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Economic Crime Law Blog

The European Court of Justice Strikes Down Public Access to Beneficial Ownership Information: First Thoughts

Since May 2018, the EU has been a trailblazer in mandating public access to beneficial ownership information, i.e. records of who actually owns companies as a matter of economic reality, as opposed to formal legal ownership. This came to abrupt halt yesterday, on 22 November 2022, with the EU’s Court of Justice ruling that theContinue reading “The European Court of Justice Strikes Down Public Access to Beneficial Ownership Information: First Thoughts”

Publication alert… Sanctions and Trading With the Enemy; Money Laundering and Customary International Law

In the world of academia, if it was not published in a peer-reviewed journal, it does not exist! I hope you will forgive me for using this post to share two of my latest attempts at playing the publications game. The first of these, ‘Trading with a Friend’s Enemy‘, is now out in the AmericanContinue reading “Publication alert… Sanctions and Trading With the Enemy; Money Laundering and Customary International Law”

Was OFAC Right to Sanction Tornado Cash?

In August 2022 the US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) imposed financial sanctions on the cryptocurrency mixer Tornado Cash, in a move that caused widespread consternation. This is potentially the first time that a truly decentralised cryptocurrency service provider — mixer or exchange — has become subject to sanctions. A month later, aContinue reading “Was OFAC Right to Sanction Tornado Cash?”

The EU Proposal on Sanctions and Confiscation: Good, But Not Fit-for-Purpose?

Yesterday the European Commission unveiled two proposed instruments that deal with the freezing and seizure of assets. One of these is a Council Decision that would designate sanctions evasion as a serious crime within the EU’s competence, with a view to then setting the definition of the offence and applicable penalties. The other is aContinue reading “The EU Proposal on Sanctions and Confiscation: Good, But Not Fit-for-Purpose?”

Sanctions Miscellany, Or What Would I Do If I Taught at Belarus State University?

Being an Orthodox Christian in Australia means having the benefit of two Easters, the local one and the real one. So, as the time for Easter egg-painting has not yet arrived — not that I have any clue how to do that, to be honest — it is hardly surprising that I spent part ofContinue reading “Sanctions Miscellany, Or What Would I Do If I Taught at Belarus State University?”

How Does One Regulate Cryptocurrency Mixing?

A couple of weeks ago the Financial Times reported that the UK’s National Crime Agency had called for extending anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing (AML/CTF) rules to cryptocurrency mixers. The Financial Times writes: ‘Around 15 per cent of all proceeds of crime was routed through mixers in 2021, according to Elliptic, a group that analysesContinue reading “How Does One Regulate Cryptocurrency Mixing?”

Should Sanctions Extend to Family Members?

Russia-related sanctions add urgency to one of the most complex, and largely unresolved, questions in the law and policy of targeted sanctions. Should the buck stop with the individuals involved in sanctionable conduct or should asset freezes and travel bans also be imposed on their family members? Take the example of Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s long-standingContinue reading “Should Sanctions Extend to Family Members?”

Why the Financial Action Task Force Should Kick Out Russia

In 2003, the United States successfully wooed Russia to join the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the intergovernmental grouping that develops global standards against financial crime. Just short of twenty years later, at last week’s plenary that coincided with Russia’s brutal onslaught on Ukraine, the FATF failed to expel the former. This is an errorContinue reading “Why the Financial Action Task Force Should Kick Out Russia”

Russian Assets, Accountability for Ukraine, and a Plea for Short-Term Thinking

This post was first published on EJIL: Talk! and is reproduced with the editors’ permission. The viciousness of the Russian armed attack on Ukraine means that avenues for accountability are at a premium. Ukraine’s major cities, including Kyiv, Kharkiv and Chernihiv, have been withstanding a days-long barrage of indiscriminate shelling and missile strikes. War crimes have evidently been committed while RussianContinue reading “Russian Assets, Accountability for Ukraine, and a Plea for Short-Term Thinking”

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