OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 23

Panama Covid-19 update – the “third wave” and Delta variant continue to take their toll – with another 1,077 new cases reported and 7 fatalities (including 1 earlier case added to total). There are now over 11,000 active cases, at 11,081; with 83 in ICU and (showing a rise of 49 patients) 526 in other wards.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

ISLE OF MAN AMENDS 1 ENTRY ON RUSSIAN SANCTIONS LIST

On 22 June, the Isle of Man advised that the entry for Sergey Valeryevich AKSYONOV has been amended.

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/jun/22/financial-sanctions-russia/

ILLICIT COVID-19 DRUGS BOUND FOR MEXICO SEIZED BY US AUTHORITIES

On 22 June, the Wall Street Journal reported that what were possibly counterfeit or generic versions of Gilead’s remdesivir are reaching US via airports.  Federal authorities have seized at US airports unauthorised versions of the Covid-19 treatment remdesivir destined for distribution in Mexico, the latest effort by the government to root out criminal activity related to the pandemic.  It is arriving from Bangladesh and India and being smuggled by individuals to Mexico and in recent months, US Customs and Border Protection officers have captured more than 100 shipments. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/illicit-covid-19-drugs-bound-for-mexico-seized-by-u-s-authorities-11624440602

RESTRAINT ORDERS & ASSETS HELD OVERSEAS

On 16 June, the chambers at 5 St Andrews Hill hosted a panel of experts and a discussion on the different responses to Restraint Orders which cover assets outside of the UK.  The panel looked at the range of responses to restraint orders in relation to international assets. This included looking at repatriation orders, and orders that are recognised in other jurisdictions.  It examined how these can be challenged and how they can be complied with, without the asset being repatriated. The panel also discussed a number of tricky case studies, to show how the law works in practice.  The video is available on You Tube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYZk4VOQUgw

HAMAS OFFICIALS HAVE BOASTED THAT THEY HAD PULLED IN RECORD DONATIONS IN CRYPTOCURRENCIES

On 21 June, Haaretz in Israel reported on increased use of cryptocurrencies by Hamas, and how Hamas, Hezbollah and Boko Haram are increasingly looking for donations in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.  It says that it is becoming increasingly difficult for crypto-activity experts to track their fundraising.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-hamas-uses-cryptocurrency-for-fundraising-making-it-harder-to-follow-the-money-1.9923432

CYBERCRIMINALS TURN TO MONERO TO LAUNDER ILLICIT GAINS

On 23 June, KYC 360 reported that concerned about the ability of investigators to trace Bitcoin transactions through underlying blockchain data, cybercriminals are also becoming increasingly wary of their longstanding cryptocurrency of choice.  On the other hand, the popularity of Monero among criminals has grown.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/with-all-eyes-on-bitcoin-cybercriminals-turn-to-monero-to-launder-illicit-gains

US ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES COMPREHENSIVE STRATEGY TO PREVENT AND RESPOND TO GUN CRIME AND ENSURE PUBLIC SAFETY

A factsheet from the Biden Administration on 23 June says that President believes that the surge in gun violence that has affected communities across the country over the last year and a half is unacceptable.  The Administration has announced a comprehensive strategy to combat gun violence and other violent crime.  This strategy implements preventative measures that are proven to reduce violent crime, and attacks the root causes – including by addressing the flow of firearms used to commit crimes.  It says that it will target “rogue” gun dealers, improving data exchange between federal and state authorities, and addressing “ghost” guns and modified firearms.

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/06/23/fact-sheet-biden-harris-administration-announces-comprehensive-strategy-to-prevent-and-respond-to-gun-crime-and-ensure-public-safety/

NORTH KOREA’S URANIUM CONVERSION: THE HISTORY AND PROCESS

Part 2 of a 3-part series of posts on North Korea’s uranium conversion programme was published by Arms Control Wonk on 22 June. 

https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1212202/north-koreas-uranium-conversion-the-history-and-process-part-2/

https://www.armscontrolwonk.com/archive/1212071/north-korean-uranium-conversion-history-and-process-part-1/

US SEIZES WEBSITES USED BY THE IRANIAN ISLAMIC RADIO AND TELEVISION UNION AND KATA’IB HIZBALLAH

On 23 June, System Tek and others reported that the US has seized 33 websites used by the Iranian Islamic Radio and Television Union (IRTVU) and 3 websites operated by Kata’ib Hizballah (KH), in violation of US sanctions.  In October, OFAC designated IRTVU as a Specially Designated National (SDN) for being owned or controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force (IRGC).  KH had been designated by OFAC in 2009. 

https://www.systemtek.co.uk/2021/06/united-states-seizes-websites-used-by-the-iranian-islamic-radio-and-television-union-and-kataib-hizballah/

https://marketresearchtelecast.com/us-seizes-33-websites-of-iranian-radio-and-television/81948/

TURKISH NATIONAL CHARGED WITH WIRE FRAUD AND ILLEGALLY EXPORTING DEFENCE ARTICLES TO TURKEY

On 22 June, a news release from US DoJ advised that Arif Ugur, 52, a Turkish national, has been arrested and charged in federal court in Boston in connection with fraudulently having various parts and machine components for the US military made by a Turkish manufacturer in violation of arms regulations.  It is alleged that he arranged with a Turkish manufacturer to make the parts and then passed them off to US DoD as if they had been manufactured in the US; and that he shared technical specifications and drawings of various DoD parts and components with employees of the Turkish manufacturer so that they could produce the parts, and provided employees of the Turkish manufacturer and other Turkish nationals with access to DOD’s online library of technical specifications and drawings. 

https://www.justice.gov/usao-ma/pr/turkish-national-charged-wire-fraud-and-illegally-exporting-defense-articles-turkey

SAUDI AGENTS WHO KILLED JAMAL KHASHOGGI REPORTEDLY RECEIVED PARAMILITARY TRAINING IN US

ABC News in Australia on 23 June reported that the 4 Saudis who participated in the 2018 killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi received paramilitary training in the US the previous year under a contract approved by the US State Department.  The training was provided by Tier 1 Group, which is owned by the private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management, and was defensive in nature and devised to help protect Saudi leaders.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-23/saudis-who-killed-khashoggi-received-paramilitary-training-in-us/100238174

NEW SANCTIONS MAKE MYANMAR TEAK ILLEGAL IN EU

On 23 June, Superyacht News reported that one of the main drivers for illegal logging of teak in Myanmar has been the marine sector.  Arguments against the exportation of teak from Myanmar traditionally focussed on the resource being limited and of environmental importance, with many calling for the adoption of alternative materials for use across a variety of sectors.  Both the EU Timber Regulation (EUTR) and the US Lacey Act have been in place to help the legal trade of timber, whilst at the same time preventing illegally sourced timber from entering into various markets, including any illegally sourced teak from Myanmar – but there is now no legal source for timber, including precious teak, to be imported from Myanmar into the EU. 

https://www.superyachtnews.com/business/new-sanctions-make-myanmar-teak-illegal

PROTESTS ERUPT AFTER LEBANON BIDS TO CURB FUEL SMUGGLING INTO SYRIA

On 22 June, Arab News reported that demonstrators blocked a highway connecting Lebanon and Syria with burned tyres and metal bars, protesting a decision aimed at curbing smuggling into Syria.  Amid worsening living conditions in Lebanon, it is said that some people are filling up their cars with goods and fuel and traveling into Syria through the Masnaa crossing to sell them on the other side at double the price.  Customs authorities in Lebanon’s eastern Bekaa region announced they will strictly enforce permit requirements for vehicles going into Syria to limit fuel smuggling.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1880946/middle-east

PEOPLE SMUGGLERS IN SYRIA TAKE TO TikTok TO ADVERTISE

On 23 June, OCCRP reported that human smugglers in Syria have taken increasingly to the social media app TikTok in recent months to advertise their services.

https://www.occrp.org/en/37-ccblog/ccblog/14699-people-smugglers-in-syria-take-to-tiktok

MAURITIUS ON THE ROAD TO ‘BLACKLIST’ REMOVAL

On 22 June, an article from The Sovereign Group (originally published on 27 May) was the first in a series of posts around the ‘blacklisting’ of Mauritius by the EU in 2020 and the steps that the jurisdiction is said to be taking to ensure its removal from the list at the earliest opportunity.  Further posts will track the progress made by the Mauritian government in reversing this decision and any related developments.  Mauritius’ third Progress Report was submitted on 2 April, and is scheduled for discussion at the FATF Plenary currently underway.

https://www.sovereigngroup.com/news-and-views/back-from-black-mauritius-on-the-road-to-blacklist-removal

FORMER MAURITANIAN LEADER ARRESTED

On 23 June, Middle East Online reported that Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Mauritania’s former President, had been arrested and taken into custody by an anti-corruption judge.  He was indicted for corruption, embezzlement of public property and money laundering in March, and it is said that cash and assets worth the equivalent of about $115 million had been seized.

https://middle-east-online.com/en/former-mauritanian-leader-arrested-nouakchott

6 ARRESTED FOR SIPHONING €12 MILLION IN FRAUDULENT COVID-19 UNEMPLOYMENT PAYMENTS FROM FRANCE

A news release from Europol on 23 June advised that police in France and Israel have closed in on the members of an organised crime group running a sophisticated benefit fraud scheme on either side the Mediterranean Sea.  A total of 6 individuals were arrested in various locations across France.  The criminal syndicate is believed to have swindled the French State out of €12 million in COVID-19 unemployment benefits by using 3,600 shell companies to claim the payments, and the main suspect is a 30-year-old Franco-Israeli citizen.  Israeli Police also took action against the members of this same criminal group, and a call centre believed to have been used to organise large–scale scams was searched in the city of Netanya, with phones and high-tech IT devices seized.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/six-arrested-for-siphoning-%E2%82%AC12-million-in-fraudulent-covid-19-unemployment-payments-france

UK: SRA BEGINS MONEY LAUNDERING CLAMPDOWN WITH 3 LAW FIRMS FINED

On 23 June, the Law Society Gazette reported that the Solicitors Regulation Authority has started its promised enforcement action against firms that put off fulfilling their AML obligations, and published details of fines issued to the firms which took more than a year to comply with new regulations.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/sra-begins-money-laundering-clampdown-with-three-firms-fined/5108953.article

JOHN MCAFEE FOUND DEAD IN A SPANISH JAIL HOURS AFTER COURT RULED HE COULD BE EXTRADITED TO THE US

On 23 June, Buzz Feed and others reported that John McAfee, 75, the eccentric tech mogul who made his fortune developing antivirus software, had been found dead in a jail cell near Barcelona, just hours after Spain’s National Court ruled that he was to be extradited to the US to face tax evasion charges.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/amberjamieson/john-mcafee-dead

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-9717309/Spanish-court-OKs-extradition-McAfee-U-S.html

MANCHESTER-BASED ACCOUNTANT HANDS OVER £1.9 MILLION UNDER CIVIL RECOVERY ORDER

A news release from the NCA on 23 June announced that self-employed accountant Abid Naveed has handed over £1.9 million to settle a civil recovery claim based on alleged links to a criminal gang responsible for laundering £160 million of drug money.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/manchester-based-accountant-hands-over-1-9-million

FAKE PERFUMES ASSEMBLY SITE DISMANTLED IN ITALY

On 23 June, a news release from Europol advised that the criminal network was importing counterfeit goods from EU-neighbouring countries for distribution on the Italian and EU markets.  The goods were transported through the Balkan route and distributed on the Italian market. The criminal network was importing perfumes in bulk filled in tanks, which were then packed in an illegal assembly site. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/fake-perfumes-assembly-site-dismantled-in-italy

US: CUSTOMS OFFICIALS SEIZE 85 COUNTERFEIT GUITARS FROM CHINA

On 22 June, Kiro 7 News reported that US Customs and Border Protection officers at Washington Dulles International Airport recently intercepted 85 counterfeit guitars, their second large-scale instrument seizure at facility of 2021.  The guitars bore autographs purporting to belong to renowned guitarist Les Paul, AC/DC’s Angus Young and Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash.  The guitars were en route to addresses in 31 states, and in January officers seized another 36 counterfeit guitars in a separate shipment from China.

https://www.kiro7.com/news/trending/customs-officials-seize-85-counterfeit-guitars-china/DH6AHYBRPRHZVF4JQ3NS37R6JQ/

US CUSTOMS INTERCEPTS COUNTERFEIT VAPING PENS

On 23 June, a news release from US Customs & Border Protection advised that officers in Atlanta had seized 66 boxes of vape pens in a shipment that originated from China, destined for distribution in Georgia.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-atlanta-intercepts-counterfeit-vaping-pens

THE IMPACT OF THE UK BRIBERY ACT ON TRANSATLANTIC LAW ENFORCEMENT AND BUSINESS

On 22 June, an article from Eversheds Sutherland says that 1 July marks 10 years since the enactment of the UK Bribery Act 2010.  Prior to its enactment, the UK’s ability to fight bribery was hindered by outdated anti-bribery laws and there was a need for reform. However, the introduction of the Act was a major turning point as it became, jointly with the FCPA in the US, the toughest bribery law globally. It has since been branded “an exemplary piece of legislation” by the House of Lords Select Committee in 2019. The new article from the firm looks at what impact the introduction of the Act has had on transatlantic law enforcement and business, saying that the possibility of unlimited fines and the extra-territorial reach of the legislation in both the UK and US, non-compliance with anti-bribery regulations has become an increasingly serious issue for companies.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Fraud_and_financial_crime/The_impact_the_UKBA_has_had_on_transatlantic_law_enforcement_and_business

WANTED CHINESE KINGPIN OWNS CASINO WITH CAMBODIAN SENATOR’S SON-IN-LAW

On 23 June, Radio Free Asia claimed that political connections in Cambodia have allowed a major Chinese fugitive to elude jail while building a business empire.  Xu Aimin was sentenced to 10 years in a Chinese prison in 2013 for masterminding an illicit international gambling ring with an estimated turnover of $1.75 billion. However, he has spent the last 8 years building an immense Cambodian business empire, including a casino in the port city of Sihanoukville. It is said that he owes both his commercial success and liberty to high-level political connections in Phnom Penh. 

https://www.rfa.org/english/news/cambodia/china-gambling-06232021080918.html

CAPTIVE INSURANCE TO PROTECT COMPANIES AND THEIR DIRECTORS AND OFFICERS FOR FCPA-RELATED EXPOSURE

A post on the FCPA Blog on 22 June said that insurance policies that cover the costly expenses incurred in connection with regulatory investigations, liability payments, and resulting securities litigation are becoming increasingly more difficult and expensive to obtain.  The post discusses key considerations for corporate policyholders in procuring, renewing, or seeking directors and officers’ coverage, including evaluation of captive insurance alternatives to the hardening commercial insurance market.

https://fcpablog.com/2021/06/22/using-captive-insurance-alternatives-to-protect-companies-and-their-directors-and-officers-for-fcpa-related-exposure/

UK: FCA WARNS AGAINST 111 UNREGISTERED CRYPTO COMPANIES

On 23 June, Finance Magnates reported that it has been said that a number of firms are clearly doing business in the UK without being registered with FCA and they are dealing with someone: banks, payment services firm, consumers.  These 111 companies have not even applied for the FCA’s approval, which makes their operations illegal in the country.

https://www.financemagnates.com/cryptocurrency/regulation/fca-warns-against-111-unregistered-crypto-companies/

INDIA: SUMMONS FOR 3 TOP FASHION DESIGNERS IN CONNECTION WITH MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 23 June, the Times of India reported that the Enforcement Directorate has summoned 3 unnamed top fashion designers in connection with a money laundering case against a Punjab Congress legislator, and the designers have been sent notices to appear for questioning in Delhi. 

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/entertainment/hindi/bollywood/news/ed-summons-3-top-fashion-designers-in-connection-with-money-laundering-case/articleshow/83780676.cms

THE ROBBER BARONS OF BEIJING

Foreign Affairs has published an interesting article which reflected on stories which are or were endemic to China: business leaders colluding with officials to exploit development projects for personal enrichment, graft infecting all levels of government, and politicians encouraging capitalists to take on outsize risks.  It compares the situation to that involving the railroad robbery barons of the late 19th Century/early 20th Century in the US.  It also reflects on the form that such high-level corruption takes in China, involving “access money”.  It is claimed that the evolution of corruption and capitalism began with Deng Xiaoping, who steered China in a new direction after 3 decades under Mao Zedong, and, without explicitly saying so, introduced a new religion: pragmatism.  However, as a result, corruption flourished.  It is said that, in a bid to end crony capitalism, Xi is reviving the command system, the very approach that failed miserably under Mao.  This is said to risk stifling China’s adaptability and entrepreneurship — the very qualities that helped the country navigate its way through so many obstacles over the years.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/asia/2021-06-22/robber-barons-beijing

PODCAST: GOLDEN PASSPORTS AND VISAS

The latest podcast from TRACE is a rerun of one from May 2019, a re-broadcast of an interview with Oliver Bullough, author of “Moneyland”.  It concerned the golden passports and visas industry which has boomed during the pandemic and attracted the attention of policymakers.  The interview considers this shady industry and how it operates.

https://www.traceinternational.org/resources-podcast

UK: INVESTIGATION ABOUT WHETHER SOME COMPANIES WERE GIVEN PREFERENTIAL TREATMENT WHEN LUCRATIVE CONTRACTS WERE BEING AWARDED DURING THE COVID CRISIS

On 22 June, BBC Radio 4 broadcast a documentary saying that the pandemic led to an urgent need for a range of new government contracts which resulted in billions of pounds of public money being spent under emergency powers which suspended usual procurement rules around competition. This new regime created an unprecedented situation where commercial companies were able to secure large contracts quickly. But did this mean that money was spent without due diligence, regard for transparency – and potentially value for the taxpayer?  A joint investigation involving the BBC, The Guardian and the non-profit investigative organisation Source Material, examines whether some were given preferential treatment when lucrative contracts were being awarded.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m000x6bh

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000x6bh

SOUTH KOREAN OFFICIALS SEIZE $47 MILLION IN CRYPTO DUE TO UNPAID TAXES

Being Crypto on 23 June reported that South Korea has come down hard on citizens who used crypto to help them evade taxes. The seizures come as a result of a probe in what Korean officials are calling the biggest crypto seizure for back taxes in the county’s history. It has seized nearly $50 million in cryptocurrency from 12,000 people, who are accused of tax evasion.

https://beincrypto.com/south-korean-officials-seize-47m-in-crypto-due-to-unpaid-taxes/

FREEPORTS FRUSTRATION IN SCOTLAND

On 23 June, the Dundee Courier reported that business leaders and government ministers are being brought together to unlock stalled talks to establish freeports with special tax status in Scotland.  In March, it was reported that the UK Government was preparing to step in and set up freeports in Scotland if an agreement could not be reached with Scottish Government ministers.  The SNP want as many as 2 freeports, but there has been no assurance from London on the number.

https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/politics/scottish-politics/2330752/freeports-frustration-as-snp-trade-chief-calls-for-talks/

UK: AML EXPERT CONVICTED OF SIPHONING CRIMINAL MONEY ABROAD

A news release from the CPS on 23 June advised that Dominic Thorncroft, 56, the former chairman of a UK group that represents the payment services industry has been convicted of laundering the proceeds of an investment fraud worth £850,000 and involving more than 60 victims.  He was the former Chair of the Association of UK Payment Institutions who worked with lawmakers and financial regulators providing AML advice and training.  He held himself out as a money laundering expert whose role was to protect members of the public and businesses from economic crime. However, the CPS says that he was a professional enabler to fraudsters, allowing his business to transfer their criminal proceeds abroad.

https://www.cps.gov.uk/cps/news/anti-money-laundering-expert-convicted-siphoning-criminal-money-abroad

US JUDGE DISMISSES AFGHANISTAN FRAUD CASE AND CITES YEARS OF DELAYS

On 23 June, the Daily Mail reported that a federal judge has thrown out all charges against 6 defendants accused of cheating the government by supplying unqualified linguists to serve in Afghanistan, ruling that the government waited too long to bring the case to trial.  Prosecutors obtained a grand jury indictment against the defendants in April for conduct that occurred in 2011 and 2012.  The defendants asked the judge to dismiss the case, saying their ability to defend themselves was prejudiced by the 10-year delay in bringing charges.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-9718573/Judge-tosses-Afghanistan-fraud-case-cites-years-delays.html

US ATTORNEY’S OFFICE SEEKS TEMPORARY RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST MINNESOTA BUSINESSMAN SELLING COUNTERFEIT N95 MASKS

A news release from US DoJ on 23 June announced that authorities in El Paso are seeking a civil injunction against Minnesota resident Scott Boynton, 40, and his business, Boynton Companies, Inc (RELYmedia), in an effort to combat alleged fraud related to the coronavirus pandemic.  The government is employing a statute that permits federal courts to issue injunctions to prevent harm to potential victims of fraudulent schemes.  The purpose of the civil injunction is to stop Boynton and RELYmedia, from advertising, distributing, transporting or selling any mask or face covering purported to be an authentic 3M 1860 N95 mask.

https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdtx/pr/us-attorney-s-office-seeks-temporary-restraining-order-against-minnesota-businessman

UN ENVOY ACCUSES RUSSIAN MERCENARIES OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

On 23 June, Rferl reported that the UN envoy to the Central African Republic, as well as diplomats from the US and France, has accused the national security forces and their Russian paramilitary allies of wide-ranging human rights abuses.  Russia’s help to President Faustin Archange Touadera includes fielding Russian mercenaries and security details for government figures.  Russia says it has only sent unarmed “instructors” to train the CAR Defense Ministry.  Russia has significantly increased its presence and influence in the poor but resource-rich African country, where a Russian national serves as national-security adviser to the President.  The government has granted gold- and diamond-mining permits to Russian companies suspected of having links to Russian businessman Yevgeny Prigozhin, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the man believed to be the head of the Vagner Group.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-abuses-central-africa/31322957.html

EUROPEAN BANKING AUTHORITY (EBA) REPORT ON ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL AND GOVERNANCE (ESG) RISKS MANAGEMENT AND SUPERVISION FOR CREDIT INSTITUTIONS AND INVESTMENT FIRMS.

On 23 June, a release on Mondo Visione advised that the Report, which is a key component of the EBA’s broader ESG work, provides a comprehensive proposal on how ESG factors and ESG risks should be included in the regulatory and supervisory framework for credit institutions and investment firms.  The Report focuses on the resilience of institutions to the potential financial impact of ESG risks across different time horizons. This requires careful assessments by institutions and supervisors who should take a comprehensive and forward-looking view, as well as early, proactive actions.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/eba-publishes-its-report-on-management-and-supervision-of-esg-risks-for-credit-i/

The report is at –

https://www.eba.europa.eu/sites/default/documents/files/document_library/Publications/Reports/2021/1015656/EBA%20Report%20on%20ESG%20risks%20management%20and%20supervision.pdf

EU DUAL-USE EXPORT CONTROL REGULATION RECAST

An article in the latest edition of the always interesting [it must be good, it once published an article by me!] World ECR magazine looks at what happens now that the recast of the EU dual-use export control Regulation becomes law.

https://media-exp3.licdn.com/dms/document/C4D1FAQGFDDQBCt-Xxg/feedshare-document-pdf-analyzed/0/1624439577408?e=1624575600&v=beta&t=nRWLmEHhASpBNiCNLfrx47HMN3de0w7ti7OwIDEucAQ

ISLE OF MAN ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE RULES EXTENDS TO PARTNERSHIPS AND LLC

On 23 June, law firm Cains published a short briefing saying that the Economic Substance Rules now extends to Partnerships and LLC following Tynwald’s approval of The Income Tax (Substance Requirements) Order 2021 on 16 June.

https://www.cains.com/isle-of-man-economic-substance-rules-extends-to-partnerships-and-llcs/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

COURT CASES IN CHINA AND RUSSIA REVEAL NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS EVASION EFFORTS

On 17 June, an article from Kharon says that court cases in China and Russia, which have been reviewed by Kharon, are said to offer a glimpse into sanctions evasion methods used to engage in illicit business with North Korea, even as the isolated nation tries to emerge from a pandemic-induced trade freeze.  They detail conspiracies to trade UN-prohibited goods, including coal and seafood, or to conduct activities barred under UN sanctions, such as hosting North Korean labour.

https://brief.kharon.com/updates/court-cases-in-china-russia-reveal-north-korea-sanctions-evasion-efforts/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

FATF VOTES TO GREYLIST MALTA

On 23 June, the Times of Malta reported that it understood that FATF had voted to add Malta (and Romania) to its grey list – although no official statement is due until 25 June.  It is said that if the votes are confirmed, Malta and Romania will be the first 2 EU countries to be added to the list.  The list already includes 19 other countries ranging from Albania to Zimbabwe, strife-torn countries such as Syria, Yemen and Myanmar as well as tax havens such as Panama and the Cayman Islands. 

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/fatf-votes-to-greylist-malta.881531

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

QUICK GUIDE TO ILLICIT ENRICHMENT (UPDATED)

On 22 June, the Basel Institute on Governance published an updated version of a brief guide to unjust enrichment laws.  It has been updated following the Basel Institute’s publication of an open-access book on Illicit Enrichment: a Guide to Laws Targeting Unexplained Wealth by Andrew Dornbierer.

https://baselgovernance.org/blog/andrew-dornbierers-quick-guide-illicit-enrichment-updated

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

BIRD & BIRD SANCTIONS LIST CHECKING APP

On 22 June, Bird & Bird announced the launch of its free sanctions-checking app

https://apps.fliplet.com/bird-bird-sanctions-app/sanctions-search-home-c5o5

https://www.twobirds.com/~/media/pdfs/news/press-releases/sanctionslist-app-flyer-v3-including-credentials-and-qr-code.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

PANAMA ADVANCES IN ANTI-CORRUPTION RULES BUT THE INSTITUTIONS ARE “OPAQUE”

On 22 June, Telemetro commented on the report by the Panama chapter of Transparency International, in which it is said that Panama has made progress normatively, but there is a lack of implementation in practice that is not done due to lack of political will or resources.  The report analysed the implementation of five sub-goals of the UN Sustainable Development Goals 16 in Panama in the first half of 2021.  It said that that there is no “robust regulatory framework” in asset recovery, corruption in the private sector, fiscal transparency and integrity in public administration, and that there are “significant challenges” in access to public information, as there is still “an ineffective sanctioning framework”.  While Panama has improved its anti-corruption laws in specific areas such as money laundering and policy financing, it still faces challenges such as the “implementation of the rules, it is said.

The relevant SDG 16 goals are –

16.3:      access to justice

16.4:      organised crime and illicit flows

16.5:      corruption and bribery

16.6:      transparency and accountability

16.10:   access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms

https://www.telemetro.com/nacionales/panama-avanza-normas-anticorrupcion-pero-las-instituciones-son-opacas-n5248082

https://www.libertadciudadana.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Informe_ODS16-Panama-2021.pdf (in Spanish)

Similar reports for other latin American states are at –

https://www.ods16.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/informe_ods_esp.compressed.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

UK UPDATES RUSSIA SANCTIONS GUIDANCE

OFSI in the UK has issued updated guidance relating to the financial and investment restrictions in Russia (Sanctions) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019. 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/995909/OFSI_-_Russia_guidance_-_June_2021.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

LONDON’S COURTS ARE BEING USED BY AUTOCRATS TO WAGE LEGAL WARFARE AGAINST PEOPLE WHO HAVE FLED THEIR COUNTRIES AFTER FALLING OUT OF FAVOUR OVER POLITICS OR MONEY

On 18 June, the Bureau of Investigative Journalism published a report based on a joint investigation with The New York Times, revealing that in 4 out of the past 6 years, litigants from Russia and Kazakhstan have been involved in more civil cases in England than have any other foreigners.  Authoritarian governments, or related state entities, are often pitted against wealthy tycoons who have fallen from favour and fled. Neither side elicits much pity — but both pay generous legal fees.  What is often sought, it is reported, are what one judge called a legal “nuclear weapon” — court orders freezing a defendant’s assets worldwide.  The report refers to “an industry of enablers” which has grown up in London to protect and sustain the interests of corrupt elites.  This involves not just otherwise respected law firms, but also the likes of “private intelligence” firm Diligence.

https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2021-06-18/the-power-of-money-how-autocrats-use-london-to-strike-foes-worldwide

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

A FAKE SHIPPING CONTAINER LEADS TO CHINESE CIGARETTES — AND ITALY’S CAMORRA CRIME GROUP

On 22 June, OCCRP reported on an “ingenious” plan to smuggle tons of Chinese-made cigarettes into Europe and sell them on the black market.  It is said that the case provides the first public evidence that China Tobacco officials have engaged in cigarette smuggling, and links their operation to criminal groups active in Europe.  The article refers to a network involving a factory in Romania which manufactures some of Europe’s most popular illicit brands, and has supplied companies tied to smugglers in a number of countries, including Italy, owned by China Tobacco International Europe Company (CTIEC).  It is said that not long after the factory opened, local media began featuring reports that its cigarettes were being moved by organised crime groups active along the country’s borders with Ukraine and Moldova.  Chinese high-end brands Marble and Regina have reportedly the leading brands in illegal markets across Europe between 2012 and 2016, according to KPMG, and by 2016, half of all seized black market cigarettes were Reginas. 

https://www.occrp.org/en/loosetobacco/china-tobacco-goes-global/a-fake-shipping-container-leads-to-chinese-cigarettes-and-italys-camorra-crime-group

INVESTIGATION: HUGE QUANTITIES OF CHINESE CIGARETTES SMUGGLED INTO UKRAINE

https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/huge-quantities-of-chinese-cigarettes-smuggled-into-ukraine.html

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 22

Panama Covid-19 update – received an invite to be vaccinated back home in Britain…so I was able to say that the programme in Panama meant I was already fully vaccinated, but thanks anyway…

Exceptionally high number of tests recorded today – suggesting a major drive underway, and with a positive result rate of 8.5% this may have contributed to a huge increase in new cases reported today – 1,208 (more than twice yesterday’s figure). There were 5 new fatalities (ominously the same number by which occupancy of ICU fell), with ICU, hospital ward and “hospital hotel” occupancy all showing modest falls – to 84, 477 and 367 respectively. The Rt infection rate has fallen from last week’s 1.2 to be an average of 1.08, though still over the important figure of 1, of course.

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

22 JUNE 2021

ISLE OF MAN: RUSSIA, MYANMAR AND BELARUS SANCTIONS

On 21 June, the Isle of Man issued 3 news releases advising of changes to sanctions lists and bringing these into line with those in the UK.

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/jun/21/financial-sanctions-belarus/

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/jun/21/financial-sanctions-myanmar/

https://www.gov.im/news/2021/jun/21/financial-sanctions-russia/

IRAN’S PRESIDENT-ELECT EBRAHIM RAISI IS SUBJECT TO A US ASSET FREEZEON 21 JUNE.

The EU Sanctions blog reminded one that the new President-elect is himself on US sanctions lists.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/06/iranian-president-elect-subject-to-us-sanctions/

CHINESE PORT LOGJAM THREATENS CHRISTMAS SHIPPING RUSH

The Wall Street Journal reported that a backlog of ships on the water and an estimated 350,000 containers at docks will further rattle global supply chains deep into the year.  The latest obstacle to shipping is likely to jolt trade flows for several more weeks, and could delay shipments heading into the year-end holiday shopping season.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/chinese-port-logjam-threatens-christmas-shipping-rush-11624307360

US: INSIDER DEALING – EXECUTIVES SOLD STOCK AHEAD OF REPORTING RESULTS AND BEFORE TROUBLES CAME TO LIGHT

On 21 June, the Wall Street Journal reported that several top executives at Lordstown Motors sold off chunks of stock in the electric-truck start-up ahead of reporting financial results, according to regulatory filings disclosing the transactions.  They sold more than $8 million in stock over 3 days in early February, according to the filings.  Lordstown Motors went public in October and plans to build electric trucks at a former GM plant in Ohio.  It is said that the case could fuel further calls for changes to insider trading rules.  The trades occurred at a time when most listed companies forbade executives from making unscheduled trades in a so-called black-out period between the end of a quarter to when financial results are publicly released.  The rules are meant to guard against even the appearance of insider trading.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/lordstown-motors-executives-sold-stock-ahead-of-reporting-results-and-before-troubles-came-to-light-11624273380

CAYMAN ISLANDS: NORWICH PHARMACAL RELIEF IS AVAILABLE IN AID OF FOREIGN PROCEEDINGS

On 22 June, an article from Ogier said that the Court of Appeal has found that the Cayman courts have jurisdiction to grant a Norwich Pharmacal order (NPO) in support of potential proceedings before a foreign court, even where alternative statutory remedies may be available.  It explains that an NPO is a third-party discovery order, which can be granted where a third party has been innocently mixed up in the wrongdoing of another, whereby the third party is forced to disclose documents or information to the applicant in order to allow the applicant to bring legal proceedings against the wrongdoer.  The Court of Appeal’s decision confirms a departure in Cayman law from the law in England and Wales, and is in keeping with recent decisions in other offshore jurisdictions which have similarly adopted a more flexible approach than the courts of England and Wales to the grant of Norwich Pharmacal relief, including the BVI.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Litigation/Cayman-Islands/Ogier/Court-of-Appeal-finds-that-Norwich-Pharmacal-relief-is-available-in-aid-of-foreign-proceedings

HONG KONG POLICE BREAK UP TRIAD-RUN GAMBLING SYNDICATE THAT TOOK IN BILLIONS IN BETS

On 21 June, the South China Morning Post reported that police have arrested 18 people suspected of illegal bookmaking activities in a series of raids.  It is said that the triad-controlled Hong Kong bookmaking syndicate that took in more than US$438 million in illegal bets on horse racing and football matches in the first 4four months of this year. 

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3138164/hong-kong-police-break-triad-run-gambling-syndicate

CHINA URGES BANKS, ALIPAY TO CRACK DOWN HARDER ON CRYPTOCURRENCIES

On 21 June, Reuters reported that China’s central bank has said that it had recently summoned some banks and payment firms, including China Construction Bank and Alipay, urging them to crack down harder on cryptocurrency trading.

https://www.reuters.com/technology/chinas-central-bank-urges-financial-institutions-crack-down-cryptocurrencies-2021-06-21/

INSIDE A RANSOMWARE ATTACK

On 18 June, a detailed article in The Conversation says that it is important to look at ransomware attacks in detail to understand how the US and the G7 might go about tackling the increasing number of attacks seen during the pandemic.  It says that what we find when we connect the dots is a professional industry far removed from the organised crime playbook, which seemingly takes its inspiration straight from the pages of a business studies manual.  Ransomware attacks are also changing. The criminal industry’s business model has shifted towards providing ransomware as a service.  The article examines how ransomware works and the uses made of specialisations available in the cybercrime underworld. 

https://theconversation.com/inside-a-ransomware-attack-how-dark-webs-of-cybercriminals-collaborate-to-pull-one-off-163015

EU: NEW E-COMMERCE VAT RULES TAKE EFFECT ON 1 JULY

On 29 June, an article from Baker McKenzie reported that new VAT rules on cross-border business-to-consumer (B2C) e-commerce transactions will enter into effect on 1 July.  The article contains brief details of the changes, taken from the EU announcement.

https://www.globalcompliancenews.com/2021/06/20/european-union-eu-new-e-commerce-vat-rules-take-effect-on-1-july-09062021/#page=1

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/business/vat/vat-e-commerce_en

UK: ESTATE AGENCY BUSINESS GUIDANCE FOR MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION

On 22 June, HMRC issued updated guidance to help prevent money laundering and terrorist financing by an estate agency or property related business.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/money-laundering-regulations-2007-supervision-of-estate-agency-businesses/estate-agency-guidance-for-money-laundering-supervision

EU BELARUS SANCTIONS LEGISLATION

On 21 June, the EU published 4 new EU Regulations and 3 new EU Council Decisions enforcing changes in Belarus sanctions.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=OJ:L:2021:219I:TOC

TERRORISTS ATTEMPTED TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PANDEMIC

On 22 June, a news release from Europol advised publication of the EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report 2021.  It outlines the features, facts, figures and trends concerning terrorist attacks and arrests in the EU in 2020.  Among the details revealed are that 449 individuals were arrested on suspicion of terrorism-related offences in 17 EU Member States, a decrease of one-third compared with previous years.  It says that Jihadist terrorism remains the greatest threat to the EU and is still influenced by developments abroad.  A significant threat for several years, lone actors were behind all of the completed attacks.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/terrorists-attempted-to-take-advantage-of-pandemic-says-europol’s-new-eu-terrorism-situation-and-trend-report-2021

https://www.europol.europa.eu/activities-services/main-reports/european-union-terrorism-situation-and-trend-report-2021-tesat

EU AMENDS ITS LIBYAN SANCTIONS LEGISLATION

EU Regulation 2021/1005/EU has amended EU Libyan sanctions legislation in line with recommendations of the UN.  The criteria for including people and entities on its Libya sanctions list now include “obstructing or undermining the elections planned for in the Libyan Political Dialogue Forum Roadmap”.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv%3AOJ.L_.2021.222.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ%3AL%3A2021%3A222%3ATOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2021.222.01.0038.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2021:222:TOC

EU: VENEZUELA HAS STANDING TO BRING PROCEEDINGS AGAINST A REGULATION WHICH INTRODUCES RESTRICTIVE MEASURES AGAINST IT IN EU COURTS

On 22 June, a news release advised that a case before the EU Court of Justice has set aside the judgment of the General Court which had held the contrary and referred the case back to the General Court for judgment on the merits of the action for annulment.

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/jcms/p1_3562249

SWISS COURT FIRST CONVICTION OVER LIBERIA’S 1989-1996 CIVIL WAR

On 21 June, Jurist reported that a court sentenced Alieu Kosiah to 20 years in jail for various crimes, including rape, ordering murders, and cruel treatment of civilians.  The trial also marks Switzerland’s first war crimes trial in a civilian court, undertaken under a 2011 law.  After living in Switzerland as a permanent resident, he was arrested in 2014 for his alleged role in war crimes between 1993 and 1995. The arrest was a result of criminal complaints made by seven Liberian victims.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/06/switzerland-court-hands-down-first-conviction-relating-to-liberia-civil-war/

US COURT REJECTS ATTEMPT TO DISMISS EXTRADITION ATTEMPT OVER POSSESSION OF A PAINTING ALLEGEDLY TAKEN FROM POLAND BY NAZI TROOPS

On 21 June, Jurist reported that a US Court of Appeals has upheld the dismissal of Alexander Khochinsky’s suit against Poland for seeking his extradition over his possession of a painting allegedly taken from Poland by Nazi troops.  He is a Russian foreign national living in the US.   In 2010, he had sought reparation for the loss of his family’s land during the Nazi invasion and also offered a painting he possessed that he thought was similar to one Poland had claimed lost.  However, Poland initiated criminal proceedings against him instead of responding to the offer.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2021/06/us-court-dismisses-suit-against-poland-for-seeking-extradition-over-nazi-looted-art/

SAUDI CUSTOMS HAS SEIZED $24 MILLION ILLEGAL CASH SINCE EARLY 2020

On 20 June, Arab News reported that Saudi Arabia’s Zakat, Tax and Customs Authority (GAZT) prevented the smuggling of more than 290 kg of gold jewellery and almost $24 million in cash from crossing out of the country over the span of 18 months since the beginning of 2020.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1879666/saudi-arabia

US CUSTOMS SEIZES NEARLY $13 MILLION IN FAKE CIALIS PILLS AND DESIGNER LABELS AT CALIFORNIA PORT

On 21 June, KIRO 7 News in California reported that US Customs and Border Protection recently seized nearly 58,000 counterfeit products arriving in a containerised cargo shipment from China at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport.  The seized items included more than 47,000 erectile dysfunction pills marketed under the brand name Cialis, and more than 10,000 pieces of footwear and apparel.  It is also said that CBP personnel nationwide seized 26,503 shipments containing counterfeit goods in 2020 that would have been worth nearly $1.3 billion had they been genuine.

https://www.kiro7.com/news/trending/customs-agents-seize-nearly-13m-fake-cialis-pills-designer-labels-california-port/UWPVXEXGCBBLVAKHJ4H44EYBZI/

NIGERIA: CUSTOMS PREPARE TO SEIZE PRIVATE JETS OVER DOCUMENTS VERIFICATION

On 22 June, Punch reported that private jet owners risk having their airplanes impounded by the Nigeria Customs Service if they fail to verify their documents before 6 July.  This is part of an ongoing audit of privately-owned aircraft operating in Nigeria.

https://punchng.com/customs-prepare-to-seize-private-jets-over-documents-verification/

HOW COCA-COLA HELPED UZBEKISTAN SEIZE A LUCRATIVE BOTTLING OPERATION FROM US CITIZENS

On 22 June, Rferl claimed an exclusive report about how Uzbekistan’s government seized control of a successful bottling venture from US citizens nearly 20 years ago, and raising renewed questions as the state now moves to sell control of the venture – what would be one of its biggest, most lucrative, and highest-profile investment auctions in years, and expected to be valued at tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.

https://www.rferl.org/a/uzbekistan-coca-cola-franchise-karimova/31320385.html

ARMENIAN BRANDY PRODUCERS OF AWARD-WINNING SPIRITS KNOWN TO MOST CONSUMERS AS “COGNAC” MUST BE RENAMED AS AN EU AGREEMENT BANNING USE OF THAT WORD COMES INTO FORCE

On 21 June, Rferl reported that Armenian brandy producers are required to stop naming their drink “cognac” by 2032 in return for a €3 million payment as part of a deal with the EU.  The deal also stipulates that sparkling wine producers in Armenia using the term “champagne” need to drop that descriptor within 4 years.  Cognac is a variety of brandy named for the area where it is made, in southwestern France and EU brandy makers outside the Cognac region are forbidden by law from using the term “cognac”.  Armenia has produced its “cognac” since 1887.

https://www.rferl.org/a/armenian-brandy-cognac/31314620.html

DIGITAL CROSS-BORDER REMITTANCES WILL GROW FROM $295 BILLION IN 2021 TO $428 BILLION IN 2025, WITH DIGITAL TRANSACTIONS RETURNING TO PRE-PANDEMIC VALUES BY 2022

A release on Mondo Visione on 22 June advised that a new report  found that the digital remittance market has been largely resilient to the global pandemic; forecasting continued growth for digital remittance revenue over the next 5 years.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/digital-cross-border-remittances-to-reach-428-billion-in-2025-as-digital-solut/

https://www.juniperresearch.com/whitepapers/digital-money-transfer-remittances-the-instant

https://www.juniperresearch.com/researchstore/fintech-payments/digital-money-transfer-research-report

“COWBOY” GAMBLING OPERATORS USE “WHITE LABEL” LOOPHOLE TO GAIN ACCESS TO BRITAIN

On 20 June, the Sunday Times used the example of BOB Sports, or BOB88, a sponsor of the Wales football team, is one of 700 unlicensed gambling operators in the UK that are taking advantage of a “white-labelling” loophole.  The company simply pays another firm to use its licence and is said to thus avoid the usual checks from the authorities.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/cowboy-gambling-firms-use-loophole-to-gain-access-to-britain-dpczglmrk

US: 5 CHARGED IN SCHEME TO EXPORT THERMAL IMAGING SCOPES AND NIGHT VISION GOGGLES TO RUSSIA

A news release from US DoJ on 21 June advised that the defendants allegedly exported thermal imaging riflescopes and night-vision goggles without a licence, in violation of the Arms Export Control Act.  The defendants were allegedly involved in a nearly 4-year scheme in which the defendants purchased dozens of thermal imaging devices, most of which cost between $5,000 and $10,000 and are controlled by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations, from sellers across the US.  The defendants allegedly obtained many of the items using aliases, falsely assuring the sellers that they would not export the items from the US, exports also used aliases and false addresses.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/five-charged-scheme-export-thermal-imaging-scopes-and-night-vision-goggles-russia-violation

ANCIENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL COLLECTION RETURNED TO ITALY FROM BELGIUM WITH HELP OF EUROJUST

On 21 June, a news release from Eurojust advised that the archaeological goods illegally obtained by a Belgian art collector had been excavated without authorisation in Puglia, Italy.  The collection, which dates as far back as 600 BC, includes a rare Daunian stele, or funerary artefact, that had been shown at expositions in Paris and Geneva.

https://www.eurojust.europa.eu/ancient-archaeological-collection-returned-italy-belgium-help-eurojust

OHIO STATE HOUSE HAS EXPELLED A LAWMAKER WHOM THE FBI ACCUSED OF ACCEPTING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN BRIBES TO PASS LEGISLATION BAILING OUT TWO NUCLEAR PLANTS

On 21 June, OCCRP reported that Republican lawmaker Larry Householder lost his seat in the Ohio House of Representatives almost a year after federal authorities arrested and charged him, but have not yet tried or convicted him for the $60 million corruption scandal.  It notes that Householder had previously resigned in 2004 under accusations of money laundering but the government closed his case without charges.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14678-ohio-house-ousts-lawmaker-accused-of-corruption

HOW 3 HIGH-LEVEL MEXICAN OFFICIALS HELPED TRANSFORM THE MEXICAN STATE OF NAYARIT INTO A NARCO-STATE

On 21 June, the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organised Crime published an article saying that between 2011 and 2017, 3 high-level Mexican officials helped transform the Mexican state of Nayarit into an ‘estado narco’.  However, efforts to bring them to justice have had mixed results, while crime and politics in Nayarit remain as enmeshed as ever, with devastating cost.

https://globalinitiative.net/analysis/mexico-nayarit-corruption-crime/

ACCUSED HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATOR FROM ETHIOPIA ARRESTED ON CHARGE OF FRAUDULENTLY OBTAINING US CITIZENSHIP

A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 21 June advised that a Georgia man, Mezemr Abebe Belayneh, 65, has been arrested on criminal charges related to allegations that he lied during the naturalisation process, including failing to disclose his participation in political persecution during the 1970s Ethiopian Red Terror campaign.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/accused-human-rights-violator-ethiopia-arrested-charge-fraudulently-obtaining-us

US: WOMAN SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS FOR TEACHING AND DISTRIBUTING INFORMATION ABOUT WMD

On 16 June, Homeland Security Today reported that a  New York woman was sentenced to 198 months, about 16½ years, in prison for her role in planning a terrorist attack in the US.  Noelle Velentzas, 33, was convicted of teaching or distributing information pertaining to the making and use of an explosive, destructive device, or WMD in furtherance of a planned federal crime of violence.  She is said to have expressed her support for foreign terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham by learning how to build bombs and other explosive devices and targeting members of law enforcement.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/counterterrorism/woman-sentenced-to-16-years-for-teaching-and-distributing-information-about-weapons-of-mass-destruction/

COUNTERING TERRORIST FINANCING: LESSONS LEARNED FOR TACKLING FAR-RIGHT TERRORISM

On 17 June, an Issue Brief from The Soufan Center in the US points out that, for the most part, over the past 20 years attention has focused on curbing the financial activities of Salafi- jihadist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS.  While the UN’s 1267 Sanctions Committee was founded in 1999, its primary focus was the Taliban and it wasn’t until 9/11 did the Committee rapidly expand the aperture by sanctioning al-Qaeda and associated entities in October 2001. Its recommendations included applying existing policy tools where possible to far-right terrorist financing; adopting “ideologically agnostic” prevention programmes; ensuring adequate operational guidance is available; and increasing engagement between the UN and the private sector.

https://thesoufancenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/TSC-Issue-Brief_June-2021_COUNTERING-TERRORIST-FINANCING.pdf

ISLAMIC STATE RESURGES IN MOZAMBIQUE

On 16 June, article in Foreign Policy says that IS’s newest branch is carving out a foothold in southern Africa — and extracting a huge price in lives and livelihoods along the way. It says that the human toll dwarfs the (steep) financial cost. The violence in Mozambique since 2017 has killed more than 2,500 civilians; and the number of internally displaced people jumped tenfold from 70,000 people in 2020 to 700,000 people in 2021 and continues to rise.

https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/06/16/mozambique-islamic-state-terrorism-france-total/

REPORT: DRUG SMUGGLING IN COMMERCIAL SHIPPING

Dryad Global has produced a report which sets out to explore how drug smuggling is affecting commercial shipping and explore the preventative measures that captains, crew and vessel owners can take to counter the narcotics trade and safeguard their business reputation against illicit trafficking. It explores risk mitigation measures across commercial shipping transits – Prior to port call; While in port; During cargo operations; On completion of cargo operations; Leaving port; and actions on finding drugs.

https://landing.dryadglobal.com/download-dryad-globals-counter-narcotics-report-2021

7 NON-EU COUNTRIES ALIGN THEMSELVES WITH BELARUS SANCTIONS IMPOSED AFTER RYANAIR INCIDENT

On 22 June, Rferl reported that the EU has said that 7 other European states have agreed to deny permission to any aircraft operated by Belarusian air carriers to land in, take off from, or overfly their territories following Minsk’s forced diversion of a passenger flight last month that allowed for the arrest of a dissident journalist.  Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway will “align themselves” with a decision.  The sanctions included asset freezes and visa bans imposed against dozens of officials, lawmakers, and ministers from Lukashenka’s administration and his family members, as well as Belarusian entities.

https://www.rferl.org/a/belarus-eu-sanctions-seven-countries-align-ryanair-flight/31320563.html

SOUTH AFRICA: GUPTAS “USED EXISTING CRIMINAL NETWORKS TO LAUNDER MONEY ABROAD”

On 22 June, News 24 reported that an investigator has told the State Capture Commission of Inquiry that the Gupta enterprise used pre-existing and independent criminal networks to launder its funds abroad.  For a number of years, it is said that the Gupta enterprise made use of vehicles that received payments from contractors to the state, in contracts tainted by state capture. The witness also described the 4 laundry networks identified in his report that operated at the highest level and their structure.  He said that the vast majority of funds that were identified entered into what was called “the Hong Kong/China laundry network”.

https://www.news24.com/news24/SouthAfrica/News/guptas-used-existing-criminal-networks-to-launder-money-abroad-investigator-tells-zondo-commission-20210622

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page, where contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y