BLOCKCHAIN: LEGAL AND REGULATORY GUIDANCE

On 11 January, the Law Society of England & Wales has published the second edition of its guidance which covers a range of key issues for legal practitioners to be aware of when advising on DLT-related matters.  The report is divided into 2 parts – developing technologies and impacts on the wider landscape.  The Law Society says that lawyers need to be aware not only of how network technology and other code-based technologies operate, but how these technologies impact the wider areas of litigation. This includes how decentralisation and smart contracts are changing the way financial, property and legal services are carried out.

https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/topics/research/blockchain-legal-and-regulatory-guidance-second-edition

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THE LARGEST DARK WEB VENDOR OF STOLEN CREDIT CARDS RETIRES AFTER RAKING IN $358 MILLION IN CRYPTO

On 12 January, Elliptic reported that UniCC announced its “retirement” on dark web forums in both Russian and English.  It comes just under a year since the retirement of the previous market leader, Joker’s Stash.

https://www.elliptic.co/blog/unicc-the-largest-dark-web-vendor-of-stolen-credit-cards-retires-after-raking-in-358-million-in-crypto

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EU COULD SUSPEND VANUATU VISA-FREE TRAVEL OVER ‘GOLDEN PASSPORTS’ SCHEME

On 14 January, the Guardian reported that the EU Commission has proposed suspending a visa-free travel arrangement with Vanuatu due to concerns about its controversial “golden passports” scheme.  The citizenship-by-investment (CBI) programmes allow foreign nationals to purchase Vanuatu citizenship for $130,000 in a process that typically takes just over a month, without ever setting foot in the country.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jan/14/eu-could-suspend-vanuatu-visa-free-travel-over-golden-passports-scheme

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/QANDA_22_266

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 13

Panama Covid-19 – no figures for today to report yet…maybe the numbers are too high to count….

13 JANUARY 2022

THE NATURE AND SCOPE OF IUU FISHING AND FISHERIES CRIME IN CAMEROON

On 11 January, Dryad Global published a profile, saying that the fisheries sector matters for Cameroon’s maritime security since it makes a significant contribution to the economy, food security and local livelihoods.  It says that IUU fishing and fisheries crime are 2 concepts increasingly being used to refer to a wide range of actions that directly or indirectly impact on fish value chains.  It is said that the violation of fishing zones especially by industrial fishers was reported as the most recurrent illegal fishing problem; other prominent illegal practices are that of twin or pair trawling, and fishing in breeding grounds (especially mangrove forests) and the deliberate destruction of these to smoke fish.  Bribery, extortion and corruption is also said to be rife.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/the-nature-and-scope-of-illegal-unreported-and-unregulated-fishing-and-fisheries-crime-in-cameroon

MARITIME PIRACY AND THE ENTITLEMENT TO RECOVERY FROM INSURERS FOR CONTRIBUTIONS FOR RANSOMS PAID

On 12 January, Rajah & Tann Asia in Singapore published an article concerning an English Court of Appeal case and asking are shipowners entitled to recover part of the ransom paid to pirates as general average contribution from the holders of the bill of lading?  The Court of Appeal said yes, arriving at its conclusion by interpreting the terms of the bills of lading and the terms of the voyage charter to the extent they were germane to the contract of carriage evidenced by the bills.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/documents.lexology.com/82780842-0f99-403f-b518-c688accafc0b.pdf?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAVYILUYJ754JTDY6T&Expires=1642075253&Signature=9cix2QODRrI4ubMjHHmnM8PbaWA%3D

SMUGGLED IRANIAN FUEL AND SECRET NIGHT-TIME TRANSFERS IN THE GULF

On 11 January, Dryad Global carried a Washington Post article about secret transfers which usually take place at night to evade detection by regional coast guards.  The ships anchor in the Persian Gulf just outside the territorial limits of the UAE, and then, individually, small boats carrying smuggled Iranian diesel shift their loads to the waiting vessels, according to seafarers who have witnessed the trade.

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/smuggled-iranian-fuel-and-secret-night-time-transfers

UAE IS HUB FOR COMPANIES HELPING VENEZUELA AVOID US OIL SANCTIONS

On 12 January, Dryad Global said that 3 UAE-based entities had been identified by Reuters that have shipped Venezuelan crude and fuel during the second half of 2021; and that activity shows how the UAE, one of the closest allies of the US in the Middle East, is a hub for companies helping Venezuela skirt US sanctions. 

https://channel16.dryadglobal.com/uae-emerges-as-hub-for-companies-helping-venezuela-avoid-u.s.-oil-sanctions

INDONESIA RELAXES EXPORT BAN TO ALLOW 37 COAL VESSELS TO DEPART

On 13 January Nikkei Asia reported that the partial relaxation comes amid lobbying by other Asian nations that rely on supplies from the country.  However, if any coal companies that supplied the departing vessels have not fulfilled their domestic market obligations (DMO), they will be subjected to fines.  The export ban, introduced on 1 January, runs through the end of the month.  Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, which rely on Indonesian coal to generate electricity, had called on Indonesia to drop the export ban earlier this month.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Markets/Commodities/Indonesia-relaxes-export-ban-to-allow-37-coal-vessels-to-depart

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/policy-risk-remains-as-indonesia-eases-coal-export-ban/

PANAMA MARITIME REVIEW 2021/2022

Seatrade Maritime has released this e-book, available free online, which examines the position of the shipping and logistics sector in Panama.

https://digital.seatrade-maritime.com/en/special-reports/panama-maritime-review-2021.html

CRYPTO-SAVINGS LAWSUIT PUTS PRINCIPLES OF DEFI TO THE TEST

On 13 January, the Wall Street Journal reported on the case of PoolTogether Inc, a company associated with a blockchain-based app that gamifies savings by cryptocurrency holders.   A lawsuit, filed by a software engineer, has challenged the legality of PoolTogether’s operation, saying the scheme is essentially a lottery and prohibited under New York law.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/crypto-savings-lawsuit-puts-principles-of-defi-to-the-test-11642069806

TURKEY FREEZES ASSETS OF 770 INDIVIDUALS AND A US-BASED FOUNDATION

On 24 December, Reuters carried an article saying that Turkey has frozen the assets of a total of 770 people and a US-based foundation – Chicago-based Niagara Foundation – alleging terrorism financing; and links with the US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, accused by Turkey of staging a coup attempt in 2016.

https://www.reuters.com/markets/europe/turkey-freezes-assets-770-individuals-us-based-foundation-2021-12-24/

UN INVESTIGATORS FOCUS ON ISIS TERROR CAMPS IN HUNT FOR $50 MILLION WAR CHEST

On 30 December, The National reported that UN investigators believe they are close to finding ISIS’s $50 million war chest after uncovering leads in the terror group’s “inner workings” that point to camps housing its fighters.  Unitad is the UN body investigating atrocities carried out by ISIS.

https://www.thenationalnews.com/world/uk-news/2021/12/30/un-investigators-focus-on-isis-terror-camps-in-hunt-for-50m-war-chest/

EU WILL FALL IN LINE WITH ECOWAS SANCTIONS ON MALI

On 13 December, Devdiscourse reported that the EU foreign policy chief has said that the EU would follow the ECOWAS sanctions on Mali – these including the suspension of financial transactions, over the interim authorities’ failure to hold democratic elections next month as agreed after a 2020 military coup.

https://www.devdiscourse.com/article/law-order/1881914-eu-will-fall-in-line-with-ecowas-sanctions-on-mali-borrell-says

BAHAMAS REMOVED FROM EU AML BLACKLIST

On 13 January, Eyewitness News reported that The Bahamas has been delisted from the EU AML Blacklist of countries, with the EU Commission having concluded that this nation has addressed the strategic deficiencies in its AML/CFT regime.

https://ewnews.com/bahamas-removed-from-eus-aml-blacklist

https://www.internationalinvestment.net/news/4043173/bahamas-delisted-eu-aml-blacklist

US: TACKLING TELEMEDICINE FRAUD

An e-magazine from Medical Technology considers how fraudsters are gaming the US healthcare system, regulating the grey area between drugs and devices, and more.

https://medical-technology.nridigital.com/medical_technology_jan22/in_this_issue

UK: THE REGULATION OF E-CIGARETTES

On 12 January, a briefing paper from the House of Commons Library outlines the new product requirements for e-cigarettes and identifies where national regulations have gone beyond what is in the EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cbp-8114/

HOW BOSNIA BECAME AN EASY TARGET FOR THE FAR RIGHT

On 12 January, a Commentary from RUSI says that far-right European politicians such as Hungary’s Viktor Orbán have been making common cause with Serb nationalists who seek to tear Bosnia and Herzegovina apart.  It says that the new geopolitical relationships make it easier for Balkan nationalists to hide their irredentist aspirations towards Bosnia’s territory and their animosity towards Muslim Bosniaks behind the banner of fighting a mutual and insidious enemy alongside the European far right.

https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/how-bosnia-became-easy-target-far-right

TYCOON ‘MOPPED UP’ ZIMBABWE’S SCARCE DOLLARS AND ACQUIRED A LUCRATIVE PLATINUM MINE

On 13 January, an article from OCCRP claims that, as Zimbabweans faced the economic consequences of a crashing currency, well-connected businessman Kudakwashe Tagwirei skirted the rules to convert government-backed securities into scarce US dollars — which he used to acquire shares in a lucrative platinum mine from a company led by people linked to the military.

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/as-us-sanctions-loomed-a-tycoon-mopped-up-zimbabwes-scarce-dollars-and-acquired-a-lucrative-platinum-mine

US CUSTOMS STOPS THOUSANDS OF FAKE ID LEAVING THE US

A news release from US Customs & Border Protection on 12 January said that, since early December, officers had intensified inspections on outbound shipments moving through the Cincinnati Port of Entry.  During Special Operation Red Phantom, officers focused enforcement efforts on fantasy and breeder documents produced in the US and shipped to countries on every continent.  From 6 December to 10 January, officers have seized 617 shipments containing 2,211 fantasy documents such as international driver’s licences (IDP) and accompanying booklets.  All of the licences originated in New York or Florida by a company not authorised to produce these types of documentation.  Only 2 companies have authorization by the Department of State to print international driver’s licences in the US: the American Automobile Association (AAA) and the American Automobile Touring Alliance (AATA).

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cincinnati-cbp-stops-thousands-fake-ids-leaving-us

JORDAN REPORTS ‘DRAMATIC’ INCREASE IN DRUG SMUGGLING ATTEMPTS FROM SYRIA

On 12 January, Arab News reported that experts have warned of Syria becoming a narco-state, posing cross-border threats to nearby Jordan, the region and the rest of the world; with Captagon and tramadol being particular problems.

https://www.arabnews.com/node/2003206/middle-east

UK: RIGHT TO WORK CHECKS FOR EMPLOYERS FROM 6 APRIL

On 13 January, an article from Eversheds Sutherland detailed the changes being introduced from 6 April, saying that employers will no longer be able to carry out a manual right to work check on those who hold a biometric residence permit, biometric residence card or a frontier worker permit.  From that date, employers must use a specific gov.uk portal and share code process) for all checks. In addition, the Home Office recently announced that employers will be able to use certified Identification Document Validation Technology (IDVT) to carry out digital identity checks on new employees in the future. This will include candidates previously outside the scope of the Home Office’s current online services, such as British and Irish citizens. This change, once finalised and implemented, is likely to come into force in April 2022.  IDVT technology establishes the authenticity of documents such as passports and biometric residence permits for identity verification purposes. 

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Employment_and_labour_law/uk-immigration-right-to-work-check

CRYPTOCURRENCY-BASED CRIME DOUBLED IN 2021

On 12 January, an article from Out-Law was concerned with a recent report showing that cryptocurrency-based crime hit a new all-time high in 2021, constituting around $14 billion-worth of transactions – up from $7.8 billion in 2020.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/cryptocurrency-based-crime-doubled-in-2021

DO EL SALVADOR SEIZURES SIGNAL PACIFIC COCAINE SURGE?

An article from Insight Crime on 12 January reported that El Salvador’s Navy has seized record amounts of cocaine recently, indicating a possible resurgence of maritime trafficking off the country’s Pacific coast.  The latest interdictions occurred at the close of 2021, when authorities intercepted 2 drug submarines carrying more than 4 tons of cocaine.  In 2021, authorities seized nearly 12 tons of cocaine, a massive jump from the 2.9 tons seized in 2020 and 1.4 tons in 2019.

https://insightcrime.org/news/el-salvador-pacific-cocaine-surge/

SEYCHELLES: HUNTING FOR A MISSING $50 MILLION

On 12 January, the BBC reported that 6 of Seychelles’ most prominent citizens including the former First Lady are facing charges in a corruption scandal involving $50 million of missing foreign aid. The money was a gift 20 years ago from the UAE, intended to help the struggling islands overcome a foreign exchange shortage and pay for basics: rice, flour, cooking oil.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-59866693

KPMG SAYS IT MISLED UK AUDIT WATCHDOG OVER CARILLION WORK

On 10 January, Swissinfo reported that KPMG LLP said it misled the Financial Reporting Council over major work it carried out for collapsed Carillion Plc and data services company Regenersis. 

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/kpmg-says-it-misled-u-k–audit-watchdog-over-carillion-work/47251150

FINANCING AND FACILITATION OF FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS AND RETURNEES IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA

On 13 January, FATF-style regional body APG has published this typology report which examines what is known and unknown regarding financial profiles of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) connected to SE Asia and explores the collection and utilisation of financial intelligence related to FTF in the region.  To assist APG members and the broader counter-terrorism community, this report includes recommendations on enhancing information exchange and feedback channels to improve the use of financial intelligence in identifying FTF and returnees.  The report puts forward a number of recommendations for APG members, namely that there is a need to –

1. increase the understanding and awareness of the threats posed by returnees, including their financial linkages and support structures;

2. support the private sector in improving and refining their “red flags” to detect transaction patterns that could suggest foreign terrorist fighter and returnee activity;

3. strengthen feedback channels from law enforcement to support more effective high-quality analysis by FIU; and

4. continue to bolster mechanisms to facilitate the exchange of financial intelligence, including through public–private partnerships and ongoing regional forums.

http://www.apgml.org/news/details.aspx?pcPage=1&n=3184

THE WESTERN SAHARA ISSUE IS SOURING MOROCCO’S RELATIONS WITH EUROPE

On 13 January, World Politics Review published an article saying that securing broad international recognition for its sovereignty over the Western Sahara is more than a high priority for Morocco: It has been the main objective of the kingdom’s foreign policy over the past 2 decades.  It refers to tensions with Algeria, which supports the Polisario Front, a political and military movement that has fought for Western Sahara’s independence since 1973, when it was still a Spanish colony.  It remarks that skirmishes between Moroccan forces and the Polisario Front have once again become recurrent along the desert frontlines of Western Sahara. 

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/articles/30245/the-morocco-western-sahara-conflict-is-souring-morocco-eu-ties

US DEMANDS ADDITIONAL UN SANCTIONS ON NORTH KOREA FOLLOWING MISSILE TESTS

On 13 January, The Korea Times reported that the US is pushing for additional UN Security Council sanctions against North Korea following a series of recent missile launches.  Both South Korea and the US called the weapons tests a violation of existing sanctions resolutions, which ban any launches using ballistic missile technology.

https://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/nation/2022/01/103_322179.html

FINCEN ACTING DIRECTOR SPEECH – NEW THREATS, NEW INNOVATIONS, NEW PARTNERSHIPS

On 13 January, FinCEN published the speech given by the Acting Director at the at the American Bankers Association/American Bar Association Financial Crimes Enforcement Conference. 

https://www.fincen.gov/news/speeches/prepared-remarks-fincen-acting-director-him-das-delivered-virtually-american-bankers 

NIGERIA: FAKE ARMY GENERAL ARRESTED OVER FRAUD

On 13 January, Sahara TV reported that Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) have arrested a fake Army General, for an alleged fraud valued at around $700,000.  He posed as a General in the Nigerian Army, allegedly made false representations to the complainant that President Buhari had shortlisted him and one other to be appointed as the Chief of Army Staff and that he needed a short grant “to press and process the appointment”.

http://saharareporters.com/2022/01/13/fake-army-general-who-%E2%80%98claimed-buhari-nominated-him-chief-army-staff%E2%80%99-arrested-over 

LARGE SWISS COMPANIES TO PAY MINIMUM 15% TAX RATE FROM 2024

On 13 January, Yahoo Finance reported that Switzerland will implement from 2024 the minimum tax rate for large multinational companies agreed last year by the OECD and G20 member states, the finance ministry has said.

https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/switzerland-implement-minimum-tax-rate-143607972.html 

SEC SUES CROWD MACHINE FOR ALLEGEDLY FRAUDULENT AND UNREGISTERED ICO

On 13 January, an article from Prokauer is about the first enforcement action of the year involving ICO, with the SEC having charged 2 companies and their founder for violations of anti-fraud and registration provisions of the federal securities laws in connection with an initial coin offering.  Australian citizen Craig Sproule and 2 companies he founded, Crowd Machine Inc and Metavine Inc have been charged with making materially false and misleading statements in connection with an unregistered offer and sale of digital asset securities in an ICO. 

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/sec-sues-crowd-machine-for-allegedly-8927831/

 

 

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at

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UK: 2 EXISTING SANCTIONS ENTRIES AMENDED

On 13 January, HM Treasury issued a Notice advising that the existing entries for Dmitry Vadimovich KOVTUN and Andrey Konstantinovich LUGOVOY have been amended following their designation under the Global Human Rights Sanctions Regulations and are still subject to an asset freeze.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1046404/Notice_Global_Human_Rights_130122.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

FINANCING AND FACILITATION OF FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS AND RETURNEES IN SOUTH-EAST ASIA

On 13 January, FATF-style regional body APG has published this typology report which examines what is known and unknown regarding financial profiles of foreign terrorist fighters (FTF) connected to SE Asia and explores the collection and utilisation of financial intelligence related to FTF in the region.  To assist APG members and the broader counter-terrorism community, this report includes recommendations on enhancing information exchange and feedback channels to improve the use of financial intelligence in identifying FTF and returnees.  The report puts forward a number of recommendations for APG members, namely that there is a need to –

1. increase the understanding and awareness of the threats posed by returnees, including their financial linkages and support structures;

2. support the private sector in improving and refining their “red flags” to detect transaction patterns that could suggest foreign terrorist fighter and returnee activity;

3. strengthen feedback channels from law enforcement to support more effective high-quality analysis by FIU; and

4. continue to bolster mechanisms to facilitate the exchange of financial intelligence, including through public–private partnerships and ongoing regional forums.

http://www.apgml.org/news/details.aspx?pcPage=1&n=3184

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

EU AMENDS ITS LIST OF HIGH-RISK THIRD COUNTRIES

On 13 January, Dentons reported that, on 7 January, the EU Commission officially removed Mauritius from its list of high-risk third countries which identifies third-country jurisdictions with strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes that pose significant threats to the financial system of the EU.  The EU Regulation will add Burkina Faso, Cayman Islands, Haiti, Jordan, Mali, Morocco, the Philippines, Senegal and South Sudan to the List and deletes The Bahamas, Botswana, Ghana, Iraq and Mauritius.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/alerts/2022/january/13/mauritius-removed-from-the-eus-list-of-highrisk-third-countries

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

UK: SOUTH SUDAN SANCTIONS – ENTRY FOR PAUL MALONG AWON ANEI AMENDED

On 12 January, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that the entry for Paul Malong Awon ANEI, Chief of General Staff of the SPLA, had been amended.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1045934/Notice_South_Sudan_120122.pdf

Any modest contributions for my time and ongoing expenses are welcomed!  I have a page where you can do so, and where one-off contributions start as low as $3, at https://www.buymea3coffee.com/KoIvM842y

MONEYVAL: CYPRUS HAS MADE SOME PROGRESS ON COMBATTING MONEY LAUNDERING

On 13 January, In-Cyprus reported that a follow-up report from MONEYVAL said that Cyprus has made some progress in improving its level of compliance with FATF standards on combatting money laundering and the financing of terrorism.  However, it is also said that some shortcomings have still to be addressed.  The First Enhanced Follow-up Report was published on 13 January.  Following the report, Cyprus will remain in enhanced follow-up and will continue to report back to MONEYVAL on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures. Cyprus is expected to report back within 1 year’s time.

https://in-cyprus.philenews.com/moneyval-cyprus-has-made-some-progress-on-combatting-money-laundering/

https://rm.coe.int/moneyval-2021-20-fur-cyprus/1680a52895