THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 11

Avoided the protests – seeing none, but then the heavy traffic could be as bad…

Meanwhile, Covid-19 hasn’t gone away totally, though less reported. The total number of cases since March 2020 is nearing 1 million, as of 6 August the figure stood at 960,300; with 8,434 deaths – 9 more being added in the preceding week. There were 7,906 active cases – the same as a week earlier, although over 5,900 new cases had been reported in the meantime.

11 August 2022

BREXIT: ENFORCING FRENCH COURT JUDGMENTS IN ENGLAND AND WALES

On 9 August, Penningtons Manche Cooper published an article saying that pre-Brexit the enforcement of French judgments in England and Wales was exclusively governed by the so-called ‘European Regime’ for claims instituted after January 2015. This remains for judgments obtained in proceedings issued prior to the UK-EU transition period ending on 31 December 2020.  However, for proceedings instituted after 1 January 2021, there are 2 alternative methods of enforcement, and enforcement under these alternative methods is more technical than under the European Regime. 

https://www.penningtonslaw.com/news-publications/latest-news/2022/navigating-international-disputes-enforcing-french-judgments-in-england-and-wales

MARITIME CRIME IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA 2020-22

On 10 August, Dryad Global issued this report saying that, despite initial concerns, incidents of piracy and sea robbery (PSR) in the region did increase in 2020 but the numbers were much lower than during previous spikes.  The worst PSR black spot was the Singapore Strait where the number of attacks has increased significantly since late 2019.  As 2021 trend lines have continued into 2022, the Singapore Strait continues to be a PSR black spot, while the number of attacks has declined in almost every other part of the region.

http://channel16.dryadglobal.com/piracy-the-pandemic-maritime-crime-in-southeast-asia-2020-22

LIBYA’S ECONOMIC CHAOS WORSENS AS RESULT OF GLOBAL OIL AND GAS SUPPLY CRISIS

On 11 August, Dryad Global reported that Libya sits on the largest known oil reserves in Africa and is heavily dependent on revenues from oil and gas exports.  However, in more recent years, it has been controlled at various points by rebels and the Islamic State (IS) group.It examines why, althoughLibya needs to increase oil production, this is not possible.

http://channel16.dryadglobal.com/libyas-economic-chaos-worsens-as-result-of-global-oil-and-gas-supply-crisis

UK: SMARKETS BETTING EXCHANGE FINED £630,000 FOR AML AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FAILINGS

On 11 August, iGB reported that the Gambling Commission has handed a £630,000 fine to betting exchange Smarkets after identifying a series of AML and social responsibility failings, including letting a player deposit a six-figure sum without appropriate checks.

https://igamingbusiness.com/legal-compliance/smarkets-fined-630000-for-aml-and-social-responsibility-failings

US GOVERNMENT PURSUES MORE AGGRESSIVE ACTION TO CURB ESPIONAGE AT UNIVERSITIES

On 10 August, an article from Sheppard Mullin says that a new report from the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO) thinks the FBI and other agencies are not doing enough to address the espionage threat on US university campuses.  The report urged the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of Commerce to step up their outreach efforts to address the threat, and they have all concurred with GAO’s recommendations.  As a result, US colleges and universities to face yet another organisational risk: an increase in campuses visits by export control and law enforcement agents.  The article summarises the threat involved as being from US export control laws consider the disclosure to non-US persons of technology, software, or technical data to be exports, even if the disclosure occurs in the US.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/u-s-government-pursues-more-aggressive-5601477/

The report is at –

https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-22-105727.pdf

URUGUAY MAKES HISTORIC SEIZURE OF METH BOUND FROM EUROPE

On 10 August, Insight Crime reported that what may have been the largest-ever shipment of European methamphetamine to reach Latin America has been seized in Uruguay, marking a potential turning point in the synthetic drug trade between the two continents.  Uruguayan port and naval authorities seized nearly 43 kg of crystal methamphetamine at the port of Montevideo, concealed within a cargo of second-hand vehicles being shipped to Paraguay from Belgium’s port of Antwerp.

https://insightcrime.org/news/uruguay-historic-seizure-european-meth/

US: CONVICTION OF 2 FORMER PRECIOUS METALS TRADERS AT JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. FOR FRAUD, ATTEMPTED PRICE MANIPULATION, AND SPOOFING 

A release on Mondo Visione on 11 August advised that, between approximately May 2008 and August 2016, the defendants, along with other traders on the JPMorgan precious metals desk, engaged in a widespread spoofing, market manipulation, and fraud scheme.  Deceptive orders were intended to inject false and misleading information about the genuine supply and demand for precious metals futures contracts into the markets.  The article notes that, in September 2020, JPMorgan admitted to committing wire fraud in connection with unlawful trading in the markets for precious metals futures contracts; and unlawful trading in the markets for US Treasury futures contracts and in the secondary (cash) market for US Treasury notes and bonds.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-department-of-justice-former-jp-morgan-traders-convicted-of-fraud-attempt/

UK: 14,000 WORKERS REPORT EMPLOYERS FOR COMMITTING FURLOUGH FRAUD

On 10 August, The Telegraph reported that, during the pandemic, more than a million businesses used taxpayer funds to stay afloat via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, better known as furlough, receiving a total of £70 billion.  However, the system was vulnerable to fictitious claims given the speed at which it was set up and how quickly payments were made to struggling businesses.  HMRC estimates that of the £70 billion given out as part of the two-year scheme, approximately £3.46 billion was lost to fraud and error.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/tax/news/14000-workers-report-employers-committing-furlough-fraud/

US: ART DEALERS, OTHER NON-BANK ENTITIES SUBJECT OF NEW BANK SECRECY ACT AMENDMENT

On 9 August, the National Law Review carried an article about a legislative amendment passed by the House of Representatives (it still needs to get through the Senate and the Act is forms a part of to be signed by the President) – the so-called the ENABLERS Act – that would be the most significant update to US AML regulations since the PATRIOT Act was passed in 2001.  It would change the BSA’s definition of “financial institution” to include trust companies, art dealers, lawyers and other non-bank market participants.  It also proposes to implement additional regulations subjecting these people and service providers to extensive SAR, AML, due diligence, account identification, and client verification requirements.

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/art-dealers-other-non-bank-entities-subject-new-bank-secrecy-act-amendment

RUSSIANS HAVE BEGUN TRAINING ON IRANIAN DRONES

On 10 August, CNN claimed that Russian officials have begun training on drones in Iran, assign that they intended buying them for use in Ukraine.

https://edition.cnn.com/2022/08/09/politics/russia-training-drones-iran/index.html

LIBYA: FAMILY OF KHALIFA HAFTAR LIQUIDATES US PROPERTIES AMID LAWSUIT

On 10 August, Middle East Eye reported that the family of the Libyan commander have been quietly liquidating their portfolio of real estate, selling a multimillion-dollar Virginia home, along with a townhouse and other six-figure properties as legal troubles mount for him.  The sale came less than two weeks after a US judge ordered that a lawsuit accusing the Libyan commander of war crimes move forward, after a pause in legal proceedings that had lasted several months.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/libya-khalifa-haftar-family-us-properties-legal-woes

UK: NCA PUBLISHES SAR BOOKLET OF FEEDBACK ON THE USE OF SAR AND INFORMATION AND UPDATES FROM THE UKFIU

The NCA has issued this Booklet with the aim of sharing perspectives on the use of SAR with participants of the regime; sharing and encouraging best practice among reporters; and providing a feedback mechanism to the UKFIU about the operation of the regime.

https://nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/613-reporter-booklet-august-2022/file

INVESTMENT MANAGER BEHIND £100 MILLION NO-WIN-NO-FEE FRAUD JAILED FOR 14 YEARS

A news release from the SFO on 10 August advised that Timothy Schools, the investment manager for the Cayman Island-based Axiom Legal Financing Fund, had been convicted by a jury on 5 counts of fraudulent trading, fraud by abuse of position and money laundering.

https://www.sfo.gov.uk/2022/08/10/serious-fraud-office-secures-conviction-in-100-million-no-win-no-fee-fraud/

CHINESE AUTHORITIES’ CRACKDOWN: NEARLY 12,000 WILDLIFE CRIME CASES IN 3 MONTHS

On 10 August, the NGO TRAFFIC reported that a multi-departmental ‘2022 Qingfeng Action’ law enforcement operation, coordinated by China’s National Forestry and Grassland Administration (NFGA) targeted illegal wildlife trade at various stages, including harvest, purchase, transport, import/export, and resulted in more than $14.8 million in fines.

https://www.traffic.org/news/chinese-authorities-cracked-down-on-nearly-12-000-wildlife-crime-cases-in-three-months/

HOW DO YOU PROVE A COMMITMENT TO COMPLIANCE?

On 11 August, a post on the always interesting FCPA Blog suggested ways a company  convince prosecutors, regulators, and sentencing judges that it is committed to compliance.

https://fcpablog.com/2022/08/11/how-do-you-prove-a-commitment-to-compliance/

EU BAN ON RUSSIAN COAL IMPORTS BEGINS

On 11 August, Hellenic Shipping News reported that start of the EU ban, with the end of a 4-month wind-down period for existing contracts.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/eu-ban-on-russian-coal-imports-kicks-in-today/

The Economist

SHELL COMPANIES PURCHASE RADIOACTIVE MATERIALS – PROMPTING PUSH FOR NUCLEAR LICENSING REFORM

On 1 0 August, an article in Defense News revealed that last year investigators from the Government Accountability Office, the congressional watchdog, forged a copy of a licence to buy hazardous, radioactive material.  They created shell companies, then placed orders, generated invoices and paid 2 US-based vendors.  The scheme worked.  The employees successfully had the material shipped, complete with radioactive stickers on the side, then confirmed delivery.  This was a test of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s ability to regulate the sale and procurement of dangerous materials.  It has prompted calls for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to overhaul its licensing system as a way to avoid a national security disaster.

https://www.defensenews.com/congress/2022/08/10/shell-companies-purchase-radioactive-materials-prompting-push-for-nuclear-licensing-reform/

A GUIDE TO TRADE SECRETS IN THE UK IN 2022: TRENDS AND DEVELOPMENTS

On 3 August, Gowling WLG published this guide, part of a 17-country global practice guide.  That guide from Chambers focuses on best practices for trade secret protection and provides trade secret owners with the latest legal information on, inter alia, extraterritoriality, misappropriation, industrial espionage, criminal liability, litigation and alternative dispute resolution (ADR), the trial process, remedies, and appeals.

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/guides/2022/trade-secrets-guide-uk-2022-trends-developments/

The full UK guide is available as a pdf at –

https://gowlingwlg.com/getmedia/22914598-006f-4640-8fe3-10d9c27e9b4f/Gowling_WLG_Chambers_Trade_Secrets_UK_2022.pdf.xml

SEC AWARDS 2 WHISTLEBLOWERS MORE THAN $16 MILLION

On 10 August, Fried Frank reported that the SEC had awarded approximately $16 million to 2 unnamed whistleblowers who provided valuable and original information that prompted or promulgated an SEC investigation into misconduct.

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/08/10/2022/sec-awards-two-whistleblowers-more-16-million

https://www.sec.gov/rules/other/2022/34-95443.pdf

UNODC PORT SECURITY TRAINING BRINGS RESULTS WITH INTERCEPTION OF 36 RADIATED TORTOISES IN MADAGASCAR 

On 3 August, a news release from the UN Office on Drugs & Crime said that improving port governance and security can have a deep impact on countering wildlife trafficking, which is why UNODC, through its Global Maritime Crime Programme, trained over 110 officers working at the Madagascar ports of Toamasina and Mahajanga over 4 weeks in June-July 2022. The training had an immediate, concrete impact – a day after the training concluded, a joint team of officers who had attended the training intercepted the smuggling of 36 radiated tortoises, which are native to southern Madagascar and critically endangered.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2022/August/unodc-port-security-training-brings-results-with-interception-of-36-radiated-tortoises-in-madagascar.html

BASIC ELEMENTS OF LETTERS OF INTENT

On 11 August, an article from Lowndes sets out to explain Letters of intent (LOI).  These are used to summarise the material terms of a proposed transaction, typically involving the leasing or sale of real property. Sometimes called term sheets, letters of interest or deal sheets, LOI are usually prepared by one of the parties to the transaction, or by a leasing agent or broker for one of the parties.  LOI are important because they include terms that will be incorporated into a formal and binding lease or sales contract with more detail about the proposed transaction. 

https://www.lowndesleasinglawyers.com/basic-elements-of-letters-of-intent/

LLCInvest NETWORK HOLDS RUSSIAN OLIGARCH ASSETS FROM ST PETERSBURG TO CRIMEA

On 10 August, an article from Kharon said that a network of companies recently given the name “LLCInvest” holds assets worth tens of billions of dollars for Russia’s leading oligarchs, including those closely associated with President Putin.  The network is far larger and more widespread than previously reported.  The LLCInvest network consists of hundreds of interconnected companies, non-profit organisations, shareholders, leaders, managers, properties, and other assets throughout Russia and other countries.

https://brief.kharon.com/updates/llcinvest-network-holds-russian-oligarch-assets-from-st-petersburg-to-crimea

RUSSIAN DEFENCE INDUSTRIES ACQUIRED US TECHNOLOGY THROUGH THIRD-COUNTRY SUPPLY CHAINS

On 8 August, Part 2 of an article from Kharon says that in the years preceding the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Russian companies acquired technology from Western suppliers through intermediaries located in third countries.  It reported on a network that operates across multiple countries to obfuscate the Russian military and intelligence agency end-users that rely on critical western technology, according to OFAC, working “to illicitly procure dual-use equipment and technology for Russia’s defence sector”. 

https://brief.kharon.com/updates/russian-defense-industries-acquired-us-technology-through-third-country-supply-chains

PANAMA: AUTHORITIES SEIZE SEMI-SUBMERSIBLE AND 600 KG DRUGS

On 11 August, La Prensa Panama reported that the National Border Service (Senafront) had captured a semi-submersible with 600 kg of drugs, which is presumed to have been destined for the North American market.  This is the second semi-submersible detained by Panamanian authorities; the first was located in 2018.

https://www.prensa.com/judiciales/agentes-del-senafront-capturan-sumergible-con-600-kilos-de-droga/

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THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 10

Still away, so things may not be quite normal…

Meanwhile, the protests have restarted, and even the Pan-American Highway near here was temporarily closed earlier, but seems OK now.

Perhaps I should be more worried about the gap under the door of the cabin, and the dead snake I saw on the driveway…

10 August 2022

FORMER TWITTER EMPLOYEE CONVICTED OF SPYING FOR SAUDI ARABIA

On 9 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that employee Ahmad Abouammo had been found guilty of spying for Saudi Arabia after passing on private user information associated with critics of the kingdom in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Mr. Abouammo, 44, worked at Twitter from 2013 to 2015 and was also found guilty of money laundering, falsification of records and count of wire fraud.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/former-twitter-employee-convicted-of-spying-for-saudi-arabia-11660076924

US VISA BANS ON 100 BELARUSSIAN OFFICIALS AND AFFILIATES

On 9 August, the US State Department announced the bans for alleged involvement in undermining democratic institutions or impeding the transition to democracy in Belarus.

https://www.state.gov/promoting-accountability-on-the-second-anniversary-of-the-fraudulent-election-in-belarus/

UAE COURT LIFTS PRISON SENTENCE FOR AMERICAN CONVICTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING

On 10 August, Devdiscourse reported that a court had lifted a prison sentence but upheld a conviction on money laundering charges for US citizen and civil rights attorney Asim Ghafoor, who was detained while transiting through Dubai last month.  He was ordered to pay a $1.36 million fine.

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/law-order/2139575-uae-court-lifts-prison-sentence-for-american-convicted-of-money-laundering

RUSSIA IS LOOKING TO REINVIGORATE EFFORTS TO IMPROVE RAIL LINKS WITH IRAN

A Commentary from RUSI on 10 August said that Russia will construct a section of the Rasht-Astara railway in Iran, with the aim of linking up the network between Iran, Azerbaijan, India and Russia.  It gives as reasons sanctions meaning that Russia is no longer able to guarantee that the Western rail network will freely transport its goods, and an over-reliance on China for rail trade creating a power imbalance.

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/backbone-russia-russian-railways-turns-iran

UK BRIEFING: SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA

On 9 August, the House of Commons Library publishing a briefing paper looking at measures announced by the UK in 2014 and 2022.

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CBP-9481/CBP-9481.pdf

US CUSTOMS SEIZE 165,000 PAIRS OF COUNTERFEIT COTTON DIABETIC SOCKS

On 9 August, the Washington Post reported that US Customs & Border Protection had explained that diabetic socks are specialty socks that are non-elastic to reduce pressure and swelling, that eliminate friction that may cause discomfort, and that help keep the patient’s foot dry.  Another shipment of counterfeit socks, valued at nearly $2 million, was seized last month.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/dc-md-va/2022/08/09/fake-socks-shipment-seized-feds/

5 TURKISH BANKS HAVE AGREED TO ACCEPT RUSSIA’S MIR PAYMENTS SYSTEM

On 9 August, Kenneth Rijock warned of potential risks from 5 banks having agreed to accept the Mir system – HALKBANK, ISBANK, ZIRAAT BANK, VIKIFBANK, and DENIZBANK.

https://rijock.blogspot.com/2022/08/alert-these-five-turkish-banks-have.html

GUINEA-BISSAU: STATE INSTITUTIONS HIJACKED BY COCAINE CARTELS

On 9 August, OCCRP said that a new report says that Guinea-Bissau continues to serve as a key cocaine transit point between Latin America and Europe, despite government pledges to clamp down on smuggling.  The report refers to a systematic weakening of the judicial system, resulting in its debilitated capacity to take action against smugglers.  It also claims that the cocaine economy has been facilitated by elite protection networks, which over the years became deeply embedded in Guinea-Bissau’s political architecture, and that elites often turn to illicit markets to supplement public budgets and finance election campaigns.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16652-guinea-bissau-state-institutions-hijacked-by-cocaine-cartels

US: WITHHOLD RELEASE ORDER ON GARMENTS PRODUCED BY NATCHI APPAREL LTD IN INDIA OVER FORCED LABOUR CLAIMS

On 10 August, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that Importers of detained shipments will have an opportunity to export their shipments or submit proof that they were not produced with forced labour.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/august/import-detention-order-targets-garments-from-india-company

INTERPOL CAMPAIGN ON THE USE OF MONEY MULES IN FACILITATING THE MOVEMENT OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDS

On 10 August, INTERPOL announced the launch of a new campaign to raise global awareness and highlight the massive use of money mules in facilitating the movement of criminal proceeds.  The campaign hashtag, #YourAccountYourCrime, clearly reminds the general public that they are responsible for keeping their accounts safe and that there are consequences for moving money on behalf of a third party.  The 2-week campaign over 10-26 August will run on social media and be supported by 34 countries worldwide.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-Events/News/2022/YourAccountYourCrime-Global-campaign-exposes-use-of-money-mules

PERU: POLICE RAID PRESIDENTIAL PALACE OVER ARREST WARRANT FOR PRESIDENT’S SISTER-IN-LAW

On 10 August, Deutsche Welle reported that, after allegations of corruption and money laundering, police are on the lookout for Peruvian President Pedro Castillo’s sister-in-law and searched his residence.  Police had acquired an arrest warrant for Yenifer Paredes, 26, for alleged corruption and money laundering. 

https://www.dw.com/en/peru-police-raid-presidential-palace-over-arrest-warrant-for-presidents-sister-in-law/a-62763738

CRYPTO CRIMINALS LAUNDERED $540 MILLION BY USING A SERVICE CALLED RENBRIDGE

On 10 August, CNBC said that a new report claimedthat RenBridge had been used to launder at least $540 million in crime-related crypto cash since 2020, with cross-chain bridges being used to send digital assets across blockchains, bypassing a centralised service that can trace transactions.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/10/crypto-criminals-laundered-540-million-using-renbridge-elliptic-says.html

ISRAEL: MAYOR ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF BRIBERY, FRAUD AND BREACH OF TRUST

On 10 August, the Times of Insrael reported that an unnamed mayor, a municipality’s director-general and 2 businesspeople have been detained by a police anti-corruption unit.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/mayor-arrested-on-suspicion-of-bribery-fraud-and-breach-of-trust/

COMPLYING WITH OFAC’S TORNADO CASH SANCTIONS: KEY QUESTIONS AND CHALLENGES

On 9 August, Elliptic issued a Q&A outlining some key questions and issues related to the Tornado Cash sanctions imposed by OFAC, and offering thoughts on how compliance teams can respond. 

https://hub.elliptic.co/analysis/complying-with-ofac-s-tornado-cash-sanctions-key-questions-and-challenges/

BANGLADESH BANK HEIST: PHILIPPINES CASINO OWNER GETS ACCOUNTS UNFROZEN

On 8 August, Casino.org reported that the Philippines Court of Appeals has upheld an order to unfreeze the bank accounts of a Chinese Filipino casino owner embroiled in the 2016 theft.  The casino had received $21 million wired by a local foreign exchange brokerage service used for remittances.  The money was part of the $101 million stolen by cybercriminals from the Bangladesh Bank’s account at the New York Federal Reserve Bank using malware.  The casino owner told a Philippine Senate tribunal he had been told to expect the money by 2 high-rolling junket agents, and claimed that the 2 men owed him $10 million in gambling debts, with the remaining $11 million being distributed among their junket clients.  The casino owner was cleared by the tribunal and has repaid $15 million back to the Bangladesh Bank.

https://www.casino.org/news/bangladesh-bank-heist-casino-owner-gets-accounts-unfrozen/

IRAN PLACES FIRST CRYPTO-FUNDED IMPORT ORDER

On 9 August, Coindesk reported that the government had amended the country’s digital assets laws 2 years ago to allow locally mined crypto to be used for imports payments.  The import order is said to be worth $10 million.

https://www.coindesk.com/business/2022/08/09/iran-places-first-crypto-funded-import-order-worth-10m-report/

US PRIVATE MILITARY AND SECURITY COMPANIES (PMSC) AND THE RISKS OF CORRUPTION AND CONFLICT

On 9 August, a new report from Transparency International catalogues conflict and corruption around the word – harm it says is caused by leaving the privatisation of national security to grow and operate without proper regulation.  It argues that exploitation of global conflicts is becoming a bloodier business.  Most private military and security firms are registered in the US, so Transparency International is calling on Congress to take a leading role in pushing through meaningful reforms under its jurisdiction when draft legislation faces review in September. The time has also come, it says, for accreditation standards to be enforced rather than only encouraged, at both a national and international level.

https://ti-defence.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Hidden-Costs-US-Private-Military-and-Security-Companies-and-the-Risks-of-Corruption-and-Conflict-Web-PDF.pdf

KIM JONG UN MEGAYACHT SPOTTED AT SECLUDED BEACH WHILE LEADER OUT OF PUBLIC VIEW

On 10 August, NK Pro reported that satellite imagery showing the vessel near new mansions on east coast is a sign that Kim is vacationing.  The 180-foot (55-metre) megayacht was moored at a beach on the Hodo Peninsula north of Wonsan.  He is said to have other boats, including the largest, a 260-foot (80-metre) craft featuring an Olympic-sized pool and multi-story lounge.

https://www.nknews.org/pro/kim-jong-un-megayacht-spotted-at-secluded-beach-while-leader-out-of-public-view/

DHS ADDS ENTITIES AND SETS PROCESSES TO REMOVE AND ADD ENTITIES TO THE UYGHUR FORCED LABOR PREVENTION ACT ENTITY LIST

On 9 August, Crowell reported that the Department of Homeland Security had added entities to the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act’s (UFLPA’s) Entity List, which serves as a consolidated register of the 4 lists, as required by the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act.  At the same time, DHS also provided the process for listed entities to submit requests for removal from the UFLPA Entity List.  The Act went into effect on 21 June and requires US Customs and Border Protection to “apply a rebuttable presumption that goods mined, produced, or manufactured by entities on the UFLPA Entity List are made with forced labour, and therefore, prohibited from importation into the US”.

https://www.cmtradelaw.com/2022/08/dhs-adds-entities-and-sets-processes-to-remove-and-add-entities-to-the-uyghur-forced-labor-prevention-act-entity-list/

PODCAST: “VERY BAD PEOPLE”

In the latest TRACE podcast, Patrick Alley, co-founder of Global Witness and author of “Very Bad People: The Inside Story of the Fight Against the World Network of Corruption”, joins the podcast to discuss the early days of his Global Witness investigations, how their efforts gained momentum and where we should be focusing our attention next.

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

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  At Buy me a Coffee one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

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NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!

US PRIVATE MILITARY AND SECURITY COMPANIES (PMSC) AND THE RISKS OF CORRUPTION AND CONFLICT

On 9 August, a new report from Transparency International catalogues conflict and corruption around the word – harm it says is caused by leaving the privatisation of national security to grow and operate without proper regulation.  It argues that exploitation of global conflicts is becoming a bloodier business.  Most private military and security firms are registered in the US, so Transparency International is calling on Congress to take a leading role in pushing through meaningful reforms under its jurisdiction when draft legislation faces review in September. The time has also come, it says, for accreditation standards to be enforced rather than only encouraged, at both a national and international level.

https://ti-defence.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Hidden-Costs-US-Private-Military-and-Security-Companies-and-the-Risks-of-Corruption-and-Conflict-Web-PDF.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  At Buy me a Coffee one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!

COMPLYING WITH OFAC’S TORNADO CASH SANCTIONS: KEY QUESTIONS AND CHALLENGES

On 9 August, Elliptic issued a Q&A outlining some key questions and issues related to the Tornado Cash sanctions imposed by OFAC, and offering thoughts on how compliance teams can respond. 

https://hub.elliptic.co/analysis/complying-with-ofac-s-tornado-cash-sanctions-key-questions-and-challenges/

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  At Buy me a Coffee one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!

CRYPTO CRIMINALS LAUNDERED $540 MILLION BY USING A SERVICE CALLED RENBRIDGE

On 10 August, CNBC said that a new report claimedthat RenBridge had been used to launder at least $540 million in crime-related crypto cash since 2020, with cross-chain bridges being used to send digital assets across blockchains, bypassing a centralised service that can trace transactions.

https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/10/crypto-criminals-laundered-540-million-using-renbridge-elliptic-says.html

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  At Buy me a Coffee one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!

THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 9

As you might have guessed, out and about on the road again – so things might not be as good or comprehensive as susual (if they ever are), and once more struggling with the laptop – why of the several in the house is this one I end up with when away from home?

Hoping to avoid the restarted road blocking protests when we head home – they are due to begin again from tomorrow – though the odd road block might help curb the breakneck speed of the local “coaster” minibuses on the route we are using. That said, it is a good way to get a feel for the local communities and people to use the public transport – which I always try to do whereever I go. Panama is no different from other places I have been in at least one way – people getting on the bus in rural areas tend to say hello when they get on, which you never encounter in a city.

9 AUGUST 2022

RUSSIA ADDS 62 CANADIANS TO SANCTIONS TRAVEL BAN 

On 9 August, the EU Sanctions blog reported that Russia had added a further 62 Canadians to its travel ban list on 5 August. 

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/08/russia-bars-62-canadian-citizens-from-entry/

WHERE IN THE WORLD ARE RUSSIANS GOING TO AVOID SANCTIONS? THE UAE 

On 9 August, an article from VOX answered its own question.  For years, sanctioned businessmen close to Putin have been investing big in the UAE’s luxury real estate, and recently it has become a sanctuary for yachts. 

https://www.vox.com/world/23283965/russia-sanctions-united-arab-emirates-dubai-emirates-finance-money-yachts

RUSSIA STARTS STRIPPING JETLINERS FOR PARTS AS SANCTIONS BITE 

On 9 August, Reuters reported that Russian airlines, including state-controlled Aeroflot, are stripping jetliners to secure spare parts they can no longer buy abroad because of Western sanctions, industry sources have told Reuters. 

https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/exclusive-russia-starts-stripping-jetliners-parts-sanctions-bite-2022-08-08/

UAE TIGHTENS REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT RULES 

On 8 August, the Khaleej Times reported that the UAE has tightened real estate investment rules and asked the property agents, brokers, and law firms to report cash transactions worth Dh55,000 and above to the FIU. 

https://www.khaleejtimes.com/uae/uae-issues-new-reporting-requirements-for-real-estate-transactions

WHAT CAN COMPLIANCE PROFESSIONALS LEARN FROM HM TREASURY’S LATEST AML/CFT REVIEW? 

An article in Finextra in Ireland on 9 August posed this question, saying that in June, HM Treasury published its “Review of the UK’s AML/CFT regulatory and supervisory regime”. The article sets out to provide some initial observations from the Review, before delving into the some of the detail and extracting some points of interest and key learning points, with a particular focus on new technologies. 

https://www.finextra.com/the-long-read/459/what-can-compliance-professionals-learn-from-hm-treasurys-latest-amlcft-review

CENTRAL BANK OF IRELAND – ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING BULLETIN FOR THE FUNDS SECTOR: FINDINGS AND EXPECTATIONS 

On 9 August, an article from Walkers said that the Central Bank of Ireland had published a bulletin which details its findings and expectations across certain key areas – corporate governance; AML/CFT/FS business risk assessment; outsourced AML/CFT/FS activities; and customer due diligence (CDD).  

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/54a08cd7-ba12-42f1-90ae-b185a4071a16.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1660046872&Signature=UbNpjHFafO%2F89ATqugBb7GLUsQY%3D

WAS LEBANON THE WORLD’S BIGGEST PONZI SCHEME? 

On 9 August, an article in Eurasia Review reported that the World Bank had published a scathing report on Lebanon’s financial crisis and alleged acts of deception that appear to have made the country’s economic collapse inevitable.  The report compares the Mediterranean country’s economic model since 1993 to a Ponzi scheme.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/09082022-was-lebanon-the-worlds-biggest-ponzi-scheme-analysis/

The report can be found at – 

https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/08/02/lebanon-s-ponzi-finance-scheme-has-caused-unprecedented-social-and-economic-pain-to-the-lebanese-people

COLOMBIA: ACCUSED PARAMILITARY DRUG LORD GUILLERMO LEÓN ACEVEDO GIRALDO (“MEMO FANTASMA”) FREED PRISON IN BOGOTÁ, RELEASED FROM PRE-TRIAL DETENTION 

On 8 August, Insight Crime reported that this was despite being seen as a flight risk and amid indications of corruption and witness-tampering.  He is facing charges of money laundering and criminal conspiracy, and he could be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison if found guilty. His trial is set to continue in October. 

https://insightcrime.org/news/memo-fantasma-freed-from-colombian-prison/

AUSTRALIA: UPDATED AML/CFT COMPLIANCE E-LEARNING FROM AUSTRAC 

https://elearn.austrac.gov.au/ 

30 LOOTED ANTIQUITIES RETURNED TO KINGDOM OF CAMBODIA

On 9 August, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised of the return of 30 antiquities to the Kingdom of Cambodia, which were stolen as part of an organized looting network and sold by antiquities dealer, Douglas Latchford.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/30-looted-antiquities-returned-kingdom-cambodia

US ACTION AGAINST CHINESE CABLE MANUFACTURER FOR VIOLATING US EXPORT CONTROLS

Pn 9 August, KPMG reported that the Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) of the U.S. Department of Commerce issued an administrative charging letter against a Chinese company alleging violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) for causing, aiding, and/or abetting violations of the EAR.  It is alleged that in 2014-16 the cable manufacturer served as a “cut-out” between a Chinese technology company, that was under investigation by the US Government for EAR violations at the time, and Iranian telecommunications companies.

https://home.kpmg/us/en/home/insights/2022/08/tnf-us-bis-charging-letter-chinese-cable-manufacturer-violating-us-export-controls.html

KPMG E-INVOICING AND DIGITAL REPORTING GLOBAL UPDATE

On 9 August, KPMG released its latest update.

https://tax.kpmg.us/content/dam/tax/en/pdfs/2022/e-invoicing-digital-reporting-global-updates.pdf

A CASE FOR MORE OVERSIGHT OF MILITARY AID TO UKRAINE

An Issue Brief from the Arms Control Association on 9 August made this argument, pointing out that the US alone has committed $9.8 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since the beginning of the Biden Administration.  It notes that the EU launched a new platform in July to discuss how to prepare to tackle organized crime in connection with the war in Ukraine, and it was announced that the main subject on the agenda was illegal arms smuggling of weapons originally sent to the Ukrainian armed forces.  Europol has also stated that it was working with Ukrainian officials to reduce the risk of illegal arms trafficking into the European Union.

https://www.armscontrol.org/issue-briefs/2022-08/case-more-oversight-military-aid-ukraine

US: HOW DOMESTIC EXTREMISTS ARE EMBRACING CRYPTOCURRENCY

An article in Homeland Security Today on 4 August said that America’s domestic extremists are flocking to cryptocurrency and have raised millions of dollars from crypto donations over the last several years.  It says that research highlights 3 important ways that domestic extremists use cryptocurrencies- they receive donations from supporters for content they produce; they take cryptocurrency as payment for merchandise, often exists alongside more traditional payment methods, supplementing rather than supplanting credit cards, debit cards, and other forms of payment; and they solicit cryptocurrency to support their operations, for legal defence, purchasing supplies (including VPN), or providing support to a group or to individuals.

https://www.hstoday.us/featured/profit-of-hate-how-domestic-extremists-are-embracing-cryptocurrency/

AL-QAIDA IN THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT: AN APPRAISAL OF THE THREAT IN THE WAKE OF THE TALIBAN TAKEOVER OF AFGHANISTAN

An article in the August edition of the CTC Sentinel says that, having set its eyes particularly on India and the contested Kashmir region, Al-Qaida and its regional affiliate in the Indian subcontinent (AQIS) are currently pushing out targeted propaganda to recruit new operatives and to instigate new insurgencies in the region.  Although it was founded almost 8 years ago, AQIS remains the newest formal affiliate of the global network.

https://ctc.westpoint.edu/al-qaida-in-the-indian-subcontinent-an-appraisal-of-the-threat-in-the-wake-of-the-taliban-takeover-of-afghanistan/

UK CORRECTS 1 ENTRY ON NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS LIST

On 9 August, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that the entry relating to Mun CHO’NG-CH’O’L had been amended.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1097036/Notice_Democratic_People_s_Republic_of_Korea_090822.pdf

UK: FINANCIAL TRADING FIRM IS SUING ACCOUNTING FIRM MAZARS OVER THE ITS REFUSAL TO PROVIDE PAYROLL SERVICES BECAUSE THE OWNER IS A RUSSIAN CITIZEN

On 9 August, the EU Sanctions blog reported on the case involving XTX Markets.  The owner in question is Alexander Gerko, who is a dual Russian and UK citizen and is not designated under any sanctions regime.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/08/xtx-markets-alleges-discrimination-against-russian-owner/

UK: CRIMINAL BAR ASSOCIATION IS BALLOTING MEMBERS ON WHETHER TO MAINTAIN THE CURRENT INDUSTRIAL ACTION OR CALL STRIKE

On 9 August, the Law Society Gazette reported that the Associations is asking members whether to maintain the current action – alternating weeks of strike action combined with a refusal to accept new instructions and ‘returned’ cases – or escalate it.  This comes after it emerged that the government is refusing to budge on legal aid funding.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/criminal-bar-balloted-on-uninterrupted-strike-action/5113379.article

COURT OF APPEAL: CLIENTS DO NOT OWE SOLICITORS DUTY OF GOOD FAITH

On 9 August, the Law Society Gazette reported that retainers do not contain an implied term that their client will act in good faith, the Court of Appeal has ruled in an appeal by a London law firm.  It was said that there is no authority that supports the proposition that, when retaining a solicitor to act for him or for her, the client owed that solicitor a duty of good faith.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/clients-do-not-owe-solicitors-duty-of-good-faith-court-of-appeal-rules/5113311.article

A FORMER SOLICITOR WHO DISHONESTLY FUNNELLED NEARLY £20 MILLION OF INVESTORS’ MONEY FROM THE CAYMANS-BASED AXIOM LEGAL FINANCING FUND INTO HIS OWN POCKET HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF FRAUD

On 9 August, the Law Society Gazette reported that Timothy Schools, 61, received ‘just over £19.5 million’ from the fund, which was valued at around £120 million before it collapsed in October 2012.  It was said that the fund was set up to lend money to firms pursuing no-win no-fee claims – but made loans in 2009 only to ATM Solicitors, so-called because he used it as ‘his personal cash machine’.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/axiom-fund-solicitor-faces-prison-after-fraud-conviction-/5113386.article

IRELAND: THE COMPANIES (CORPORATE ENFORCEMENT AUTHORITY) ACT 2021 AND PERSONAL PUBLIC SERVICE NUMBERS (PPSN)

An Article from Eversheds Sutherland on 5 August said that the objective of changes contained in the Act is to validate the identity of directors to improve the accuracy and integrity of company information held on the Register of Companies and to reduce fraud and identity theft, in efforts to assist the recently-established Corporate Enforcement Authority in cracking down on corporate white collar crime in Ireland.

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

COLOMBIA HAS DETECTED $20 BILLION LIKELY TIED TO MONEY LAUNDERING

On 9 August, FX Empire reported that Colombia’s financial crimes unit, intensifying efforts to catch fraud, has detected some $20 billion in financial operations potentially tied to money laundering over the last 3½ years.  The figure is equivalent to more than 6% of Colombia’s annual GDP.

https://www.fxempire.com/news/article/colombia-has-detected-20-billion-likely-tied-to-money-laundering-official-1091481

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  At Buy me a Coffee one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!

UK: FINANCIAL TRADING FIRM IS SUING ACCOUNTING FIRM MAZARS OVER THE ITS REFUSAL TO PROVIDE PAYROLL SERVICES BECAUSE THE OWNER IS A RUSSIAN CITIZEN

On 9 August, the EU Sanctions blog reported on the case involving XTX Markets.  The owner in question is Alexander Gerko, who is a dual Russian and UK citizen and is not designated under any sanctions regime.

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2022/08/xtx-markets-alleges-discrimination-against-russian-owner/

WAS LEBANON THE WORLD’S BIGGEST PONZI SCHEME?

On 9 August, an article in Eurasia Review reported that the World Bank had published a scathing report on Lebanon’s financial crisis and alleged acts of deception that appear to have made the country’s economic collapse inevitable.  The report compares the Mediterranean country’s economic model since 1993 to a Ponzi scheme.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/09082022-was-lebanon-the-worlds-biggest-ponzi-scheme-analysis/

The report can be found at –

https://www.worldbank.org/en/news/press-release/2022/08/02/lebanon-s-ponzi-finance-scheme-has-caused-unprecedented-social-and-economic-pain-to-the-lebanese-people

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  At Buy me a Coffee one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

NOTE THAT THE ABOVE LINK IS NOW CORRECTED AND WORKS!

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 8

Well, things may have seemed to die down, and the teachers are back at work, but it is reported that road protests are scheduled to restart (where they in fact had ended…) on Wednesday, 10 August, with Single Union of Construction and Similar Workers (Suntracs) having announced nationwide protest actions . We are due to be away then, so might have problems getting back. We’ll see.

Meanwhile, ex-President Martinelli, despite he and wife having sued the La Prensa newspaper for reporting that the tax authorities were investigating his affairs, and denying such a thing was happening, is nevertheless launching an action to stop the investigation that he says is not happening…

It is also reported that David McCulloch, who wrote the award-winning story of the Panama Canal – “A Path Between Two Seas: The Creation of the Panama Canal” – has died.

8 AUGUST 2022

GREEK WIRETAPPING SCANDAL

On 6 August, Ekathimerini reported on claims that the phone of Nikos Androulakis, an MEP who is the leader of the opposition socialist PASOK party, had been bugged.  In the aftermath, the prime minister’s chief of staff (who is also the PM’s nephew) and the head of the intelligence service resigned.  Government officials claimed that the “legal wiretapping” of Androulakis was carried out at the request of the Ukrainian and Armenian intelligence services, implying the MEP was being spied on because he is too close to Russia and Turkey. 

https://www.ekathimerini.com/news/1190722/wiretapping-case-the-phone-data-that-triggered-developments

AUSTRALIAN COMMUNICATIONS AND MEDIA AUTHORITY FORMAL WARNING TO A SUPPLIER FOR PROVIDING GAMING SOFTWARE TO 13 ILLEGAL ONLINE CASINOS

On 8 August, iGB reported that the ACMA had issued its first formal warning, saying that Proxous Advanced Solutions was knowingly involved in the provision of prohibited interactive gambling services to Australians.

https://igamingbusiness.com/legal-compliance/acma-warns-proxous-for-providing-software-to-illegal-casino-sites

US REGULATORS TO SHUT DOWN POLITICAL BETTING SITE PREDICTIT

On 8 August, iGB reported that there is a federal ban on online gambling on election results, but that nonetheless PredictIt, a not-for-profit project run by the Victoria University of Wellington, a New Zealand-based research institution, had been allowed to operate.  This had made it effectively the only regulated political betting site in the US, as well as the only cross-state betting exchange regulated in the US.

https://igamingbusiness.com/legal-compliance/legal/us-regulators-to-shut-down-political-betting-site-predictit

FIRST CONVOY OF SHIPS CARRYING UKRAINIAN GRAIN LEAVES ODESSA

On 5 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that the convoy consisting of the bulk carriers Navi Star, Rojen and Polarnet and left Odessa on 5 August carrying nearly 60,000 tons of corn. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/first-convoy-of-ships-carrying-ukrainian-grain-leave-odessa-under-new-deal-11659697193

https://www.rferl.org/a/two-more-ships-grain-exports-ukraine-ports/31978431.html

ERICSSON SUED BY US TERROR VICTIMS OVER ALLEGED IRAQ BRIBE PAYMENTS

On 5 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that Ericsson is being sued by hundreds of Americans who say the company’s alleged payment of bribes to Al Qaeda and Islamic State — protection money meant to let it operate in Iraq — also helped fund acts of terror.  It faces claims from more than 500 US service members and civilians who were victims of terrorist attacks and hostage takings from 2005 to 2021, along with the families of those killed in attacks.  In February, it announced that it had found “serious breaches of compliance rules” in Iraq, including evidence of corruption-related misconduct, and in 2019 paid about $1 billion to settle with US prosecutors over allegations of bribery in 5 countries, a deal that didn’t include any conduct in Iraq.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ericsson-sued-by-u-s-terror-victims-over-alleged-iraq-bribe-payments-11659733912

THE RUSSIAN IMPERIAL MOVEMENT (RIM): A PUTIN REGIME PROXY

On 7 August, C/O Future published a post about this organisation, formed in 2002, with deep links into the KGB (and later FSB).  It is described as a right wing and Russian nationalist/white extremist organisation whose policies and actions closely support the Putin regime even though it claims in its narratives to be directly opposed to it.  It operates within Russia, train foreign fighters supporting Russian separatists in the Donbas and Luhansk, and even send fighters in direct support of Russian combat operations taking place abroad.

https://www.cofutures.net/post/the-russian-imperial-movement-rim-a-putin-regime-proxy-promoting-autocratic-terrorism-insurgency

RUSSIA BARS EXXON AND OTHER WESTERN INVESTORS FROM SELLING SHARES IN STRATEGIC BUSINESSES

On 5 August, the Wall Street Journal reported that Russia has barred investors from nations it deems unfriendly from selling shares in certain strategic enterprises through to the end of the year.  It is said to be part of a range of special measures being enacted in the sphere of finance and fuel and energy.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/russia-bars-exxon-and-other-western-investors-from-selling-shares-in-strategic-businesses-11659726644

US: APPLYING THE BANK SECRECY ACT, FINCEN REGULATIONS, AND SANCTIONS TO THE NASCENT NFT MARKET

On 4 August, Baker Hostetler LLP published a briefing saying that NFT often involve 2 areas with known money laundering and terrorist financing risks: cryptocurrencies and high-value assets, like art.  Recent actions and statements from Congress also show an increased AML focus on the art world, suggesting that the industry may be subject to more AML regulation, as are other industries with high-value assets, like precious metals, stones, and jewels.  It comments on insights into the AML considerations that NFT market participants should bear in mind and what precautions they may wish to take currently.

https://www.bakerlaw.com/files/blockchain/5-Applying%20the%20Bank%20Secrecy%20Act%20FinCEN%20Regulations%20and%20Sanctions.pdf

HORIZON SCANNER: FINANCIAL CRIME US

On 5 August, Eversheds Sutherland published the latest edition of this publication that warns of immediate, short-term and longer-term developments.

https://us.eversheds-sutherland.com/portalresource/lookup/poid/Z1tOl9NPluKPtDNIqLMRV56Pab6TfzcRXncKbDtRr9tObDdEra3EnG3!/fileUpload.name=/Financial%20Crime%20Horizon%20Scanner%20-%20US.pdf

UK: DIRECTOR DISQUALIFICATION ACTION AGAINST DISSOLVED COMPANIES

On 2 August, Weightmans LLP published an article saying that the Insolvency Service, has recently used its new powers to disqualify 3 former directors for dissolving their companies.  The new powers enable it to disqualify former directors who abuse the company dissolution process, and these provisions apply where the relevant company has been dissolved without initiating a formal insolvency process.  It published an earlier brief warning of the implications of this new legislation.

https://www.weightmans.com/insights/directors-beware/

https://www.weightmans.com/insights/directors-beware-new-disqualification-rules-to-curb-abuse-of-the-company-dissolution-process/

US STATE DEPARTMENT FACTSHEETS – THE US AND ASEAN NATIONS AND CAMBODIA

The State Department has issued 2 factsheets on the 2 and 3 August.

https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-asean-relationship/

https://www.state.gov/the-united-states-cambodia-relationship/

INDIA’S NEW HYPERSONIC MISSILE RELIES ON RUSSIAN TECH

On 4 August, the Asia Times reported that India’s new BrahMos II hypersonic missile may feature technology used in Russia’s Tsirkon hypersonic weapon, jointly developed by India’s Defense and Research Development Organization (DRDO) and Russia’s NPO Mashinostroyeniya.  It is said that BrahMos II will not be exported, as India is a party to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), meaning India can develop missiles with ranges of more than 300 km and a weight of more than 500 kg but cannot sell such weapons to third countries.

https://asiatimes.com/2022/08/indias-new-hypersonic-relies-on-russian-tech/

DRONES USED BY IRAN-BACKED MILITIAS ARE COMING FROM CHINA

On 5 August, Al-Monitor reported US claims that unmanned drones fired by Iran-backed militias at targets across the Middle East in recent years are being supplied from China.  The article also says that Iran is not thought to have purchased Chinese military drones, but has its own, which it has sought to export.  As for other Middle East States, Saudi Arabia is said to have purchased China’s Wing Loong II and CH-4 drones starting in 2014, while the UAE is thought to have obtained the Wing Loong in 2011.  Iraq and Jordan are also believed to have a small number of CH-4B, and Algeria, Egypt and Pakistan have also reportedly acquired military drones from China.

https://www.al-monitor.com/originals/2022/08/drones-used-iran-backed-militias-are-coming-china-us-says

EGYPT EMERGES AS NEW MARKET FOR KOREAN ARMS EXPORTS

On 5 August, the Korea Times reported that, following a massive arms deal with Poland, Korea has now set its eyes on Egypt.

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2022/08/205_333963.html

4 MORE RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRES LOSE CYPRIOT CITIZENSHIP

On 8 August, Schengen Visa reported that authorities have announced that 4 more Russian billionaires will lose their citizenship in Cyprus, acquired through the Golden Passport scheme, after they have been blacklisted by the EU following the invasion of Ukraine.  In  April, a statement said that a total of 11 members of Russian billionaire’s families would lose their citizenship.  Following the Cypriot government policy, the names of persons affected by the recent decision have not been published.

https://www.schengenvisainfo.com/news/four-more-russian-billionaires-lose-cypriot-citizenship-following-eu-sanctions/

HONG KONG POLICE SEIZE 126 KITTENS AND PUPPIES SMUGGLED BY SPEEDBOAT INTO CITY FROM MAINLAND CHINA

On 8 August, the South China Morning Post reported that all of the kittens and puppies are expensive breeds and only a few months old, with each animal able to fetch thousands of dollars at least.  It was the third smuggling case involving kittens and puppies being shipped into Hong Kong from the mainland this year.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3188155/hong-kong-police-seize-126-kittens-and-puppies

ISLE OF MAN: COMPANIES MUST COMPLY WITH RUSSIAN COURT ORDER

On 8 August, Isle of Man Today reported that the High Court has ruled that 2 island-based companies must comply with a bankruptcy order issued by a court in Russia, in a case which has its origins in Russia.  The case went to the island’s courts because there are assets in the Isle of Man. 

https://www.iomtoday.co.im/news/courts/manx-companies-must-comply-with-russian-court-order-558431

PwC FINED £1.75 MILLION OVER BT AUDIT FOLLOWING ‘FRAUD IN ITS ITALIAN OPERATIONS’

On 8 August, Telecoms.com reported that PwC was fined by the Financial Reporting Council over its work in auditing BT, following the identification of fraud in its Italian operations.  It says that, apparently PwC and Audit Engagement Partner Richard Hughes each admitted ‘breaches of Relevant Requirements in relation to the audit of adjustments between the current and prior years disclosed by BT in its financial statements for the financial year ended 31 March 2017 (FY17 Financial Statements) which were made following the identification of a fraud in its Italian operations in 2016’.

https://telecoms.com/516906/pwc-fined-1-75-million-over-bt-audit-following-fraud-in-its-italian-operations/

NEW FORCED LABOUR REQUIREMENTS FOR MEMBERS OF THE CUSTOMS TRADE PARTNERSHIP AGAINST TERRORISM (C-TPAT)

On 8 August, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that US Customs and Border Protection has announced new minimum security criteria related to forced labour that members of the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism will be required to comply with.

https://www.strtrade.com/trade-news-resources/str-trade-report/trade-report/august/new-forced-labor-requirements-announced-for-ctpat-members

PAKISTAN FINDS EX-PM IMRAN KHAN’S PARTY RECEIVED MONEY FROM ABROAD

On 8 August, OCCRP reported that Pakistan’s elections monitoring body said it found that the party of former Prime Minister Imran Khan has received millions of dollars in donations from the US, UK, UAE and Australia which could be against the law.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/16649-pakistan-finds-ex-pm-imran-khan-s-party-received-money-from-abroad

CANADA: TEMPORARY IMPORT BAN ON HANDGUNS

On 5 August, Jurist reported that the ban will become active on 19 August and will cover weapons like pistols or revolvers that are designed to be shot with one hand.  The majority of handguns sold in Canada are imported, so the ban is expected to virtually end all handgun sales.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2022/08/canada-temporarily-bans-handgun-imports/

AUSTRALIA: CONSULTATION ON A MULTINATIONAL TAX INTEGRITY PACKAGE TO ADDRESS THE TAX AVOIDANCE PRACTICES OF MULTINATIONAL ENTERPRISES (MNE) AND IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY THROUGH BETTER PUBLIC REPORTING OF MNE TAX INFORMATION

On 5 August, the Treasury reported that the consultation forms part of the Government’s commitment to ensuring that MNE pay their fair share of tax in Australia to help fund vital services, repair the Budget and level the playing field for Australian businesses.

https://treasury.gov.au/consultation/c2022-297736

SPANISH DRUG CONVICTION COUNTS FOR LITTLE IN ALBANIA

On 5 August, Balkan Insight reported that, for years, Albanian authorities failed to probe the wealth and connections of 2 Albanians convicted of drug trafficking in Spain.  They have ever found themselves in the crosshairs of Albania’s ‘anti-mafia law’ – designed to dig into unexplained wealth and seize the proceeds of crime – despite widespread evidence that the Albanian construction sector is rife with laundered money.  One of the brothers is heavily involved in the sector.  Under a new name, in 2014, 4 years after fleeing his prison sentence in Spain, he founded his first business in Albania and expanded from concrete to high-end housing developments, plasterboard production and mining.

https://balkaninsight.com/2022/08/05/the-buccaneers-spanish-drug-conviction-counts-for-little-in-albania/

THE UK TRUMPETS NEW REGISTER TO REIN IN KLEPTOCRATS BUT IT’S 6 YEARS LATE AND RIDDLED WITH LOOPHOLES

On 3 August, Coda published an article by Oliver Bullough about the new UK law that provides that anyone wishing to deal in British property with a foreign-registered company will have to declare who owns it.

https://www.codastory.com/newsletters/uk-kleptocrats-properties/

SINGAPORE: 2 E-SPORTS PLAYERS CHARGED WITH MATCH-FIXING, GAMBLING DURING TOURNAMENT

On 5 August, Channel News Asia reported that 2 men linked with professional e-sports have been charged with gambling and fixing a match during an online tournament.  They are said to have committed the offences during a 2020 tournament featuring the game, Valorant. 

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/e-sports-charged-match-fixing-gambling-valorant-cpib-2860816

UK: MAN ARRESTED IN DAIGOU SHOPPING MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION

On 4 August, a news release from NCA advised that a 35-year-old Chinese national has been arrested in Teesside as part of a NCA investigation into a suspected Chinese underground banking network.  The case is said to involve so-called Daigou shopping, where high value retail items such as watches, jewellery or designer goods are purchased in the UK and then shipped to China to be re-sold.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/man-arrested-in-daigou-shopping-money-laundering-investigation

UAE ISSUES NEW REPORTING RULES FOR REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS TO COMBAT MONEY LAUNDERING

On 8 August, The National reported that UAE has introduced new reporting requirements for “certain real estate transactions” conducted in the country to fight money laundering and terrorism financing.  All real estate agents, brokers and law firms are required to file reports to the FIU on the purchase and sale transactions of freehold properties that involve 3 methods of payment, whether for a portion or the entirety of the property value.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/business/property/2022/08/08/uae-issues-new-reporting-rules-for-real-estate-transactions-to-combat-money-laundering/

US AND EU IMPORTS OF RUSSIAN URANIUM AND ENRICHMENT SERVICES COULD STOP

On 5 August, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists reported that imports of Russian uranium and uranium enrichment services could stop.  This is a shift that has already started spontaneously.  It explains how a complete transition away from Russian nuclear services could happen.  It explains that, in 2021, Russia provided US nuclear utilities with 14% of their uranium purchases and 28% of their enrichment services.  In 2020, EU utilities imported 20% of their natural uranium and 26% of their enrichment services from Russia.  Combined, annual US and EU imports earn Russia only on the order of $1 billion per year.

https://thebulletin.org/2022/08/us-and-eu-imports-of-russian-uranium-and-enrichment-services-could-stop

WIFE OF SLAIN TEXAS TRUCKING MAGNATE NOW CHARGED IN MASSIVE FRAUD

On 5 August, Freightwaves reported that a woman convicted of killing her husband while chasing his mistress on a highway in 2016 has been charged with felony fraud relating to the company they co-owned.  Frances Hall, 59, provided false payroll information over a 7-year period to avoid more than $9 million in insurance premium payments.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/wife-of-slain-texas-trucking-magnate-arrested-fraud

ISLE OF MAN: UPDATED SANCTIONS LEGISLATION

On 9 August, the Isle of Man advised that the Sanctions (Application) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2022 come into operation on 9 August, once more bringing Island sanctions law into line with that in the UK.

https://www.gov.im/news/2022/aug/08/financial-sanctions-legislation/

WINE FRAUDSTER WHO SERVED LESS THAN 4 YEARS IN ITALIAN JAIL AFTER FLEEING THE UK MADE MORE THAN £38 MILLION IN TAX SCAM

On 8 August, the Mail Online reported that Livio Mazzarello skipped bail days before he was found guilty of fronting a scheme to dodge excise duty on wine being imported into the country from Europe. He was found guilty of fraudulent evasion of duty, fraudulent evasion of VAT and money laundering, and jailed for 14 years in his absence in July 2017.  Italian authorities took over enforcement for his sentence and reduced it to 8 years, but he was released in June 2021 after serving less than 4 years in jail.  He now faces a confiscation hearing, where UK authorities will try to claw back as much money as possible after he dodged millions in excise duty for nearly 5 years.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11092667/Wine-fraudster-38m-tax-scam-served-four-years-Italian-jail-fleeing-UK.html

US WARRANT FOR SEIZURE OF AIRCRAFT OF SANCTIONED RUSSIAN OLIGARCH ANDREI SKOCH WORTH OVER $90 MILLION

A news release from US DoJ on 8 August advised that the US Government had been authorised to seize an Airbus A319-100 owned and controlled by sanctioned Russian oligarch Andrei Skoch.  A federal court found that the aircraft is subject to seizure and forfeiture based on probable cause of violation of the federal AML laws. 

https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdny/pr/united-states-obtains-warrant-seizure-airplane-sanctioned-russian-oligarch-andrei-skoch

US OFFICE OF FINANCIAL RESEARCH WORKING PAPER ON CENTRAL BANK DIGITAL CURRENCY

On 8 August, a release on Mondo Visione advised of the OFR working paper which looks at how introducing a central bank digital currency (CBDC) would affect the stability of the banking system. A blog post elaborates on the findings.

https://www.financialresearch.gov/working-papers/2022/07/11/central-bank-digital-currency/

https://www.financialresearch.gov/the-ofr-blog/2022/08/08/how-would-a-central-bank-digital-currency-affect-financial-stability/

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OFAC SANCTIONS NOTORIOUS VIRTUAL CURRENCY MIXER – TORNADO CASH

On 8 August, OFAC announced that it had sanctioned virtual currency mixer Tornado Cash, which has been used to launder more than $7 billion worth of virtual currency since its creation in 2019.  This includes over $455 million stolen by the Lazarus Group, a Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) state-sponsored hacking group.  Tornado Cash is a virtual currency mixer that operates on the Ethereum blockchain and indiscriminately facilitates anonymous transactions by obfuscating their origin, destination, and counterparties, with no attempt to determine their origin.  Criminals have increased their use of anonymity-enhancing technologies, including mixers, to help hide the movement or origin of funds. The sanctions mean that all property and interests in property of Tornado Cash that is in the US or in the possession or control of US persons is blocked and must be reported to OFAC.  In addition, any entities that are owned, directly or indirectly, 50% or more by one or more blocked persons are also blocked.  All transactions by US persons or within (or transiting) the US that involve any property or interests in property of designated or otherwise blocked persons are prohibited unless authorized by a general or specific licence issued by OFAC, or exempt.  These prohibitions include the making of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services by, to, or for the benefit of any blocked person and the receipt of any contribution or provision of funds, goods, or services from any such person.

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0916

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20220808

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