OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 11

Panama Covid-19 update – the Rt rate is down again, to just below 1, at 0.96; but new case numbers, and active cases, are both up slightly. There are currently 4,372 active cases, with 51 in ICU and 321 in other wards. There were another 4 fatalities reported today, taking the total to date to 6,282 – of the 368,368 people recorded as having contracted Covid-19 to date.

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

11 MAY 2021

DUTCH GAMBLING REGULATOR TO CLAMP DOWN ON AFFILIATES AGAIN

On 11 May, iGB reported that the Netherlands’ Gaming Authority – Kansspelautoriteit (KSA) has said it is starting a new round of action against affiliates offering unlicensed gambling in the jurisdiction.  Advertising online gambling remains illegal in the Netherlands until the country’s online market opens on 1 October.

https://igamingbusiness.com/dutch-regulator-to-clamp-down-on-affiliates-again

CRIMINAL JUSTICE, FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND THE RULE OF LAW IN THE DIGITAL AGE

The Centre for European Policy Studies has published a report by the High-Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Criminal Justice in the Digital Age which examined how different technologies can affect the functioning of a variety of criminal justice systems, processes and practices at the national and European level.  The HLEG’s discussions provided the expert knowledge needed to set out recommendations towards better EU policy and law making in the area of criminal justice in the digital age.

https://www.ceps.eu/download/publication/?id=33138&pdf=Criminal-Justice-Fundamental-Rights-and-the-Rule-of-law-in-the-Digital-Age.pdf

ANTI-CORRUPTION AND BRIBERY LAW: WHAT PRECEDED BRAZIL’S “OPERATION CAR WASH” AND WHAT COMES NEXT?

On 7 May, Mayer Brown published an article saying that Brazil has, since the turn of the century, significantly modified its ABC Laws and more significantly, dramatically enhanced their enforcement. To understand where it is now, one must understand how it got there.

https://www.mayerbrown.com/en/perspectives-events/blogs/2021/05/the-abcs-of-anticorruption-and-bribery-law-what-preceded-brazils-operation-car-wash-and-what-comes-next

RUSSIA: COMPANIES UNDER SANCTIONS AND DEFENCE INDUSTRY ORGANISATIONS MAY WITHHOLD INFORMATION FROM FOREIGN AUDITORS

On 7 May, Baker McKenzie published an article saying that the Russian Government has allowed companies under sanctions and defence industry organisations not to provide information to foreign audit firms or individual auditors.  A new Decree applies not to all audited entities, but only to companies sanctioned by foreign states (or whose controlling persons or counterparties are subject to sanctions), as well as organisations of the military-industrial complex.

https://insightplus.bakermckenzie.com/bm/viewContent.action?key=Ec8teaJ9VaoFt0fBH87V0F7eOOGbnAEFKCLORG72fHz0%2BNbpi2jDfaB8lgiEyY1JpGSGsLXap4NP4Yhmok33cA%3D%3D&nav=FRbANEucS95NMLRN47z%2BeeOgEFCt8EGQ0qFfoEM4UR4%3D&emailtofriendview=true&freeviewlink=true

IMPLEMENTATION OF NEW CUSTOMS ACT IN NORWAY – COUNTERFEIT GOODS

On 10 May, an article from Bryn Aarflot says that by 1 July a new Customs Act will be implemented in Norway, with simplified procedures relating to the destruction of consignments which contain counterfeit goods.  The amendments aim to align Norwegian customs control with EU regulations and practice.  The Act introduces a clear and undisputable prohibition of the import of counterfeit goods for private use, provided that the exporter can be confirmed as a commercial market player.  To support this, the new Act includes various procedures relating to smaller consignments.  It includes the removal of the requirement for the importer’s written consent for the destruction of consignments which contain counterfeit goods.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Intellectual-Property/Norway/Bryn-Aarflot-AS/Implementation-of-new-Customs-Act

MALTA: US SANCTIONS CANNOT STOP INSURANCE COMPANY’S RELEASE OF FUNDS

On 11 May, the Times of Malta reported that a court has rules that sanctions by the US Treasury cannot stop a locally-registered assurance company from releasing funds to former footballer and suspected fuel smuggler Darren Debono.  He s facing investigations for alleged international fuel smuggling, and the US imposed sanctions against Debono and 3 others in 2018.  HSBC Life Assurance (Malta) had refused to release funds Debono held with them under a Savings Plan and a Private Retirement Plan.  The court decided that the life assurance company must release the funds requested by Debono, but only once a local freezing order is lifted.

https://timesofmalta.com/articles/view/us-sanctions-cannot-stop-companys-release-of-funds-to-darren-debono.870991

FATF REQUIREMENTS: PAKISTAN TO FORM NEW INSTITUTIONS

On 11 May, the News International in Pakistan reported that the government has decided to form new institutions to meet FATF requirements.  Following amendment of AML/CFT laws, AML/CFT cases will be investigated by specialised agencies.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/833690-fatf-requirements-pakistan-to-form-new-institutions

MALTA: REGULATOR SIGNS AGREEMENT WITH POLICE TO BETTER CLAMP DOWN ON FINANCIAL CRIME

On 10 May, Lovin Malta reported that the Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) and the Malta Police Force have signed an agreement that will see the entities strengthening their cooperation.  It is said to be one of several initiatives to establish a cooperation network with national and international stakeholders.

https://lovinmalta.com/news/regulator-signs-agreement-with-police-to-better-clamp-down-on-financial-crime/

INDIA: MONEY LAUNDERING CASE AGAINST EX-MAHARASHTRA HOME MINISTER ANIL DESHMUKH
On 11 May, the Times of India reported that the Enforcement Directorate had registered the money laundering case against the former provincial minister.  This came following a police investigation ordered by the Bombay high courtand based on a letter written by former Mumbai police commissioner. 

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/mumbai/ed-registers-money-laundering-case-against-ex-maharashtra-home-minister-anil-deshmukh/articleshow/82543170.cms

A FORMER DIRECTOR OF BP SINGAPORE JAILED AND ORDERED TO PAY A PENALTY OF ABOUT S$6.22 MILLION FOR TAKING BRIBES

On 11 May, CAN reported that Clarence Chang Peng Hong was jailed for 54 months and ordered to pay a penalty of about S$6.22 million.  Chang, who was BP’s former eastern regional director for marine fuels, separately faces money laundering charges. 

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/bp-corruption-clarence-chang-koh-seng-lee-pacific-prime-trading-14785880

BOKO HARAM’S GROWING ARMS STOCKPILE: A GREAT CONCERN FOR LAKE CHAD BASIN REGION

On 11 May, Defence Web reported that not only has Boko Haram grown in size and number, but it has also increased significantly in arms and ammunition, leading to scores of civilian deaths in many of its onslaughts.  More worrisome, it says, is the seeming ease with which the terrorist group kills dozens of soldiers and captures sophisticated weapons in different attacks on military bases.  The Lake Chad Basin region comprises Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.  Boko Haram has mainly sustained its deadly acts in the region using stolen weapons, mostly hijacked from the military. Each time it overpowers a military base, it captures an array of arms and ammunition.  Non-lethal materiel, such as communications gear, uniforms, and petrol, are also seized on a sizeable scale.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/national-security/boko-harams-growing-arms-stockpile-a-great-concern-for-lake-chad-basin-region/

PIRACY IN THE GULF OF GUINEA: – ARE THE CURRENT EFFORTS WORKING?

On 10 May, Control Risks hosted a webinar, a video of which is available online.  Nigeria’s Deep Blue project, the EU’s Coordinated Maritime Presence and regular naval exercises are some of the most prominent efforts to reduce the number of attacks against ships in the Gulf of Guinea.  This webinar looks at the impact of ongoing effects and looks at potential developments in the coming months, focussing on the second half of this year.

https://vimeo.com/547877666/e2b776c983

SOUTH AFRICA: ‘KICKBACK KING’ – WHO IS THE TOP ESKOM OFFICIAL WITH A NOW-FROZEN BANK ACCOUNT?

On 10 May, an article in The South African says that Eskom has placed a senior coal procurement manager on suspension following evidence of corruption involving millions.  It is said that the state-owned enterprise, still recovering from years of damage caused by dodgy deals and shoddy maintenance programmes, continues to find bad apples sitting at the top of the tree.  he official’s suspension follows a whistle-blower tip-off to the power utility.

https://www.thesouthafrican.com/news/who-is-eskom-top-official-kickback-king-frozen-bank-account-name

EUROPE’S BANKING AUTHORITY OPENS CONSULTATIONS ON AML/CFT DATABASE

On 11 May, OCCRP reported that the European Banking Authority (EBA) has launched a public consultation on draft regulations for a future central database on AML/CFT in the EU.  It will serve as an “early warning tool” that will enable the competent authorities to act.  The consultation sets out how the EBA will analyse and disseminate the information contained in the AML/CFT central database.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/14362-europe-s-banking-authority-opens-consultations-on-aml-cft-database

OECD: INHERITANCE, ESTATE AND GIFT TAXES COULD PLAY A STRONGER ROLE IN ADDRESSING INEQUALITY AND IMPROVING PUBLIC FINANCES

A news release from the OECD on 11 May advised that inheritance taxation can be an important instrument to address inequality, particularly in the current context of persistently high wealth inequality and new pressures on public finances linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new OECD report.

http://oe.cd/inheritancetax

https://www.oecd.org/newsroom/inheritance-estate-and-gift-taxes-could-play-a-stronger-role-in-addressing-inequality-and-improving-public-finances.htm

OVER 56,400 CULTURAL GOODS SEIZED AND 67 ARRESTS IN ACTION INVOLVING 31 COUNTRIES

A news release from Europol on 11 May announced that, taking place between 1 June and 31 October 2020, Operation Pandora V saw the involvement of customs and law enforcement authorities from 31 countries.  The 2020 edition of the Pandora operation targeting the illicit trafficking of cultural goods has been the most successful to date with over 56,400 cultural goods seized.  These objects include archaeological objects, furniture, coins, paintings, musical instruments and sculptures.  Within the framework of Pandora V, the Dutch National Police organised a 5-day cyber patrol week focusing on online markets. Law enforcement from 15 countries, with the support of Europol, INTERPOL and WCO, identified suspicious sales online, as a result of which 15 new investigations were opened. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/over-56-400-cultural-goods-seized-and-67-arrests-in-action-involving-31-countries

UN GLOBAL PROGRAMME FOR COMBATING WILDLIFE AND FOREST CRIME ANNUAL REPORT 2020

UNODC has released this report.

https://www.unodc.org/documents/Wildlife/Annual_Report_GPWLFC2020.pdf

UK: NEW GUIDANCE ON TAX AND PAYMENTS TO FOOTBALL AGENTS

On 11 May, Out-Law reported that football clubs must keep detailed records to evidence the split of payments made to player agents or other intermediaries in cases where those intermediaries provide services to both the club and the player, HMRC has confirmed.  The new guidance represents a change in stance from HMRC and puts significant record-keeping obligations on clubs.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/new-guidance-on-tax-and-payments-to-football-agents

UK: TASKFORCE LAUNCHED TO INVESTIGATE REPORTED RISE IN PET THEFTS

On 10 May, the Current Awareness website reported a Home Office announcement of 8 May that a Pet Theft Taskforce has been launched to investigate the recent reported rise in pet theft since the start of Covid lockdown.  There has been a considerable rise in puppy and kitten prices over the course of the past year following more people deciding to buy or adopt a pet. Recent reports have suggested that this may be leading to a rise in pet thefts.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/taskforce-launched-to-investigate-reported-rise-in-pet-thefts

SLIDES FROM THE ISLE OF MAN FSA REGULATORY UPDATE PROVIDED TO THE AICP MANX STATE OF THE NATION 2021

On 11 May, the FSA published the slides used in a recent presentation which provided a regulatory update to the Alliance of Isle of Man Compliance Professionals’ Manx State of the Nation 2021 conference.  The topics included whistleblowing requirements.

https://www.iomfsa.im/media/2825/2021-fsa-mson-presentation.pdf

2 PUBLIC SERVANTS ALLEGEDLY RIGGED NEW SOUTH WALES GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS FOR MILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF KICKBACKS

On 10 May, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that they allegedly spent close to 10 years subverting the Roads and Maritime Services processes to award more than $41 million in contracts to companies owned by friends and family, an Independent Commission Against Corruption inquiry was told.  They are accused of garnering more than $6.8 million in kickbacks from their scheme, which included a $1.5 million Ferrari and a handful other luxury cars, a Rolex, jewellery, cash deliveries in shoeboxes, as well as school and travel fees.

https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/ferraris-jewellery-and-shoeboxes-of-cash-icac-unearths-rigged-government-scheme-20210510-p57qjw.html

IRELAND: THE NORTHERN BANK JOB

The BBC has produced a radio series about the biggest bank heist in British and Irish criminal history – the 2004 Northern Bank robbery.  It comprises 10 15-minute episodes.  Just before Christmas 2004, gangs of armed men took over the homes of 2 Northern Bank officials in Belfast and County Down. With family members held hostage, the officials are instructed to remove cash from the vaults of Northern Bank headquarters in Belfast city-centre and load it into the back of a van – not once, but twice – before the van disappears into the night, along with more than £26.5 million in new and used notes. It uses dramatised court testimonies, new interviews and archive and takes one into the unfolding story of a meticulously planned heist and its chaotic aftermath, where military precision giving way to soap powder boxes stuffed with cash.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/series/m000tsjy

NEW RUSI PROJECT ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AND FINANCIAL CRIME

On 10 May, RUSI announced a new study which will explore in depth both the opportunities and threats presented by AI in the financial crime context.  A 1-year study of policy and operational considerations related to the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on financial crime will explore the opportunities that AI offers for better financial crime detection, as well as the threats posed by the abuse of AI.  It will form part of Financial Crime 2.0, a RUSI research programme focused on the intersection of new technology and financial crime.  The programme has already examined the contribution of technology to effective financial crime prevention; the role of advanced data analytics in the activities of supervisory and law enforcement agencies; the money laundering threats presented by the proceeds of cybercrime; and financial crime risks in cryptocurrency, online gambling, online video games and e-commerce. 

https://rusi.org/rusi-news/new-rusi-project-artificial-intelligence-and-financial-crime

US AUTHORITIES SEEK COURT ORDER TO SHUT DOWN CRYPTO TRADING PLATFORM ALLEGEDLY DUPING THOUSANDS OF INVESTORS

On 8 May, Bitcoin.com reported that New York Attorney General Letitia James has announced that she “has taken legal action to immediately halt the continued illegal and fraudulent operations of the cryptocurrency trading platform Coinseed Inc”.  She launched a lawsuit in February against Coinseed and its 2 top executives, including founder and CEO Delgerdalai Davaasambuu, alleging that  they “violated New York state laws and illegally squandered investors’ monies”.

https://news.bitcoin.com/us-authorities-court-order-shut-down-crypto-trading-platform/

US DoJ PROPOSES NEW REGULATION TO UPDATE FIREARM DEFINITIONS INVOLVING “GHOST GUNS”

On 7 May, Homeland Security Today reported that the DoJ has  issued a notice of proposed rulemaking that would update the definitions of “firearm” and related parts for the first time since 1968.  It would modernise the definition of “frame or receiver” and help close a regulatory loophole associated with the privately made firearms with no serial numbers that are increasingly being recovered at crime scenes across the country. These unmarked firearms, known as “ghost guns,” are often assembled from kits that are sold without background checks, making them easily acquired by criminals who otherwise would not be permitted to possess a firearm.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/law-enforcement-and-public-safety/justice-department-proposes-new-regulation-to-update-firearm-definitions/

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-proposes-new-regulation-update-firearm-definitions

INTERNATIONAL CHAMBER OF COMMERCE (ICC), INTEGRITY INITIATIVES INTERNATIONAL (III), AND 96 CIVIL SOCIETY ORGANISATIONS FROM OVER 50 COUNTRIES CALL ON UN FOR STRONGER ENFORCEMENT OF ANTI-CORRUPTION LAWS

On 11 May, ICC said that it and partners have called on the UN General Assembly to establish an international working group to develop proposals for new frameworks and mechanisms to address weaknesses in current international anti-corruption legal frameworks.  It says that the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) is the only legally binding international treaty focused on combatting corruption and has been ratified by 187 states parties. Despite the popular adoption of UNCAC, there has been little progress in the international fight against corruption since it entered into force in 2005.  The UN will convene a Special Session against Corruption from 2 June, during which a political declaration will be adopted but, to be effective, the ICC said that the declaration should include a mandate to establish a working group focused on implementing new, innovative anti-corruption strategies.

https://iccwbo.org/media-wall/news-speeches/business-leaders-and-civil-society-urge-un-to-take-meaningful-action-to-combat-corruption/?_cldee=cmF5c3VsYnlAaG90bWFpbC5jb20%3d&recipientid=contact-5e9a00301aabe911a994000d3ab27d56-8bcf1b4cb59e4ad587e9a0f7be189c66&esid=0385345a-61b2-eb11-8236-000d3adbf545

ICC AND BUSINESS AT THE OECD (BIAC) HAVE ISSUED A JOINT STATEMENT TO THE OECD ON HIGH-LEVEL PRINCIPLES FOR TRUSTED GOVERNMENT ACCESS TO PERSONAL DATA

On 11 May, the International Chamber of Commerce said that it and the BIAC have joined forces to deliver a statement – supported by over 20 business associations globally – to the OECD as it embarks on developing high-level principles and guidance on government access to private-sector held personal data.  The joint statement emphasises the urgency of articulating common practices shared by OECD members and outlines necessary safeguards to ensure that a high standard of privacy is set and a firm foundation for building trust.  The ICC says that it firmly believes that the benefits of trade depend on the trusted flow of data between countries.

https://iccwbo.org/media-wall/news-speeches/icc-mobilises-business-worldwide-to-convey-shared-views-on-trusted-government-access-to-private-sector-held-personal-data/?_cldee=cmF5c3VsYnlAaG90bWFpbC5jb20%3d&recipientid=contact-5e9a00301aabe911a994000d3ab27d56-8bcf1b4cb59e4ad587e9a0f7be189c66&esid=0385345a-61b2-eb11-8236-000d3adbf545

https://iccwbo.org/publication/joint-business-statement-on-the-oecd-committee-on-digital-economy-policys-work-to-develop-an-instrument-setting-out-high-level-principles-or-policy-guidance-for-trusted-government-access-to-p/

EX-MAURITANIA LEADER UNDER HOUSE ARREST ON CORRUPTION CHARGE

On 11 May, the Daily Mail reported that Mauritania’s authorities have placed former President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz under house arrest as they investigate allegations of corruption, embezzlement and money laundering made against the former leader 2008-19.  Aziz has refused to cooperate with the investigation, citing immunity as a former president and calling the prosecution illegal.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-9567691/Ex-Mauritania-leader-house-arrest-corruption-charge.html

US DoJ EXPECTED TO REINVIGORATE THE POLICIES AIMED AT INCREASING COORDINATION BETWEEN THE CRIMINAL AND CIVIL DIVISIONS

An article from Proskauer on 11 May says that, under the Biden Administration, it expects the Department to reinvigorate the policies aimed at increasing coordination between the criminal and civil divisions.  In the 2015 Yates Memorandum former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates pushed for “early and regular communication” between civil and criminal division attorneys in their pursuit of corporate investigations. 

https://www.privateequitylitigation.com/2021/05/return-to-civil-and-criminal-collaboration-in-white-collar-under-biden-administration/

FCA CONSULTS ON A NEW CATEGORY OF UK AUTHORISED OPEN-ENDED FUND TO INVEST IN ILLIQUID ASSETS: THE LONG-TERM ASSET FUND (LTAF)

On 11 May, an article from Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner reported that the FCA has launched a consultation to 25 June on a new category of authorised fund vehicle designed to accommodate investment in illiquid assets.  The LTAF rules embed longer redemption periods, greater disclosure requirements, specific liquidity management and governance features that would differentiate the LTAF from other open-ended authorised funds and provide investors with the necessary confidence to invest in less liquid and potentially higher risk assets. 

https://www.bclplaw.com/en-US/insights/fca-consults-on-a-new-category-of-uk-authorised-open-ended-fund-to-invest-in-illiquid-assets-the-long-term-asset-fund-ltaf.html

UK: LEX GREENSILL DENIES COMPANY WAS A PONZI SCHEME AND BLAMES INSURERS FOR ITS COLLAPSE

On 11 May, The Independent reported that the founder of Greensill Capital has denied allegations from British MPs that his collapsed finance firm was a “fraud” or a Ponzi scheme during a hearing before  the House of Commons Treasury Committee.  He declined to say how much of this was lent to companies operated by Sanjeev Gupta, the owner of Liberty Steel and he rejected the suggestion of former Treasury Minister Lord Myners that the affair had cost the taxpayer £3 billion to £5 billion. 

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/greensill-capital-lex-collapse-david-cameron-b1845736.html

8 ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF LAUNDERING MORE THAN £50 MILLION IN OPERATION LINKED TO ARREST OF LEEDS WOMAN

On 11 May, the Yorkshire Evening Post reported that 8 people have been arrested as part of a police operation targeting a suspected network of cash couriers responsible for laundering more than £50 million in criminal profits.  The 3 men and 5 women arrested are alleged to be cash couriers responsible for hiding large amounts of cash in luggage on commercial flights to Dubai from Heathrow or Manchester airports.

https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/crime/eight-people-arrested-on-suspicion-of-laundering-more-than-ps50-million-of-criminal-cash-in-police-operation-linked-to-arrest-of-leeds-woman-3233127

TUNISIAN COURT SENTENCES FORMER LEADER’S BROTHER-IN-LAW TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON

On 11 May, Middle East Eye reported that a Tunisian court has sentenced Belhassen Trabelsi, brother-in-law of ousted ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali (who is currently in France, where he was arrested in 2019), to 10 years in prison for corruption.  The court also sentenced Sami Fehri, the owner of El Hiwar TV, to 8 years in prison in the same case.  The court is also said to have fined the men $14.51 million for using state TV resources for the benefit of a private company and transferring advertising revenues to their company.

https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/tunisia-ben-ali-belhassen-trabelsi-court-sentence

SOUTH AFRICA: 2 FORMER SARS AUDITORS ARRESTED FOR ALLEGED TAX EVASION

On 11 May, SABC reported that 2 former South African Revenue Service auditors and a runner have been arrested for alleged tax evasion worth approximately R321 million.  They have been charged for tax fraud in contravention of the Value Added Tax Act, as well as Customs and Excise Act. 

https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/two-former-sars-auditors-arrested-for-alleged-tax-evasion

US: FORMER PRESIDENT OF FIRST MORTGAGE COMPANY PLEADS GUILTY TO BANK FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING ETC

On 11 May, a news release from US DoJ advised that Ronald J McCord, 70, of Oklahoma City, had pleaded guilty to defrauding 2 locally-based banks, Fannie Mae, and others through a broad range of fraudulent conduct over the course of 3 years.  He was the Chairman and founder of First Mortgage Company, LLC, an Oklahoma City-based mortgage lending and loan servicing company.  The charges included bank fraud, money laundering, and making a false statement to a financial institution. 

https://www.justice.gov/usao-wdok/pr/former-president-first-mortgage-company-pleads-guilty-bank-fraud-money-laundering-and

PROPOSED ACT FOR ESTABLISHMENT OF A CENTRAL TRANSPARENCY REGISTER IN HUNGARY SUBMITTED FOR APPROVAL

On 11 May, CMS Law published an article saying that Hungary intends to fulfil its obligations under the 4th and 5th EU AML Directives, which require Member States to establish a Central Transparency Register, a central register containing the data of the ultimate beneficial owners of local companies, and a central register of bank accounts and safe-boxes. 

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2021/05/central-transparency-register-act-in-hungary-submitted-for-approval?cc_lang=en

THE 4 LEVELS OF SUPPLY CHAIN RISK

On 2 May, the Global Trade Magazine published an article saying that supply chain risk comes in many forms – from industry-crashing crises to supplier challenges.  It says that a holistic approach to supply risk management is built around 4 different levels of supply risk, and the article provides a look at how those levels break down, and how building a own risk management framework around them can help to develop a holistic view of risk across a supply chain.

https://www.globaltrademag.com/the-four-levels-of-supply-chain-risk/

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

FREEPORTS: INNOVATIVE TRADING HUBS OR CENTRES FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND TAX EVASION?

In its 12 May edition, Hellenic Shipping News carried an article referring to a new study from the University of Portsmouth calls for further government oversight to curb potential illegal activity through these zones.  This is in light of 8 new freeports in England which are due to enter operation in late 2021, and which are hoped to drive investment, economic opportunities and growth to those regions.  However, researchers also advise that stronger regulation is needed to prevent Freeports being abused for money laundering and tax-evasion purposes.  The research examined existing freeports around the world and found they are often used as tactical depots: intended as spaces to temporarily house valuable assets, such as artwork, precious metals and gems, wine collections and antiques.  The study suggests that banks that facilitate numerous international trade transactions need to be more alert to illicit trading and should be responsible for carrying out proper due diligence around freeport trade. It says that although governments have recognised the threat that freeports present by ensuring they fall within the scope of AML control, there is still opportunity for freeports to operate without transparency.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/freeports-innovative-trading-hubs-or-centres-for-money-laundering-and-tax-evasion/

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

8 ARRESTS FOR SELLING POTENTIALLY DANGEROUS FOOD SUPPLEMENTS ONLINE

A news release from Europol on 11 May advised that it had supported the Italian Carabinieri and the Spanish National Police in dismantling an organised crime group involved in the online sale of illegal food supplements containing active medical ingredients.  In 2019, NAS Carabinieri detected some food supplements, allegedly made of natural ingredients, which actually contained the pharmaceutical ingredients sildenafil and tadalafil. The product, recommended for the treatment of erectile dysfunction, was sold on a well-known e-commerce platform. The Spanish investigation followed the supply chain and identified that the company was registered in the UK, while the main perpetrators were operating from Spain.  Officers carried out 12 house searches in Spain and Italy and blocked 17 websites. The final results of the operational activities include 8 arrests (in Spain), the seizures of 32,500 packages of food supplements (both in Spain and Italy) and the freezing of 21 bank accounts containing a total of €3.5 million. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/eight-arrests-for-selling-potentially-dangerous-food-supplements-online

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

OFAC: ADDITIONS, DELETIONS AND CHANGES TO ENTRIES ON SANCTIONS LISTS – INCLUDING CHANGES TARGETING THOSE INVOLVED WITH HIZBALLAH’S FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS

On 11 May, OFAC advised that 7 Lebanese individuals to its SDN list.  In addition, the entry for Vladimir Nikolaevich PAVLENKO, Minister of State Security of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic, has been amended.  9 individuals and 5 entities on the Syrian sanctions lists have been deleted.  The Lebanese names are sanctioned for their involvement in connection with Hizballah and its financial firm, Al-Qard al-Hassan (AQAH).  AQAH, which was designated by OFAC in 2007, and is used by Hizballah as a cover to manage the terrorist group’s financial activities and gain access to the international financial system. Others are designated for having used the cover of personal accounts at certain Lebanese banks, including US-designated Jammal Trust Bank (JTB), to evade sanctions. 

https://home.treasury.gov/policy-issues/financial-sanctions/recent-actions/20210511

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/jy0170

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

RELIGIOUS GROUPS AND MONEY LAUNDERING IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

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

On 10 May, Insight Crime carried an article saying that millions of dollars in state funds were allegedly laundered through a religious non-profit in the Dominican Republic, showing how minimal oversight of these faith groups makes them ideal vehicles for embezzlement.  On May 10, security officials, a pastor and others suspected in the scheme were placed in detention or under house arrest for 18 months as part of an ongoing investigation into charges of money laundering, falsifying public documents, fraud, and other offenses.  Involved is the Mother Earth Farmers Association (Asociación Campesina Madre Tierra), a non-profit organisation he formed in 2015 to foster Christian values through community farming.  The article says that there are several factors that make churches and religious non-governmental organisations ideal fronts for laundering money.  The entities tend to have diverse income streams that can be tricky to trace, collecting cash donations and also receiving bank transfers.  It is said that, in the Dominican Republic, “religious leaders are not required to have any formal affiliation or certification to verify their membership in a church”.

https://insightcrime.org/news/earthly-delights-religious-non-profits-and-money-laundering-dominican-republic/

BALKAN MIGRANT-SMUGGLING BUSINESS ‘WORTH €50 MILLION A YEAR’

On 10 May, Balkan Insight reported that the money to be made by ‘fixers’, ‘gatekeepers’ and ‘package dealers’ smuggling migrants across borders in the Western Balkans are detailed in a new report from the Global Initiative Against Transnational Organized Crime.  The report assesses the money being made by smugglers in the 3 key smuggling zones in the Western Balkans – the borders between Greece’s borders with North Macedonia and Albania; the border between Bosnia-Herzegovina and the EU in Croatia in Croatia, and Serbia’s borders with Hungary and Romania.  The report identifies various types of smugglers present in the Western Balkans, describing them as fixers, gatekeepers and package dealers – fixers, who arrange transport, “usually operate within the borders of one country”; people who operate around borders and charge for “safe passage” are described as gatekeepers; and the big money from migrant-smuggling is made through ‘package deals’.

https://balkaninsight.com/2021/05/10/balkan-migrant-smuggling-business-worth-e50m-a-year-report/

https://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Spot-Prices-Analyzing-flows-of-people-drugs-and-money-in-the-Western-Balkans-1.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

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 10

Panama Covid-19 update – it’s just one thing after another…the health authorities have begun distributing flu vaccine now. Meanwhile, it has been announced that people who received the first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine abroad will be able to receive the second dose in Panama.

Another 252 new cases reported today, with 6 more fatalities (taking the total to date to 6,277), with 4,278 active cases – 52 in ICU and 314 in other wards.

10 MAY 2021

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

GERMANY:  THE WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION ACT AND NEW COMPLIANCE REQUIREMENTS

On 10 May, Arnecke Sibeth Dabelstein produced an article about a  draft Bill to implement the EU Whistleblowing Directive, which aims to better protect whistleblowers.  EU Member States must implement the EU Whistleblowing Directive in national law by 17 December.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/White-Collar-Crime/Germany/Arnecke-Sibeth-Dabelstein/Whistleblower-Protection-Act-new-compliance-requirements

CANADA: SUPREME COURT WILL HEAR APPEAL OF HELLS ANGEL MONEY LAUNDERING CASE QUASHED OVER DELAYS

On 6 May, Global News reported on an appeal by the Crown in a case where the conviction of 4 people accused of money laundering on behalf of the Hells Angels was quashed over unreasonable legal delays.  In 2016, the Supreme Court issued what is known as the Jordan ruling, establishing strict time limits for legal proceedings. The 4 co-accused had been charged in 2009 and the trial judge calculated that the trial had concluded in March 2016 — a 77-month delay.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7839843/supreme-court-appeal-of-quebec-hells-angels-money-laundering/

SOUTH AFRICA: ANC LEADER SUSPENDS PARTY RIVAL IN CORRUPTION SCANDAL

On 10 May, KYC 360 reported on The party’s move against Ace Magashule, 61, came as he was told to step aside after being charged with embezzling public funds while he was premier of Free State province.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/anc-leader-suspends-party-rival-in-corruption-scandal

IRELAND: FORMER DEVELOPER CHARGED WITH STEALING AND LAUNDERING €200,000 AS PART OF PROPERTY REGISTRATION FRAUD

On 8 May, the Irish Independent reported that a former millionaire developer, Philip Marley, 49, has been charged with stealing and laundering more than €200,000 as part of a property registration fraud.  He is accused of fraud in the registration of ownership of 2 Dublin properties, and transferring criminal proceeds.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/courts/former-developercharged-with-stealing-and-laundering-200000as-part-of-property-registration-fraud-40400403.html

MALAYSIA: 1MDB AND SRC FILE 21 CIVIL SUITS AGAINST BANKS AND OTHERS FOR ALLEGED ROLE IN MASSIVE FRAUD

On 10 May, The Edge reported that law firms have filed 22 civil lawsuits to claim billions of US dollars on behalf of state-owned 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB) and its former subsidiary SRC International Sdn Bhd.  Various claims were made against individuals such as former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak, his stepson Riza Aziz, former 1MDB officeholders like Tan Sri Che Lodin Wok Kamaruddin, and former CEO of 1MDB Datuk Shahrol Azral Ibrahim Halmi, Arul Kanda Kandasamy and Mohd Hazem Abdul Rahman.  A total of 6 lawsuits were filed by 1MDB and its subsidiaries, while another 16 were filed by SRC.  Foreign financial institutions like Deutsche Bank (Malaysia) Ltd, as well as Swiss-based Coutts & Co Ltd and JP Morgan (Switzerland) Ltd were also named, along with PetroSaudi International Ltd and its founder Tarek Obaid.

https://www.theedgemarkets.com/article/1mdb-and-src-file-multibilliondollar-civil-suits-against-those-alleged-be-responsible-fraud

NIGERIA’S MINISTER OF JUSTICE SAYS HIGH-PROFILE NIGERIANS MAY BE FUNDING TERRORISM

On 7 May, the Premium Times reported that the minister said investigations revealing the activities of the suspected terrorism financiers were triggered by a recent conviction of 6 Nigerians in UAE for funding Boko Haram.  He said that said the Nigerian government embarked on “a wider and far-reaching investigations” into terrorism financing after the conviction of Boko Haram financiers in UAE.

https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/460127-high-profile-nigerians-suspected-to-be-financing-terrorism-identified-malami.html

FACEBOOK SANCTIONS FORMER PANAMANIAN PRESIDENT RICARDO MARTINELLI

On 9 May, Newsroom Panama reported that Ricardo Martinelli  has joined  Donald Trump and Nicolás Maduro as a  president/ex-president  with his page sanctioned by Facebook.  It is said that the action “freezes it for 30 days, in which only the previous content of the account can be read”, but nothing new can be published for a month for having “violated his policy against disinformation about covid-19”.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/facebook-sanctions-former-president-ricardo-martinelli

US OIL PIPELINE CYBERATTACK FORCES CLOSURE

On 8 May, the Wall Street Journal reported that the main pipeline carrying gasoline and diesel fuel to the US East Coast, taking fuel from the refineries of the Gulf Coast to the New York metro area, was shut down by its operator after being hit with a cyberattack.  It is said that the ransomware attack exposed risks to the aging, vulnerable infrastructure that keeps the nation’s energy moving.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/cyberattack-forces-closure-of-largest-u-s-refined-fuel-pipeline-11620479737

ENGLAND AND WALES: UNLAWFULLY OBTAINED EVIDENCE AND USE OF HACKED EMAILS

On 6 May, an article from MacFarlanes LLP published an article about a civil case in which the claimant relied heavily on confidential emails that had been obtained through hacking of the defendant’s email accounts (the hacking of which was common ground).  However, the first instance judge found that as the defendant had acted fraudulently, that the hacking could not be shown on the balance of probabilities to have been procured by the claimant and that, even if it had, he would not necessarily have excluded the emails or struck out the claim.  The Court of Appeal subsequently allowed an application to adduce new evidence (allegedly showing that the claimant had procured the hacking) and, as such, the issue as to whether the claimant was responsible for the hacking has been remitted for retrial by the High Court.  It is said that this case therefore serves as an important reminder that the English courts’ view (insofar as the matter stands to date) is that justice is upheld by considering all relevant evidence, even where there has been a breach of law in obtaining that evidence.

https://www.macfarlanes.com/what-we-think/in-depth/2021/unlawfully-obtained-evidence-ras-al-khaimah-investment-authority-v-azima/

WITNESS STATEMENTS IN ENGLAND AND WALES: A PARADIGM SHIFT?

On 6 May, an article from DAC Beachcroft says that significant changes have been introduced since 6 April in respect of trial witness statements in the Business and Property Courts.  The new rules apply to trial witness statements (as opposed to, say, statements from lawyers for the purposes of interim relief applications) signed on or after 6 April in both new and existing proceedings.  They introduce onerous new duties on both the witness and the lawyer assisting with their statements including requiring the disclosure of all documents reviewed by the witness, an assessment of their confidence in their recollections and certification of compliance with the new rules by both the witness and the lawyer involved.  The article provides a summary of the key changes.  It is said that the reforms reflect growing judicial scepticism as to the value of witness evidence in general and serve as a further reminder as to the primacy of documentary evidence in the litigation process and the importance of capturing and effectively marshalling the same.

https://www.dacbeachcroft.com/en/gb/articles/2021/april/witness-statements-a-paradigm-shift/

HUNGARY EXTENDS SCOPE AND DEADLINE FOR APPLICATION OF TEMPORARY FDI CONTROL REGIME

On 4 May, an article from CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang LLP is concerned with the FDI Act 2020, where approval is required for closing a transaction which involves the acquisition of a “strategic company” and the acquiring entity is directly or indirectly owned by a foreign company registered outside of the EU, the EEA or Switzerland.  Currently, these controls apply to those transactions signed prior to or on 31 December 2021.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2021/05/hungary-extends-scope-and-deadline?cc_lang=en

https://www.statista.com/chart/18632/estimated-annual-electricity-consumption-of-bitcoin

TAIWAN’S EXPORT CONTROL REGIME

On 10 May, an article from the Enlighten Law Group explained the regime under the Foreign Trade Act.  Most goods are generally allowed to be imported and exported freely, but certain high-tech products that the authorities deem to be “strategic” require a licence to be exported.  The main purpose of the regulations is to serve national security, foreign policy, and non-proliferation of WMD. 

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/5e7d1606-acd9-47d6-8eef-efc253fe3b20.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1620652163&Signature=RR2JLsmBBTPaMzp5NfeWCSWJ8Yg%3D

A GUIDE TO DRAFTING A CYBERSECURITY CRISIS MANAGEMENT RESPONSE PLAN

Hong Kong Lawyer has published a guide containing 6 key elements and 6 key steps, and saying that a cybersecurity crisis management response plan (a “Response Plan” or CCRP) may spell the difference between life and death for an organisation.  A CCRP is a set of tools and guidelines that an organisation’s IT team can rely on to help them identify (observe), orient, eliminate (act) and recover from cybersecurity threats.  However, it does stress that while having a plan is useful, no plan is useful without a team to carry out the contingency – so it is therefore pivoted that having an Cybersecurity Crisis Response Team is equally important.

https://www.hk-lawyer.org/content/guide-drafting-cybersecurity-crisis-management-response-plan-–-6-key-elements-and-6-key

LITHUANIA TO STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST CIGARETTE SMUGGLING

On 10 May, Belsat reported that Lithuania plans to tighten control of state borders to prevent the smuggling of contraband cigarettes from Belarus.  It is claimed that said that smuggling accounts for 20-30% of the entire cigarette market in Lithuania, while Belarusian cigarettes make up “the vast majority”, with the Lithuanian Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and Defence claiming that cigarette smuggling is a Belarusian state policy.  In 2019, 10.7% of all cigarettes smoked in Lithuania were illegal, and 82% were made at the Neman factory in Hrodna.  In 2020, Lithuanian customs apprehended the largest number of smuggled cigarettes in history, 16.6 million packs – twice as many as in 2019.

https://belsat.eu/en/news/10-05-2021-lithuania-to-step-up-fight-against-cigarette-smuggling/

BRITISH MUSEUM EXPERTS HELP RETURN RARE SECOND CENTURY SCULPTURE TO LIBYA SEIZED AT HEATHROW

On 10 May, the Evening Standard reported that experts were able to examine the work and prove it had only recently been excavated when it was found in the UK in 2013 and seized by Border Force officials.

https://www.standard.co.uk/culture/british-museum-experts-sculpture-libya-heathrow-b934186.html

A VICTIM’S GUIDE TO RECOVERING MONEY FROM CYBERCRIME IN HONG KONG

Another guide from Hong Kong Lawyer – this time on how to file a police complaint and get a police freeze on a suspect’s account, saying that it is crucial for victims to prioritise their action.   The quick steps to this guide that victims should consider are -:

  1. Report to the police;
  2. Inform the banks; and finally
  3. Obtain civil injunction (where advised).

https://www.hk-lawyer.org/content/victim’s-guide-recovering-money-cybercrime-hong-kong-how-file-police-complaint-and-get

SOUTH AFRICA ARMS CONTROL BODY CONTINUES TO APPROVE WEAPONS EXPORTS TO SAUDI ARABIA AND UAE

On 3 May, The New Arab published an article saying that in 2015, more than 42% of South Africa’s weapons exports went to Saudi Arabia and the UAE. In 2016, that number climbed to 48.9%. In 2017 and 2018, over a third of all of its weapon exports went to the UAE and the Saudis.  It is said that Saudi Arabia and the UAE have been diverting South African weapons to militias in Yemen and that, since 2015, South African-made weaponry has been documented on all sides of the conflict in Yemen.  In 2019, the licensing body, NCACC, briefly halted weapons exports to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as 2 years earlier, it had incorporated a clause requiring on-site inspections to the front page of its end-user agreements.  However, Saudi Arabia, UAE, and several other countries, refused to sign, alleging that it violated sovereignty, and by the end of 2019 NCACC had stopped approving weapons exports to the countries – but South African companies, however, used the threat of job losses to lobby for the restoration of exports and, in May 2020, it was announced that on-site inspections could be performed through an unspecified ‘diplomatic process’.

https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/indepth/2021/5/3/how-south-african-weapons-fuel-war-crimes-in-yemen

EXPANDING USE AND PROLIFERATION OF MILITARY DRONES IN AFRICA

An article from the Carnegie Center says that a new report finds that the use of armed drones is expanding rapidly across the African continent, with few agreed-upon policies, rules, and procedures for their deployment.  The report also shows that in the last 14 years, African and foreign states have been involved in drone operations in at least 20 states in North Africa, the Sahel and Horn of Africa.  African countries are also expanding their arsenal. Governments across the continent have been employing drones in a variety of counterterror and counterinsurgency missions. 

https://paxforpeace.nl/media/download/PAX_remote_horizons_FIN_lowres.pdf

BREXIT: UK DOMESTIC SHIPPERS COULD MISS OUT ON THE BENEFITS OF THE RECENTLY-ANNOUNCED FREEPORT DEVELOPMENTS DUE TO SMALL PRINT IN POST-BREXIT TRADE DEALS

On 10 May, Loadstar reported that the UK Secretary of State for International Trade reportedly signed 23 ‘rollover deals’ with countries including Canada, Norway and Singapore containing clauses which could stop manufacturers benefiting from freeport tax breaks.  It is said that small print warned potential bidders of prohibition clauses contained in several continuity trade agreements the Department of International Trade had signed in the previous 2 years.  Despite being warned, the Secretary of State went on to sign trade agreements with 10 countries, containing the same clauses, including key markets like Canada, Singapore and Mexico.

https://theloadstar.com/uk-shippers-could-miss-out-on-freeport-tariff-benefits-due-to-trade-deal-error/

TRADE OF DUAL-USE ITEMS: NEW EU RULES

On 10 May, a news release from the EU advised that the EU has upgraded its legislation on the export controls applicable to sensitive dual-use goods and technologies such as cyber-surveillance tools.  The new EU Regulation strengthens controls on a wider range of emerging dual-use technologies, and the coordination between Member States and the Commission in support of the effective enforcement of controls throughout the EU.  By introducing due diligence obligations for producers, the new rules also give companies an important role in addressing the risks to international security sometimes posed by dual-use items.  The Regulation also paves the way for better coordination between the EU and partner countries in enhancing international security through more convergent approaches to export controls at global level.  After the European Parliament and the Council sign the adopted regulation, it will be published in the EU Official Journal before coming into force.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2021/05/10/trade-of-dual-use-items-new-eu-rules-adopted/

UK: GUIDANCE ON DUE DILIGENCE PRINCIPLES TO ASSURE YOUR LABOUR SUPPLY CHAINS

On 10 May, HMRC published updated guidance which applies if you use labour supplied by a third party, or you supply or make arrangements to supply labour.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/use-of-labour-providers

UK: HELP AND SUPPORT FOR MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION

On 10 May, HMRC published updated information on webinars and online courses one can use find out more about money laundering supervision.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-and-support-for-anti-money-laundering

UK GOVERNMENT CONSIDERS PLANS TO CREATE NATIONAL HUB FOR COURT JUDGMENTS

On 10 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that plans to create the first single comprehensive repository of England and Wales court judgments are being considered by the Government.  Such a service would publish almost every decision made by courts and tribunals, unlike the current selective system run by the British and Irish Legal Information Institute (BAILII).

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/government-considers-plans-to-create-national-hub-for-court-judgments/5108426.article

LUGANO CONVENTION FOR UK REBUFF WILL HIT WEAKER PARTIES MOST

On 10 May, the Law Society Gazette reported that excluding the UK from the Lugano Convention on recognition of judgments would have major consequences for weaker parties seeking justice in their own courts.  The EU Commission has recommended such an exclusion.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/lugano-rebuff-will-hit-weaker-parties-most-lawyers-say/5108425.article

AMAZON BLOCKED 10 BILLION FRAUDULENT LISTINGS IN 2020, REPORT FINDS

On 10 May, Breaking News in Ireland reported that Amazon prevented more than 10 billion fraudulent product listings from appearing in its online stores in 2020 and seized more than 2 million counterfeit products, according to a new latest brand protection report from Amazon.

https://www.breakingnews.ie/business/amazon-blocked-ten-billion-fraudulent-listings-in-2020-report-1124578.html 

DR CONGO PROSECUTOR SEEKS TO QUIZ EX-PM IN GRAFT PROBE

On 10 May, Mail Online reported that prosecutors in DR Congo have asked parliament to lift the immunity of former prime minister Augustin Matata Ponyo so that he can face a probe into embezzlement of public funds.  He is the latest public figure to come under scrutiny over alleged corruption since President Felix Tshisekedi took office in January 2019.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-9562407/DR-Congo-prosecutor-seeks-quiz-ex-PM-graft-probe.html

FIRST-EVER WHISTLEBLOWER REWARD IN CONTINENTAL EUROPE RECEIVED BY SLOVAKIAN DOCTOR

Business review in Romania reported on 10 May that the doctor reportedly received a €3,000 reward from Slovakia’s Justice Department for revealing that health records were being falsified.

https://business-review.eu/international/cesee-news/first-ever-whistleblower-reward-in-continental-europe-received-by-slovakian-doctor-219761

20 ALLEGED PHILIPPINE MONEY MULES ARRESTED IN TAIWAN

On 10 May, Focus Taiwan reported that 20 migrant workers from the Philippines have been arrested for allegedly working as money mules for an internet fraud ring that was targeting Taiwanese nationals.  The group in Taiwan was headed by a 35-year-old Filipino migrant worker who allegedly had been recruited by a fraud ring based in the Philippines. 

https://focustaiwan.tw/society/202105100014

SHANGHAI CUSTOMS INTERCEPTS 247 SMUGGLED REAGENTS OF HUMAN CELLS

On 10 May, the Global Times reported that Shanghai customs recently intercepted 247 reagents of human cells hidden in a shipment of “laboratory growth medium”.  A biological science and technology company in Shanghai was found to have repeatedly smuggled imported human cells in the same way since June 2020.  Human cells are the basic materials for biomedical and life science researches, and are categorised as “special goods” under China’s frontier health and quarantine regulations and laws. 

https://www.globaltimes.cn/page/202105/1223037.shtml

THE HISTORY OF OUR HUMAN RIGHTS

EachOther is a UK-focused charity that uses independent journalism, storytelling and filmmaking to put the human into human rights.  It has produced a 4-part series which takes one through the history of human rights from their formal inception to the present day. The parts are designed as a series of explainers to help demystify human rights.

https://eachother.org.uk/part-one-the-history-of-our-human-rights/

https://eachother.org.uk/part-two-what-is-the-link-between-social-justice-and-human-rights/

https://eachother.org.uk/part-three-how-has-covid-19-affected-our-human-rights/

https://eachother.org.uk/part-four-the-future-of-human-rights-in-the-uk/

PANDEMIC SPENDING IMMUNITY DEEPENS EL SALVADOR CORRUPTION CONCERNS

On 10 May, Insight Crime reported that, with a new law granting immunity to El Salvador officials accused of mismanaging coronavirus funds and the resignation of a prosecutor looking into pandemic-related spending, President Nayib Bukele and allies are wasting no time undermining a major corruption investigation aimed at his administration.

https://insightcrime.org/news/pandemic-immunity-el-salvador-corruption/

CORRUPTION UNDER AUSTERITY

On 10 May, an article from VOX, at the Centre for Economic Policy Research, says that austerity measures have been widely adopted around the world with mixed results in terms of public debt reduction and adverse political effects. The article examines the effect of fiscal austerity policies on corruption in Italian municipalities. The budget rules have led to a decrease in both recorded corruption rates and corruption charges per euro spent, without a clear effect on local public service provision. The drop in corruption emerges mostly in pre-electoral years for mayors eligible for re-election. It suggests that budget constraints might induce local governments to curb expenditures while dampening exposure to corruption.

https://voxeu.org/article/corruption-under-austerity

Incidentally, an interesting earlier article from 2019 suggested that austerity in the UK may have been a major reason for the Brexit vote –

https://voxeu.org/article/austerity-caused-brexit

TURNING TECHNOLOGY AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKERS

On 6 May, an article in MIT News from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology explains how the MIT Lincoln Laboratory, a federally funded research and development centre, has harnessed its technological expertise toward combating human trafficking.  Researchers met with federal, state, and local agencies, NGO, and technology companies to understand the challenges in identifying, investigating, and prosecuting trafficking cases.  In 2019, the team compiled their findings and 29 targeted technology recommendations into a roadmap for the federal government and this roadmap informed the Department of Homeland Security’s counter-trafficking strategy released in 2020.  It is said that a recent workshop was an opportunity for the laboratory’s researchers to present several advanced tools in development. 

https://news.mit.edu/2021/turning-technology-against-human-traffickers-0506

MEXICO’S CARTELS ARE EXPERIMENTING WITH CONTROL OF ANOTHER PART OF THE COCAINE TRADE

On 7 May, Yahoo News reported that Mexican drug cartels’ longstanding attempts to bring coca plantations out of South America and onto their own localities may be bearing fruit.  The military destroyed a 4-hectare plantation of coca in the mountains of Guerrero state in February – the third time authorities have found coca plantations in Mexico.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/mexicos-cartels-experimenting-control-another-125157195.html

TUNISIANS ARE TRYING TO RECOVER STOLEN ASSETS BUT IT’S NOT GOING WELL

On 7 May, an article in Newlines Magazine says that, 10 years after Tunisia became the first country to spark the so-called Arab Spring, the attempts to recover assets that were stolen are not going well.  It says that, for example, the looting and destruction of priceless archaeological treasures was symbolic of the excesses of El Materi (then poised to become President Ben Ali’s successor) and the rest of the Ben Ali clan.  From the mid-1990s, the dictator and his family had amassed vast swaths of wealth through the Tunisian economy.  The Global Financial Integrity estimates that between 2000 and 2008, over $9 billion was lost to illicit financial activities and official government corruption. 10 years on, many members of the clan remain in exile, scattered across the world in Saudi Arabia, the Seychelles, and France.  But what happened to the money? Where is it hidden, and will Tunisians ever be able to recover what was stolen from them?  It is said that the answer is somewhat depressing.  It is said to be useful when examining Tunisia’s asset recovery strategy to first establish how the clan operated and how exactly they became so wealthy. It is also said that the 10th anniversary of the Arab Spring saw a renewed government attention in the issue, and a public outcry over recent developments has put pressure on officials.  The current President says that the government is in the process of relaunching investigations and designating a new legal team.

https://newlinesmag.com/reportage/the-tunisia-heist/

SOUTH AFRICA: ALLEGED WESTERN CAPE UNDERWORLD KINGPIN, POLICE APPEAR IN COURT FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

On 10 May, SABC News reported that Nafiz Modack and anti-gang unit policeman Ashley Tabisher have appeared in court.  Modack also faces a slew of other charges including conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and extortion.  In 2020, 16 people, including senior police officers and Modack were arrested in connection with fraud and corruption.  The arrests follow a 3-year investigation into the issuing of gun licences without verification or following protocols.

https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/alleged-western-cape-underworld-kingpin-police-appear-in-court-for-money-laundering/

https://www.sabcnews.com/sabcnews/senior-police-officers-underworld-kingpin-nabbed-for-fraud-and-corruption/

https://www.visualcapitalist.com/visualizing-explosion-lumber-prices-50k/

BREXIT AND ITS IMPACT ON GLOBAL MOBILITY: PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE

KPMG has produced an article saying that mobile workers who are affected by Brexit, and their employers, must note that there are significant differences between the rules laid out in the Protocol and the rules laid out in EU legislation.  The decisions on whether the rules in the Protocol apply or the rules in the EU legislation can continue to apply to a mobile worker will impact not only present, but also future social security coverage for the mobile worker and his/her current and future employers.  This article looks at the various agreements between the EU and the U.K. to help facilitate relations between the two parties in light of Brexit and how they govern the application of social security rules to mobile workers and their employers and in what ways they needed, and need, to comply with the new rules, pre-Brexit and post-Brexit. 

https://tax.kpmg.us/content/dam/tax/en/pdfs/2021/mobility-matters2-052021.pdf

THIRD COUNTRIES HAVE ALIGNED THEMSELVES WITH VARIOUS EU SANCTIONS

On 10 May, the EU Sanctions blog reported on which third countries have chosen to align with various updated/amended EU sanctions regimes. 

https://www.europeansanctions.com/2021/05/5-sanctions-regimes-renewed-third-countries-align-with-6-eu-regimes/

SARAWAK LOGGING GIANTS TO BE HELD TO ACCOUNT NOT BY MALAYSIA BUT BY PNG

On 10 May, Sarawak Report reported that the government of Papua New Guinea has put a swathe of Sarawak-based logging concerns on notice over allegations of criminal tax evasion and illegal plunder of a foreign country.  The authorised statement from the top prosecutor announces the plan to audit 20 ‘delinquent’ logging companies in the country over suspected tax evasion – he says he plans to add more companies to the list.  It is said that the rapacious plunder of logging companies based in Sarawak has as a matter of record spread well beyond Malaysian borders.

https://www.sarawakreport.org/2021/05/sarawak-logging-giants-to-be-held-to-account-not-by-malaysia-but-by-png/

CORPORATE LIABILITY FOR CORRUPTION IN MALAYSIA

An article from Hogan Lovells on 10 May says that section 17A of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission Act raises the possibility of corporate liability for corruption in addition to personal liability for board and senior management members involved.  This came into force mid-2020, was invoked for the first time in March 2021.  The article sets out implications for international businesses operating in Malaysia.

https://www.jdsupra.com/post/fileServer.aspx?fName=2500716c-3ad3-42ab-aa1a-27c8d89e9e49.pdf

 

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ISRAEL: SEVERAL INDICTED IN SUBMARINE CORRUPTION AFFAIR

On 10 May, the Times of Israel reported that 4 years after a probe was first launched, state prosecutors have filed indictments against suspects in a sprawling alleged corruption scandal called “Case 3000” and involving the purchase of navy vessels worth hundreds of millions of dollars from a German shipbuilder.  However, cases were closed against David Shimron, cousin and former personal lawyer to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as well as former commander of the Israeli Navy Eliezer Marom, after prosecutors accepted their defences.  Indictments for bribery, money laundering, and tax offences were filed against Miki Ganor, who was the local agent for Thyssenkrupp, and Avriel Bar-Yosef, once Netanyahu’s choice to be head of the Israel National Security Council, was indicted for bribery and breach of trust.  Indictments for bribery, money laundering, and breach of trust were filed against Netanyahu’s former chief of staff David Sharan; former chair of the fundraising organization Keron Hayesod (the United Israel Appeal) Eliezer Sandberg; Brigadier General(reserve) Shay Brosh, a former commander of the Israeli Navy’s commando unit; Rami Taib, a former political adviser to Likud minister Yuval Steinitz; and media adviser Yitzhak Liber.  The scandal involves suspicions Israeli officials were bribed to push for the acquisition of naval vessels and submarines from ThyssenKrupp. It also involves the sale of 2 submarines and 2 anti-submarine warships by Germany to Egypt.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/several-indicted-in-submarine-affair-ex-navy-chief-netanyahus-cousin-off-hook

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UK NATIONAL CYBER SECURITY CENTRE REPORT

On 10 May, Professional Security reported that the 4th annual report from NCSC, a part of GCHQ, says it had taken down more scams in the last year than in the previous 3 years combined.  The NCSC used its Takedown Service against scams such as fake celebrity endorsement scams and bogus Covid vaccines adverts. More than 700,000 online scams totalling 1.4 million URL were removed by the NCSC. The most phished UK government brand was HMRC.  The Suspicious Email Reporting Service was launched in April 2020, and received nearly four million reports by year-end, leading to the removal of over 26,000 scams not previously identified by the Takedown Service.

https://www.professionalsecurity.co.uk/news/case-studies/ncsc-report/

The NCSC report is at –

https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/files/Active-Cyber-Defence-ACD-The-Fourth-Year.pdf

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BBC REPORT HIGHLIGHTS SHAM ‘MINI UMBRELLA COMPANIES’

On 10 May, The Recruiter reported that a new report from the BBC has again put the spotlight on schemes that create sham ‘mini umbrella companies’ that UK temporary workers are employed through, costing the UK “hundreds of millions of pounds” in lost taxes.  It is claimed that more than 48,000 of these companies have been created in the past 5 years, involving the recruitment of more than 40,000 people from the Philippines to front the companies as ‘directors’.  Recruitment agencies working on behalf of clients employ temporary workers through a series of mini umbrella companies and, because each has only a small number of workers, it can qualify for the NI relief.. 

https://www.recruiter.co.uk/news/2021/05/bbc-report-highlights-sham-mini-umbrella-companies

https://www.personneltoday.com/hr/thousands-of-mini-umbrella-companies-abusing-tax-system/

HMRC FACING CALLS TO DO MORE TO TACKLE MINI UMBRELLA FRAUD IN WAKE OF BBC INVESTIGATION

https://www.computerweekly.com/news/252500463/HMRC-facing-calls-to-do-more-to-tackle-mini-umbrella-fraud-in-wake-of-BBC-investigation

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/mini-umbrella-company-fraud

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