOUS THREATS TO PUBLIC SECURITY

A news release from the Court of Justice of the EU on 2 March was concerned with a case from Estonia ruled that access in criminal cases to a set of traffic or location data allowing precise conclusions to be drawn concerning a person’s private life, is permitted only in order to combat serious crime or prevent serious threats to public security.  In addition, it was held, EU law precludes national legislation that confers upon the public prosecutor’s office the power to authorise access of a public authority to such data for the purpose of conducting a criminal investigation.

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2021-03/cp210029en.pdf

EU COUNCIL APPROVES PROPOSAL TO STRENGTHEN THE COOPERATION OF THE EU AGENCY FOR CRIMINAL JUSTICE COOPERATION (EUROJUST) WITH NON-EU COUNTRIES

On 2 March, it was announced that the EU the Commission is to start negotiations on the exchange of information with 13 countries: Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/MEX_21_982

UK POST-BREXIT: PASSENGER PURCHASES OF ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO 

On 2 March, the House of Commons Library produced an updated briefing paper on duty-free sales to passengers on international journeys.

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/sn01223/

UN: LIBYA INTERIM PM ELECTED THROUGH BRIBERY

On 2 March, the Middle East Monitor reported that Libya’s interim prime minister was elected after bribing participants to vote in his favour, according to a UN inquiry.  He reportedly offered sums between $150,000 and $200,000 in order to attract the votes of at least 3 attendees.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210302-libya-interim-pm-elected-through-bribery-un-inquiry-says

KYRGYZSTAN: HEAD OF FINANCIAL POLICE DEPARTMENT DETAINED FOR ILLEGAL MONEY TRANSFER 

On 2 March, 24KG reported that the State Committee for National Security of Kyrgyzstan (SCNS) has detained the head of the Department of the State Service for Combatting Economic Crimes (Financial Police) for Bishkek city.

https://24.kg/english/185184_Head_of_Financial_Police_Department_detained_for_illegal_transfer_of_59_billion

UK GOVERNMENT NARROWS DEFINITIONS OF SECTORS IN SCOPE OF NEW NATIONAL SECURITY REGIME

On 2 March, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reported that the Government has published further details about the sectors within scope of the mandatory notification regime under the National Security and Investment Bill.  This follows a consultation to gather views on how the definitions of the 17 sectors in scope of mandatory notification could be refined and narrowed to ensure they are as targeted and proportionate as possible.  Many of these sectors are emerging, such as quantum technologies and synthetic biology, and are being defined for the very first time in law.  The list may be further refined following continued engagement with stakeholders in the relevant sectors as the Bill continues its passage.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-narrows-definitions-of-sectors-in-scope-of-new-national-security-regime

UK: PAYMENT SYSTEMS REGULATOR CALLS FOR VIEWS ON APP SCAMS AND CONSUMER PROTECTION IN INTERBANK PAYMENT

On 1 March, Hogan Lovells reported that the PSR seeking views on potentially far-ranging measures which aim to reduce authorised push payment (APP) fraud and improve protection for victims.  Alongside this it is looking at increasing consumer protection in interbank payments (i.e. those payments consumers make from their bank account directly to another bank account using e.g. Faster Payments).  These protections could include an industry wide reimbursement model similar to that offered to consumers under the credit regime.

https://www.engage.hoganlovells.com/knowledgeservices/viewContent.action?key=Ec8teaJ9VaqiGIUNCuNVkcxgHJMKLFEppVpbbVX%2B3OXcP3PYxlq7sZUjdbSm5FIetvAtgf1eVU8%3D&nav=FRbANEucS95NMLRN47z%2BeeOgEFCt8EGQ0qFfoEM4UR4%3D&emailtofriendview=true&freeviewlink=true

https://www.psr.org.uk/media/5yvpidyc/psr_cp21-3_app_scams_call_for_views_feb-2021.pdf

ROMANIAN-OWNED COMPANY EXPLOITING MOLDOVANS IN FRANCE

On 1 March, OCCRP reported that a Romanian-owned string of French construction companies was suspected of employing 100-500 illegal Moldovan workers.  The criminal organization allegedly took its victims’ original identification documents and replaced them with fake Romanian IDs.  This news followed arrests made in France, coordinated by Eurojust and it is said that workers were reported to have made the French minimum wage, but authorities said they worked well beyond the maximum 35 hours per week.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13959-romanian-owned-company-exploiting-moldovans-in-france

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/exploitation-construction-site-38-arrested-in-france-romania-and-moldova-for-abusing-migrant-workers

10 KEY ISSUES TO WATCH IN AFRICA IN 2021

On 1 March, Control Risks published an article saying that it had identified 10 key issues to watch in Africa in the year ahead, including elections in Ethiopia, Benin, Zambia and Gambia, and “preparations for high-profile leadership successions” in Kenya and Nigeria.  It highlights Covid-19 and vaccination, digital acceleration and threats.  It also refers to theAfrican Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which came into force on 1 January, bringing together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc – set to become the world’s largest free trade area since the establishment of the WTO in 1995. 

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/ten-key-issues-to-watch-in-africa-in-2021

FRENCH GUIANA’S UNPATROLLED WATERS LURE ILLEGAL FISHING CREWS

On 1 March, Insight Crime reported that illegal fishing off the coast of French Guiana surged amid the COVID-19 pandemic, as French maritime patrols struggled to mobilise resources, luring illegal fishing crews to the country’s pristine waters.  Nearly 20 tons of fish have been seized from illegal fishing vessels since the start of the year.  The combination of scheduled repairs and the COVID-19 pandemic allowed fishermen to target the relatively pristine waters of French Guiana.

https://insightcrime.org/news/french-guiana-waters-lure-illegal-fishing-crews/

4 KEY TAKEAWAYS FROM THE “ROMANIAN MAFIA” IN MEXICO

On 1 March, an article in Insight Crime examined a criminal group, led by Romanians based in Mexico and which specialised in ATM skimming and credit card fraud   Inquiries have continued to uncover fascinating details about how the group operated, including a network of political alliances.  It is said that federal authorities have announced suspected links between Florian Tudor, alias “El Tiburón” (The Shark), the gang’s Romanian leader, and a broad protection ring of Mexican politicians, including former governors of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo, national lawmakers and local mayors of towns near Cancún.

https://insightcrime.org/news/romanian-mafia-atm-skimming-mexico/

BELIZE OFFICIALS AND POLICE HELP HIDE DRUG PLANES

On 1 March, Insight Crime reported that Belize is grappling with reports that corrupt officials have been facilitating the nation’s use as a transit point for cocaine.  Already this year, the driver of the commander of Belize’s defence force, was arrested along with 2 police officers after trying to flee the site where a plane carrying cocaine had landed – said to be among 9 suspects arrested while attempting to flee the illicit landing site in a boat.  Authorities in Belize have been making frequent attempts to intercept such aircraft, and the US classes Belize as a “major transit country for drugs coming from South America”, recognising the nation as vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers due to its central location, porous borders and sparsely populated landscape.

https://insightcrime.org/news/drug-planes-descend-belize-police-military-officials-arrested/

FUTURE UK FINTECH STRATEGY PUBLISHED IN KALIFA REVIEW

On 2 March, CMS law reported that, following the 2020 Budget, the Chancellor asked Ron Kalifa OBE to carry out an independent review of the UK’s fintech sector to establish priority areas for industry, policy makers, and regulators.  This has now been published.  It sets out the key threats and opportunities and proposes the creation of a Centre for Finance, Innovation, and Technology (CFIT). 

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2021/03/future-uk-fintech-strategy-published-in-kalifa-review

PURPORTED UZBEK CRIME BOSS TAKES FAMILY FEUD TO SOCIAL MEDIA

On 1 March, Rferl reported that a reputed crime boss from Uzbekistan has spoken out on social media about a violent family feud that involves the former head of international amateur boxing who is reputed to be one of the world’s leading drug kingpins.  Ravshan “Zolotoi” (Golden) Muhiddinov posted a 12-minute video on Instagram.  The dispute is with his uncle, Gafur Rakhimov, who headed the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and has been named by the US as a leading international heroin trafficker.

https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbek-crime-boss-family-feud-social-media-rakhimov-muhiddinov/31128184.html

SWITZERLAND – INADEQUATE TRANSPARENCY, ENFORCEMENT AND LEGISLATION

Transparency International in Switzerland has published a 57-page report which sets out to provide a detailed analysis of the current legislation and practice in the field of corporate criminal law, including the applicable criminal proceedings.  In addition, it examines the respective corporate criminal law of the neighbouring countries, the UK and the OECD, as well as experiences from antitrust law, which provides mechanisms that are also relevant in the field of corporate criminal law.  The report shows that there is a need for improvement in all areas and Transparency Switzerland presents 10 requirements, along with specific suggestions.

https://transparency.ch/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Corporate_Criminal_Liability_Report.pdf

OFFSHORE JURISDICTIONS WITH AIRCRAFT AND SHIPPING DATA

On 1 March, Sayari provided a list, with links of offshore jurisdictions which provide readily searchable aircraft registries – the article pointing out that use and ownership of aircraft is often linked to shell companies and assets owned and used by those evading taxes and scrutiny.

https://sayari.com/blog/tax-havens-offshores-public-registries-network-analysis-can-mitigate-jurisdictional-challenges-to-kyc-investigations/

ICELANDIC CRIMINAL GROUPS ACTIVE ABROAD

On 1 March, the Iceland Monitor reported that the activities of Icelandic criminal groups abroad are much more extensive than you might conclude, and they known to be active in Spain, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Denmark and South America.  Their main activity centres around illegal drugs, but they are involved, too, in fraudulent activity, such as money laundering. 

https://icelandmonitor.mbl.is/news/news/2021/03/01/icelandic_criminal_groups_active_abroad/

ROMANIAN POLITICIAN AND EX-PRESIDENT’S DAUGHTER GET JAIL TERMS FOR CORRUPTION

On 2 March, Reuters reported that a Romanian court has sentenced a former government minister as well as the daughter of former president Traian Basescu to jail for money laundering and instigating others to take bribes in a 2009 presidential campaign financing case.  Ioana Basescu, a public notary, received a 5-year prison sentence; and Elena Udrea, a former centre-right minister, lawmaker and close political ally of former president Basescu was handed an 8-year prison term.  The verdicts are not final and are subject to appeal.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-romania-corruption/romanian-politician-and-ex-presidents-daughter-get-jail-terms-for-corruption-idUSKCN2AU1EI?rpc=401&

JERSEY: CHANGES TO AML/CFT HANDBOOK ON CDD LEGAL PERSONS AND ARRANGEMENTS

On 2 March, Comsure Compliance in Jersey reported that the Jersey FSC is making changes to the AML/CFT Handbooks to comply with FATF Recommendations and following industry feedback to a consultation.  These changes will come into effect on 31 May.  Involving CDD and certain legal persons and arrangements, the changes are intended to demonstrate full implementation with FATF standards.  The article details where the changes are being made.

https://www.comsuregroup.com/news/jfsc-changes-to-amlcft-handbook-on-cdd-legal-persons-and-arrangements/

US POSTAL SERVICE (USPS) IS LOOKING TO BROADEN ITS OPTIONS OF SHIPPING PARCELS TO INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS WITH PRIVATE PROVIDERS

On 2 March, Loadstar reported that USPS has invited public comment on a preliminary proposal to partner with private commercial services for final-mile delivery of its outbound parcel shipments; but is also reportedly planning to scale back its first-class mail service.  A plan allegedly calls for an end of shipping first-class mail by airfreight. Instead, it will move on trucks, often involving a relay of distribution depots, and this would hit FedEx, which has held the USPS ‘Air Cargo Network’ contract since 2013, and it was extended last year to September 2024.

https://theloadstar.com/us-postal-service-eyes-partnerships-with-private-services-for-parcel-exports/

THE US ENTITY LIST: LIMITS ON AMERICAN EXPORTS

In February, a Paper from the Belfer Center says that the US Government is increasingly relying on export controls to restrict foreign companies from accessing critical made-in-America components.  Within the Commerce Department, the Bureau of Industry Security (BIS) maintains the “Entity List” of blacklisted firms under export control restrictions.  In the last 10 years the Entity List has increased 9-fold to nearly 1,200 entities, as hundreds of companies from China’s Huawei to Russia’s Gazprom join the ranks of foreign firms prohibited from receiving US exports. The Paper reports on a first-of-its-kind analysis of the makeup of the Commerce Department’s Entity List, by country, by sector, and by year of addition

https://www.belfercenter.org/publication/united-states-entity-list-limits-american-exports

US FEDERAL FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS EXAMINATION COUNCIL UPDATES BANK SECRECY ACT / AML EXAMINATION MANUAL

On 1 March, an article from Cadwalader Cabinet reported that the FFIEC had updated its BSA/AML Examination Manual which provides guidance to examiners for evaluating an institution’s BSA/AML compliance program and compliance with related regulatory requirements.  The updates are said to bolster its risk-focused approach toward BSA/AML examinations and provide examiners with updated information concerning transaction testing. 

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/03/01/2021/ffiec-updates-bank-secrecy-act/aml-examination-manual

THE EVOLUTION OF THE BOOGALOO MOVEMENT

On 26 February, Homeland Security Today reported that January 2021 marked 1 year of overt, offline Boogaloo movement activity in the US by the movement’s members, often referred to as the “Boogaloo Bois”.  Derived from an article in the CTC Sentinel, it says that the rapid evolution of the Boogaloo from niche internet forum meme to mainstream mobilisation narrative in hardened violent extremist milieus suggests it presents a unique security challenge for both social media companies and US law enforcement agencies going forward.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/the-evolution-of-the-boogaloo-movement/

https://ctc.usma.edu/the-evolution-of-the-boogaloo-movement/

US NATIONAL SECURITY COMMISSION ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (NSCAI) RECOMMENDATIONS ON US CONTROLS ON EXPORTS OF SEMICONDUCTOR TECHNOLOGY TO CHINA

A final report to the US Congress from the NSCAI calls for coordinated export controls on advanced semiconductor manufacturing equipment with other states; a policy of presumptive denial of licences for exports of such equipment to China; and targeted end-use export controls and reporting requirements to prevent the use of AI chips and equipment that enable human rights violations.

https://www.nscai.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Full-Report-Digital-1.pdf

NEARLY 100 ON TRIAL IN SICILY FOR SUSPECTED MAFIA EU FRAUD

On 2 March, the Daily Mail reported that a trial has begun in Sicily for 97 suspected Mafia members and white-collar professionals allegedly in cahoots with mobsters in what prosecutors contend was a scheme that fraudulently garnered millions of euros in EU agriculture funds.  Prosecutors alleged that local Cosa Nostra clans, with the aid of complicit notaries and bureaucrats handling the paperwork, managed to gain €10 million in EU aid starting in 2013 for a sprawling area of grazing land in a park in eastern Sicily.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-9318429/Nearly-100-trial-Sicily-suspected-Mafia-EU-fraud.html

SEC CLAIMS $45 “PUMP & DUMP” MILLION FRAUD TIED TO AIRBORNE WIRELESS STOCK

On 2 March, Bloomberg reported that the SEC is suing the company and the California man it claims secretly controlled the company – Kalistratos “Kelly” Kabilafkas, 45 – in a $45 million pump-and-dump scheme.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-03-02/sec-claims-45-million-fraud-tied-to-airborne-wireless-shares

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-charges-seven-individuals-for-45-million-fraudulent-scheme/

UKRAINE: MINISTRY OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS, WITHOUT WARNING OR ANNOUNCEMENTS, HAS DISBANDED THE ENTIRE ARMS CONTROL SERVICE THAT ISSUED DOCUMENTS FOR WEAPONS IN UKRAINE

On 2 March, 112 UA reported that the Head of the National Police has said that reports of corruption schemes began to come from the regions during an inspection by the Department of Internal Security. Inspection of the work of arms control units lasted 6 months.

https://112.international/ukraine-top-news/arms-control-service-disbanded-in-ukraine-what-does-it-mean-59444.html

NIGERIA: DUTCH COUPLE, COMPANY ARRAIGNED FOR $330,000 OIL VESSEL FRAUD

On 2 March, PM News Nigeria reported that a Dutch couple, Peiter Borremans and Nkechi Borremans alongside Lagon Trade Limited have been arraigned before the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, for suspected fraudulent dealings involving a marine tanker vessel.

https://www.pmnewsnigeria.com/2021/03/02/dutch-couple-company-arraigned-for-330000-oil-vessel-fraud

2 MEN CHARGED IN MIAMI IN ECUADORIAN BRIBERY AND MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME INVOLVING POLICE PENSION FUND

A US DoJ news release on 2 March announced that 2 Ecuadorian citizens have been indicted for their alleged roles in a bribery and money laundering scheme involving Ecuador’s public police pension fund (ISSPOL).  John Luzuriaga Aguinaga, 52, and Jorge Cherrez Miño, 46, were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering. It is alleged that between approximately 2014 and 2020, Cherrez, an investment advisor, paid more than $2.6 million in bribes to ISSPOL officials, including at least approximately $1,397,066 to Luzuriaga, ISSPOL’s Risk Director and a member of ISSPOL’s Investment Committee, in order to obtain and retain investment business from ISSPOL.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-men-charged-ecuadorian-bribery-and-money-laundering-scheme

MEXICAN JUDGE ORDERS ARREST OF FORMER GOVERNOR AND HIS DAUGHTER ‘WITH LINKS TO DRUG CARTEL’ OVER MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

On 2 March, the Daily Mail reported an arrest warrant for Roberto Sandoval, the former governor of the state of Nayarit, and another for his daughter, Lidy Sandoval.  He reportedly had links to the JNGC cartel and purchased real estate with illicit money and then placed the properties under the name of his family, including his daughter.  He and his family were sanctioned by OFAC in May 2019.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9317893/Mexican-authorities-issue-arrest-warrant-former-governor.html

AN AFGHAN PARLIAMENTARIAN AND THE MYSTERIOUS STASH OF CASH, GOLD BARS SEIZED AT THE DUSHANBE AIRPORT

On 2 March, Rferl carried an article about $15 million in cash and some 90 kg of gold bars seized from smugglers at the Dushanbe airport, Tajikistan in November.  Mohammad Mirza Katawazai, the deputy chairman of the Afghan parliament, angrily rejects the claim by Afghan media that he is linked to the cash and gold.

https://www.rferl.org/a/katawazai-afghanistan-tajikistan-smuggling-cash-gold/31130013.html

LACK OF INTERNATIONAL ACTION LET PIRACY “BREED” IN GULF OF GUINEA

On 1 March, Insurance Marine News carried an article saying that shipping security business Dryad Global has claimed that the international community has acted too slowly in its response to the rapid increase in the level of piracy in the Gulf of Guinea, based around kidnapping of crew.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/lack-of-international-action-let-piracy-breed-in-gulf-of-guinea-says-dryad/

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

US STATE DEPARTMENT AND OFAC DESIGNATE 7 RUSSIANS FOR THEIR PART IN THE POISONING AND IMPRISONMENT OF ALEXEI NAVALNY, AND ADDS 14 ENTITIES TO ENTITY LIST FOR INVOLVEMENT IN PROLIFERATION AND CHEMICAL WEAPONS ACTIVITIES

On 2 March a news release from the US State Department advised that the  US had joined with the EU in condemning and responding to the Russian Federation’s use of a chemical weapon in the attempted assassination of Russian opposition figure Aleksey Navalny in August 2020 and his subsequent imprisonment in January 2021.  OFGAC is designating 7 Russian government officials, 5 of whom were previously designated by the EU and UK for their role in Navalny’s poisoning and 2 whom the EU designated in response to Mr. Navalny’s arrest and imprisonment.  The Department of Commerce is adding 14 entities to the Entity List based on their proliferation activities in support of Russia’s WMD programmes and chemical weapons activities.

https://www.state.gov/imposing-sanctions-on-russia-for-the-poisoning-and-imprisonment-of-aleksey-navalny/

https://www.state.gov/u-s-sanctions-and-other-measures-imposed-on-russia-in-response-to-russias-use-of-chemical-weapons/

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0045

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

EU DESIGNATES 4 RUSSIAN OFFICIALS FOR SERIOUS HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS LINKED TO ALEXEI NAVALNY

EU Regulation 2021/371/EU designates Alexander Bastrykin, Head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Igor Krasnov, the Prosecutor-General, Viktor Zolotov, Head of the National Guard, and Alexander Kalashnikov, Head of the Federal Prison Service for their roles in the arbitrary arrest, prosecution and sentencing of Navalny, as well as the repression of peaceful protests in connection with his unlawful treatment.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/03/02/global-human-rights-sanctions-regime-eu-sanctions-four-people-responsible-for-serious-human-rights-violations-in-russia

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.LI.2021.071.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2021%3A071I%3ATOC

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OFAC SANCTIONS CHANGES – YEMEN, UKRAINE/RUSSIA ETC – PLUS CYBER-RELATED SANCTIONS GENERAL LICENSE AND FAQ

A news release from OFAC on 2 March advised that new General License 18 (Authorizing Certain Transactions with the Federal Security Service of Russia) had been issued, alongside 3 new FAQ.  9 individuals and 3 entities had been added to sanctions lists, and the entries relating to  2 individuals and 2 entities (the Russian security services FSS and GRU) have been amended.

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210302

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

US 2021 INTERNATIONAL NARCOTICS CONTROL STRATEGY REPORT (INCSR)

On 2 March, the US State Department announced that the 2021 editions of this 2-volume report had been released.  An annual report by the Department for the US Congress, it describes the efforts of key countries to attack all aspects of the international drug trade in Calendar Year 2020.  Volume I is concerned with drug and chemical control activities and Volume II covers money laundering and financial crimes.

https://www.state.gov/2021-international-narcotics-control-strategy-report/

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

US: 8 CHARGED IN $350 MILLION ‘FAKE AIRPORT’ AIRCRAFT REGISTRATION DRUG CASE

On 1 March, OCCRP reported that a federal grand jury in Texas has indicted 8 alleged members of a conspiracy to illegally register thousands of aircraft at an entirely fictional airport, some of which were later used by international narco-trafficking groups to smuggle drugs into the US.  It is claimed that these illegally-registered aircrafts were subsequently used by organized criminals from Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico, to smuggle multi-ton quantities of cocaine into the US.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/13956-cocaine-trails-u-s-charges-eight-in-350m-fake-airport-drug-case

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

UK ADDS 3 NAMES TO SOMALIA SANCTIONS LIST

On 2 March, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that 3 names had been added to sanctions lists

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/965813/Notice_Somalia_020321.pdf

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

NORWICH PHARMACAL ORDER (NPO) HELP SHEET

On 2 March, Professional Security Magazine reported that the UK Fraud Advisory panel had produced a 2-page briefing paper on the use of NPO.  An NPO is a civil disclosure court order available in England and Wales and allows information to be obtained from third parties who have become involved in wrongdoing; and are intended to help victims to investigate, pursue those ultimately responsible and recover their losses. 

https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/case-studies/norwich-pharmacal-order-help-sheet/

The helpsheet is at –

https://359zpa2vui8h3p4u7j2qlmlg-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Norwich-Pharmacal-Orders-1st-ed-Mar21.pdf

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

STRUGGLING FinCEN REQUIRES REFORM

On 1 March, ICIJ reported that the US must remake the federal agency at the centre of the fight, according to a new report that draws on the views of top AML experts.  It is said to be underfunded and overstretched in its role as a leading player in the global effort to catch money launderers and other sophisticated financial criminals who use shell companies, cryptocurrencies and other tools to hide their activities.  The report urges the government to boost FinCEN’s funding and to embrace fundamental changes in how the agency operates, and to develop new ways to use data and cutting-edge technology to fight financial crime.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/fincen-files/major-reforms-needed-at-struggling-us-agency-that-leads-dirty-money-fight-report-says/

The Global Financial Integrity report is at –

https://gfintegrity.org/report/enhancing-national-security-by-reimagining-fincen/

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MARCH 1

Panama Covid-19 update – another 505 new cases today and 13 more fatalities. There are now said to be 8,245 active cases, with 166 in ICU and 1,036 in other wards.

1 March 2021

SUSPICIONS OF SECURITIES SCANDALS STAND OUT IN CHINESE MARKET

On 1 March, Nikkei Asia reported that China’s stock market has been hit by a string of cases of trading irregularities involving members of the party and state elite.  It says that one recent share trading scheme that has drawn a storm of criticism on the Internet involves Chinese miner Tianqi Lithium and Chengdu Tianqi Industry Group, an investment vehicle for Tianqi Lithium Chairman Jiang Weiping, the mining group’s substantial shareholder.  There has also been a plethora of stock trading scandals involving state-owned enterprises, and the number of stock trading violations is likely to continue rising as long as the party and the government control businesses and monopolize information.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Comment/Suspicions-of-securities-scandals-stand-out-in-Chinese-market

US ENERGY COMPANY’S INVOLVEMENT IN PROJECTS IMPACTED BY US SANCTIONS IS UNDER INVESTIGATION

On 1 March, the Wall Street Journal reported that Baker Hughes says it faces sanctions-related SEC probe.  The Texas-based company said it has told the SEC that it was notified in December that the regulator is conducting a formal investigation related to the company’s books and records and internal controls concerning sales of products and services in projects affected by U.S. economic sanctions.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/baker-hughes-says-it-faces-sanctions-related-sec-probe-11614365789

US: MORE THAN 460,000 COUNTERFEIT N-95 MASKS SEIZED EN ROUTE TO FIRST RESPONDERS

A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised that more than 460,000 counterfeit 3M N95 surgical masks destined to be used by first responders in the Puget Sound region were seized by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)’s Border Enforcement Security Taskforce (BEST), US Customs and Border Protection and the FBI.  In the last several weeks, HSI has conducted enforcement actions across the country that have resulted in the seizure of almost 10 million counterfeit 3M N95 respirators.  Since December of 2020, HSI has initiated over a dozen criminal investigations, across the U.S. and overseas, based on information received from 3M, about millions of counterfeit N95 respirator masks being sold to medical facilities and government agencies for use by hospital workers, first responders and others all over the country. 

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/hsi-fbi-cbp-seize-more-460000-counterfeit-n-95-masks-en-route-first-responders

NEW ZEALAND’S PROPERTY BROKERS GETS AML WARNING

On 28 February, the New Zealand Herald reported that a national 80-branch real estate agency called Property Brokers has received the first formal warning in the real estate sector for not complying with AML law but its chairman said the state only was trying to make an example of them.  An official is quoted as saying that inspection of Property Brokers highlighted concerns. 

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/new-zealands-property-brokers-gets-anti-money-laundering-warning/

https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/124394386/first-real-estate-agency-warned-for-antimoney-laundering-failures

REVEALING THE DUBIOUS LINKS OF AN AUSTRALIAN COMPANY IN TROUBLED MYANMAR

On 1 March, the Sydney Morning Herald reported on a a small Australian listed mining company, Myanmar Metals.  Its prized asset is the Bawdwin mine. Before World War 2 it was one of the biggest in the world and former US president Herbert Hoover made his fortune there.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/revealing-the-dubious-links-of-an-australian-company-in-troubled-myanmar/

INDIA: SERIOUS FRAUD INVESTIGATION OFFICE

On 24 February, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas produced a profile of the SFIO, established in 2003 under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs for investigation and prosecution of white-collar crimes.  It examined certain aspects relating to the powers and functions of the SFIO. 

https://corporate.cyrilamarchandblogs.com/2021/02/serious-fraud-investigation-office-keeping-a-close-watch-on-frauds-in-india-inc/

ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS 1 NEW NAME ON YEMEN SANCTIONS LIST

A news release from the Isle of Man confirmed that Sultan Saleh Aida Aida ZABIN, Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in Sanaa, had been added to the Yemen sanctions list.

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/mar/01/financial-sanctions-yemen/

LARGE-SCALE POULTRY SMUGGLING UNDERMINES PARAGUAY PRODUCERS

On 1 March, Poultry World reported that, according to unofficial data, the equivalent of 30% of the entire poultry production in Paraguay is smuggled into the country, representing more than 2,000 tonnes per month, according to local newspaper La Nación.  Another source says that the smuggling of eggs could be close to 3,000 dozen per day, causing a loss of approximately $1.4 million per year.  The smuggling of agricultural produce is nothing new and has been an issue for decades. However, it has got worse in the last year.  The sector’s representatives have warned about the consequences of the illegal distribution, as the health risk due to inadequate transportation is high, and the lack of cooling and control threatens consumer health.

https://www.poultryworld.net/Meat/Articles/2021/3/Large-scale-poultry-smuggling-undermines-Paraguay-producers-715467E/

2 WORKERS OF UKRAINE’S EMBASSY CAUGHT RED-HANDED WHILE SMUGGLING AT POLISH BORDER

On 1 March, UNIAN reported that 2 employees of the Ukrainian Embassy in Poland have been caught red-handed at the border while trying to smuggle foreign currency, gold and cigarettes into that country.

https://www.unian.info/society/smuggling-two-workers-of-ukraine-s-embassy-caught-red-handed-at-polish-border-11337641.html

AUSTRALIA: THE LAW ON MONEY LAUNDERING VIA BITCOIN

On 27 February, an article from Criminal Defence Lawyers Australia follows a case in which a man from Sydney is accused of running a criminal syndicate that laundered money via Bitcoin after he was arrested after police allegedly discovered $1million worth of cash inside his car.

https://www.criminaldefencelawyers.com.au/blog/the-law-on-money-laundering-via-bitcoin/

COVID-19 AND PEOPLE WHO USE DRUGS’

On 1 March, the Council of Europe reported the publication by the Pompidou Group and which presents experiences and responses to the Covid-19 pandemic by frontline workers on the one hand, and people who use drugs on the other. It builds on practice examples from 21 countries submitted to the Pompidou Group. 

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/new-publication-from-pompidou-group-covid-19-and-people-who-use-drugs-

IRELAND: MORE THAN 3,000 CASES OF SUSPECTED PASSPORT FRAUD

On 1 March, the Irish Examiner reported that almost 3,200 cases of suspected passport fraud have been investigated by the Passport Service over the last 3 years.  184 separate cases were passed on to An Garda Síochána for investigation, the Passport Service has said, and 229 passports were cancelled as a result of suspected fraud.  However, suspicious activity related to passports showed a sharp drop last year with the number of cases investigated dropping from 1,644 in 2019 to 1,033 in 2020.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/arid-40235537.html

ANTI-CORRUPTION NGO SLAMS ‘WEAK’ SWISS CORPORATE CRIME LAWS

On 1 March, Swissinfo reported that too few Swiss companies are made to answer for corruption or money laundering offences, exposing gaps in current legislation, says the Swiss chapter of campaigning NGO Transparency International.  This is despite the law being changed in Switzerland in 2003 to make firms criminally liable if they fail to take reasonable steps to prevent serious crimes. 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/latest-news/anti-corruption-ngo-slams–weak–swiss-corporate-crime-laws/46409562

UK: INTRODUCTION AND THE IMPORT OF CULTURAL GOODS (REVOCATION) REGULATIONS 2021

On 1 March, the Department of International Trade advised that these Regulations revoke those parts of EU Regulation 2019/880 on the introduction and the import of cultural goods as form part of direct EU legislation.  These Regulations do not affect the continued application of that EU Regulation in respect of Northern Ireland.  It is said that revoking the general prohibition provision will not adversely affect our ability to prevent unlawfully removed cultural goods being brought into the UK. 

https://www.gov.uk/eu-withdrawal-act-2018-statutory-instruments/the-introduction-and-the-import-of-cultural-goods-revocation-regulations-2021

BARCELONA FC ISSUES STATEMENT AFTER POLICE RAID AND ARRESTS IN CORRUPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 1 March, the Mirror in the UK reported that the club’s finance, legal and compliance departments are investigated over the BarcaGate scandal.  It is reported that it is understood that former president Josep Maria Bartomeu, current CEO Oscar Grau, Roman Gómez Ponti, the club’s head of legal, and Jaume Masferrer, Bartomeu’s former right-hand man, have all been arrested. The arrests are said to be on suspicion of “unfair administration, corruption between individuals and money laundering” after paying money in instalments to avoid internal financial controls.

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/breaking-barcelona-statement-bartomeu-arrest-23585889

APPLE’S FULL ANTI-CORRUPTION POLICY

On 1 March, the always useful FCPA Blog reproduced the company’s anti-corruption policy includes some interesting details.

https://fcpablog.com/2021/03/01/benchmarking-alert-heres-apples-full-anti-corruption-policy/

FOREIGN INVESTMENT REGIMES: 3 THINGS THE WEST NEEDS TO BETTER PROTECT NATIONAL SECURITY

On 1 March, the LSE Blog says that that consistent rules, open lines of communication, and institutional capacity are all needed to have an effective transatlantic coordination regime on FDI and national security that fully addresses the risks posed by strategic foreign investments from China, Russia, and beyond. 

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2021/03/01/foreign-investment-regimes-three-things-the-west-needs-to-better-protect-national-security/

SHIFTING COCAINE ROUTES TURN US ALLY PARAGUAY INTO MAIN TRANSIT COUNTRY

On 26 February, an article from the US Foundation for the Defense of Democracies says that Paraguay has no domestic coca cultivation, but in recent years it has increasingly become an important transit country for cocaine. It also says that recently authorities seized 50 canisters of chemical precursors needed to refine cocaine. This suggests that cartels are setting up local processing labs to bolster Paraguay’s role as a new narcotics hub in the region.  It also mentions that Hezbollah has had a presence on the Paraguayan border for at least 2 years.  It says that Paraguay has traditionally been a staunch US ally in the region. Despite its widespread corruption, Paraguay’s relatively low levels of violent crime and drug trafficking have made its economy and political system among the most stable in an otherwise turbulent region. All this is changing dramatically as crime syndicates and terror finance networks turn Paraguay into a new logistical hub for bulk shipments of cocaine.

https://www.fdd.org/analysis/2021/02/26/cocaine-routes-paraguay-transit-country/

RANSOMWARE GANG HACKS ECUADOR’S LARGEST PRIVATE BANK

On 26 February, the Bleeping Computer website reported that a hacking group called ‘Hotarus Corp’ has hacked Ecuador’s Ministry of Finance and the country’s largest bank, Banco Pichincha, where they claim to have stolen internal data.

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/ransomware-gang-hacks-ecuadors-largest-private-bank-ministry-of-finance/

DEEPFAKE VIDEOS OF TOM CRUISE SHOW THAT THE TECHNOLOGY THREAT TO SOCIETY IS VERY REAL

An article from Input says that deepfake videos of actor Tom Cruise have made their way onto TikTok and look real. 

https://www.inputmag.com/tech/deepfake-videos-of-tom-cruise-show-just-fast-its-improving

BILLIONS OF CIGARETTES, MOST MADE BY BAT, ARE SMUGGLED NORTH THROUGH MALI EVERY YEAR ON THEIR WAY TO THE GREY MARKETS OF THE SAHEL AND NORTHERN AFRICA

An article from OCCRP on 26 February says that  profits of cigarette smuggling fuel the bloody struggle between jihadists, armed militias, and corrupt military officers that has turned northern Mali into a lawless warzone.  It alleges that BAT started to oversupply Mali, knowing its product would be fodder for traffickers.

https://www.occrp.org/en/loosetobacco/british-american-tobacco-fights-dirty-in-west-africa

PHILIPPINES: PHLPOST TIGHTENS SECURITY MEASURES FOLLOWING DRUGS HAUL

On 1 March, Parcel & Post Technology reported that the Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) says it is to implement more stringent security measures following the seizure of approximately $100,000 worth of drugs at the Manila Central Post Office.  Authorities apprehended a person in the act of claiming a parcel containing the alleged ecstasy, or “party drugs”, at the Manila Central Post Office Parcel Division. 

https://www.parcelandpostaltechnologyinternational.com/news/cross-border/phlpost-tightens-security-measures-following-drugs-haul.html

THOUSANDS OF NORTH KOREANS LEFT RUSSIA IN 2020 WHILE NEW VISAS DROPPED BY 52%

On 1 March, NK Pro reported that new government data suggests that 14,000 North Koreans left Russia last year while about 1,800 entered the country.  It is reported that the number of North Koreans who received Russian visas dropped by 52% between 2019 and 2020, with thousands leaving the country last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/thousands-of-north-koreans-left-russia-in-2020-while-new-visas-dropped-by-52/

BRAZIL’S ARMS EXPORTS

This paper from the Journal of Global Security Studies on 25 February studies a campaign and network led by the civil society group Viva Rio, which led to the introduction of a stricter policy on arms sales to most Latin American and Caribbean countries.  These findings imply that democratisation in Brazil had both short- and long-term effects on arms transfers and that democratic institutions can influence state behaviour regarding arms transfers even in countries with little tradition of civil society groups working with arms control.

https://academic.oup.com/jogss/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/jogss/ogab002/6149931?redirectedFrom=fulltext

UNFINISHED BUSINESS: MAGUFULI’S AUTOCRATIC RULE IN TANZANIA

On 5 February, the Center for Strategic and International Studies published an article saying that Tanzanian president John Magufuli is dragging the nation deeper into authoritarianism.  It says that his second term, emboldened by his October 2020 re-election against a backdrop of voter suppression, portends a tightened grip on information, increased alienation of foreign businesses, and a deepened isolationist stance, especially as Magufuli casts doubt on the efficacy of the Covid-19 vaccine.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/unfinished-business-magufulis-autocratic-rule-tanzania

ORGANISED CRIME IN SOUTH-EASTERN EUROPE,

On 25 February, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published its latest bulletin looking at a hotspot of organised crime – Novi Pazar in southern Serbia. Then it looks at the production and use of synthetic drugs in the Western Balkans, particularly in Serbia and North Macedonia; before moving on to focus on recent cases of smuggling of migrants off the coast of Albania and Montenegro.  It is said that a spate of violent incidents has put Novi Pazar in southern Serbia back on the map as a hotspot of organised crime.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/seeobs-risk-bulletin-5/

SOUTH AFRICA AND KENYA – HOW POLITICAL SHIFTS ARE SHAPING, AND BEING SHAPED BY, CRIMINAL NETWORKS

On 10 February, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published a bulletin which looks at Durban’s heroin market.  It then looks at illegal markets in Kenya that have a direct impact on the environment.  The business of waste in Nairobi has become big business for criminal groups with connections to the city’s government.  The analysis highlights how provision of services in cities can be subverted by criminal groups and corrupt officials.  It also looks at ongoing criminality in Kenya’s charcoal industry, which is a major contributor to deforestation in the region.  Finally, the bulletin reports on ongoing corruption and mismanagement at South Africa’s Central Firearms Registry, where corrupt officers working in the firearms registry have been able to facilitate firearms licences being issued to gangsters.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/esaobs-risk-bulletin-15/

UN ADDS 3 SENIOR MEMBERS OF AL-SHABAAB TO ITS SOMALIA SANCTIONS LIST

On 26 February, a news release from the UN advised that 3 persons had been added to its sanctions lists – Ali Adan Abukar, Al-Shabaab’s deputy leader; Ayman Maalim, the founder and leader of Jaysh Ayman, an Al-Shabaab unit that operates in and conducts attacks in Kenya and Somalia; and Karate Mahad, who is said to have played a key role in the Amniyat, Al-Shabaab’s intelligence wing.

https://www.un.org/press/en/2021/sc14455.doc.htm

INSIDER THREAT: US GAO WEIGHS ON AIRPORT WORKER SCREENING

On 27 February, Homeland Security Today reported that 1.8 million US airport workers have unescorted access to restricted areas, posing a potential insider threat.  The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has sought to mitigate such insider threats by conducting random physical screening of airport workers at mostly larger airports from 2007 to 2020, and at all TSA-regulated airports since 2020, and by requiring most airport operators to perform random worker screening, among other efforts.  The US Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) has now produced a report on TSA’s efforts.  The report makes recommendations for how the TSA can improve its guidance and systems.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/airport-aviation-security/gao-weighs-in-on-airport-worker-screening/

The GAO report is at –

https://www.gao.gov/assets/720/712595.pdf

PODCAST: IMPLICATIONS OF BRAZIL’S “CAR WASH” INVESTIGATION FOR GLOBAL ANTI-CORRUPTION ENFORCEMENT

On 26 February, Cadwalader Cabinet released its latest LawWise podcast which discusses the legacy of the Brazilian “Car Wash” investigation and consider how Brazil fits into the increasingly global landscape of white-collar crime enforcement.

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/02/26/2021/attorneys-consider-implications-brazils-car-wash-investigation-global-anti-corruption-enforcement

SEIZED IN US: FOURTH DOMAIN NAME PURPORTING TO BE THE WEBSITE OF A COMPANY PRODUCING A TREATMENT FOR COVID-19

A news release from the US DoJ on 1 March advised that a fourth domain name seized in less than 3 months that used similar names, trademarked logos, and graphics of actual companies to create fraudulent websites in order to obtain personal information of victims and illegally profit from the pandemic.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/pr/maryland-us-attorney-s-office-seizes-fourth-domain-name-purporting-be-website-company

NORTHERN IRELAND: 14 CARS WORTH UP TO £750,000 SEIZED BY POLICE INVESTIGATING ORGANISED CRIME GANGS

On 1 March, UTV reported that 14 cars valued between £500,000 and £750,000 have been seized by the PSNI Organised Crime Branch – many of them were high-end vehicles.

https://www.itv.com/news/utv/2021-03-01/cars-worth-up-to-750000-seized-in-newry-by-police-investigating-organised-crime-gangs

4 PEOPLE ARRESTED OVER ALLEGED £500,000 COVID BOUNCE BACK LOAN FRAUD

On 1 March, LBC reported that HMRC was also involved as significant amounts of what is suspected to be illegally imported tobacco were also found. The fraud involved the use of false information and documents to obtain Bounce Back Loans from a number of financial institutions, through a network of unrelated businesses.

https://www.lbc.co.uk/news/four-arrested-alleged-covid-bounce-back-loan-fraud/

JERSEY: FRAUDSTER ASKED TO EXPLAIN ALLEGED PAYMENTS INCLUDING £395,000 ON CHANDELIERS

On 1 March, the Jersey Evening Press reported that a convicted fraudster who claims that he is unable to pay a £73 million confiscation order has been asked to explain why a car dealers were paid more than £1 million for around 13 cars from accounts all allegedly linked to him.  Gerald Smith, who once owned Jersey-registered company ORB, was jailed in the UK for 8 years in 2006 after committing a £35 million fraud.  When he was sentenced, he was handed a confiscation order of £41 million, which he claims he is unable to pay. This subsequently rose to £73 million after remaining unpaid and accruing interest.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2021/03/01/fraudster-asked-to-explain-alleged-payments-including-395k-on-chandeliers/

THE NEW YORK ATTORNEY GENERAL HAS ISSUED 2 ALERTS IN RESPONSE TO THE “EXTREME RISK” POSED TO NEW YORKERS INVESTING IN VIRTUAL OR “CRYPTO” CURRENCIES

On 1 March, a release on Mondo Visione reported that the AG had issued an alert urging “extreme caution” when investing in virtual currencies, and another to industry members to remind brokers, dealers, salespeople and investment advisers of potential criminal liability if they do not meet registration obligations when doing business with virtual currencies.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/new-york-attorney-general-james-warns-investors-about-extreme-risk-when-invest/

GAFILAT PUBLISHES OUTCOME OF FATF PLENARY (IN SPANISH)

On 1 March, GAFILAT published an article outlining the outcomes of the recent FATF Plenary.

https://www.gafilat.org/index.php/es/noticias/131-resultados-plenaria-del-gafi-22-25-de-febrero-de-2021

I would be grateful for any modest contribution for my time and ongoing costs of computer, relocation, and (still ongoing) removal costs, I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y