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LONDON SHOWCASE EVENT FOR ‘GOLDEN PASSPORTS’

On 18th November, KYC 360 carried a Guardian report saying that 3 prime ministers (of St Lucia, Albania and Montenegro) appeared on the stage at an event in London.  There was also a Maltese minister, an ambassador from Antigua and Barbuda, and representatives from Cyprus.  The global citizenship conference was concerned with citizenship-by-investment programmes.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/london-ballroom-hosts-showcase-event-for-golden-passports/

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/nov/16/london-ballroom-hosts-showcase-event-for-golden-passports

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 17

17 November 2019
THE MOSCOW SKYSCRAPER HOME TO AT LEAST 18 LUXURY APARTMENTS BOUGHT BY THE EXTENDED FAMILY OF SYRIAN DICTATOR BASHAR ASSAD 

An article on the Ozy website on 17 November was concerned with the City of Capitals complex, a skyscraper that was once Europe’s tallest and with tenants that include the offices for Diageo, Italian fashion group Calzedonia and top Russian banks.  Neighbouring towers house government ministries, 5-star hotels and the country’s wealthiest business people.  It also has luxury apartments bought by the extended family of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to keep tens of millions of dollars out of Syria as the country’s civil war raged.  Property registration documents are said to show that between 2013 and June 2019, the family and its associates — many of whom are under EU or US sanctions — purchased the luxury apartments.

https://www.ozy.com/fast-forward/the-moscow-skyscraper-thats-assads-escape-from-western-sanctions/243044/

 

FATF ACTION PLAN IMPLEMENTATION: TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE OFFERED BY EU TO PAKISTAN
One India and others on 17 November reported this as FATF last month had retained Pakistan on its ‘Grey List’ till February 2020 for its failure to take adequate action against money laundering and terror financing.
https://www.oneindia.com/international/eu-offers-technical-assistance-to-pak-for-fatf-action-plan-i-2979555.html

SEVENTH IMF STATISTICAL FORUM: MEASURING THE INFORMAL ECONOMY

This meeting at IMF Headquarters on 14th and 15th November considered a number of presentations and papers, links to some of which are provided below.

IMF Working Paper – Shadow Economies Around the World: What Did We Learn Over the Last 20 Years?

An IMF Working Paper from 2018.

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Publications/WP/2018/wp1817.ashx?la=en

Measuring the non-observed economy in Vietnam: A focus on informal economy

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-ii-roubaud.ashx?la=en

Italy: Detecting under-reporting of value added and VAT fraud in National Accounts

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-ii-sallusti.ashx?la=en

Measuring the Informal Economy in India

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-ii-murthy.ashx?la=en

Measuring the Informal Economy Business Cycles

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-ii-yu.ashx?la=en

Measuring the Contribution of the Informal Sector to the Philippine Economy: Current Practices and Challenges

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-ii-bersales.ashx?la=en

Measuring illegal economic activities and illicit financial flows: challenges and possible solutions

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-iv-zeiler.ashx?la=en

Toward developing estimates of US imports of illegal drugs

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-iv-atkinson.ashx?la=en

Misinvoicing trade & informal capital movements: the USA – India Case

https://www.imf.org/~/media/Files/Conferences/2019/7th-statistics-forum/session-iv-marjit.ashx?la=en

https://www.imf.org/en/News/Seminars/Conferences/2019/03/25/7th-statistical-forum

VICTIMS OF MODERN SLAVERY: COMPETENT AUTHORITY GUIDANCE

On 15th November, UK Visas and Immigration published updated guidance advising staff in competent authorities how to deal with victims of modern slavery, and help them decide whether a person referred under the national referral mechanism is a victim of modern slavery.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/victims-of-trafficking-guidance-for-competent-bodies

EXPANDING CANNABIS OPERATIONS IN LATIN AMERICAN & THE CARIBBEAN

On 1st June, Meritas, a global alliance of international law firms, published this guide which looks at each country, from Argentina to Uruguay, which provides brief information on the legality (or otherwise) of medicinal and personal use, legislation and proposed legislation, import/export opportunities, and cultural and investment considerations.

https://docs.meritas.org/Public_Resources/LAC_Cannabis.pdf

CMS Guide to Passporting (AIF): the Rules on Marketing Alternative Investment Funds in Europe

On 14th November, CMS Law published an article which sets out to provide a broad overview of the key elements of passporting regulations applicable to EEA AIF in the countries covered in this guide.  There may also be licence requirements and these requirements are not covered in the guide.

https://cms.law/en/gbr/publication/cms-guide-to-passporting-aif

BREXIT AND DATA PROTECTION: WHAT TO DO NEXT (WHEN YOU DON’T KNOW WHAT’S HAPPENING NEXT)

On 15th November, an article from CMS Law highlights some of the key issues for UK-based organisations, and the EEA organisations that do business with them, in these uncertain Brexit times.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2019/11/brexit-and-data-protection-what-to-do-next-when-you-dont-know-whats-happening-next?_ga=2.16799161.1259134818.1573977412-1120114776.1520330292

INTRODUCTION TO THE CONFLICT IN LIBYA

On 4th November, the EU Institute for Strategic Studies produced a short briefing paper saying that, 8 years after the revolution, Libya is in the middle of a civil war.  For more than 4 years, international conflict resolution efforts have centred on the UN-sponsored Libya Political Agreement (LPA) process, unfortunately without achieving any breakthrough.  The briefing focuses on the driving factors of conflict dynamics in Libya and on the shortcomings of the LPA in addressing them.  It shows how the approach ignored key political actors and realities on the ground from the outset, thereby limiting its impact.  It concludes (unsurprisingly) that Libya is a failed state in the middle of a civil war and increasingly poses a threat to the whole region.

https://www.iss.europa.eu/sites/default/files/EUISSFiles/Brief%2012%20Libya.pdf

MAP

https://www.rferl.org/a/unauthorized-immigration-in-europe/30273769.html

US PROSECUTORS CHARGE 14 OVER COUNTERFEIT IPHONE SCAM

On 15th November, WIPR reported that US prosecutors have filed charges against 14 individuals accused of running a counterfeit iPhone and iPad scheme that allegedly cost Apple more than $6 million.  The scam involved importing more than 10,000 counterfeit tablets and smartphones from China and exchanged them at Apple stories for legitimate products.  The group then sent the authentic devices to China to sell at a significant mark-up.

https://www.worldipreview.com/news/us-prosecutors-charge-14-over-counterfeit-iphone-scam-18898

UK AUTHORITIES “MUST INVESTIGATE RUSSIAN NATIONAL LINKED TO CYBERCRIME HUB”

In a news release dated 18th November, Global Witness said that UK law enforcement is being called on to act over new evidence Global Witness has uncovered, linking a UK company owned by a Russian national to a Bitcoin exchange company that the FBI has described as a hub for cyber-crime.  It alleges that Mayzus Financial Services – owned by Sergey Mayzus and registered in the UK – was closely linked to BTC-e, a crypto-currency exchange platform whose alleged operator is currently in prison facing money laundering charges.

https://www.globalwitness.org/en-gb/press-releases/uk-authorities-must-investigate-russian-national-linked-cyber-crime-hub/

MORE THAN £1 MILLION HAS BEEN SEIZED OVER THE LAST YEAR FROM TRAVELLERS PASSING THROUGH BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT

A news release from West Midlands Police on 17 November advised that the money was seized (in relatively small amounts) under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 by the Airport Policing Unit working together with the Counter Terrorism Unit, NCA, Border Force and the Regional Organised Crime Unit.  Anyone travelling with large amounts of money are advised to have the correct supporting documentation such as bank statements to prove the authenticity of the cash.

https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/news/west-midlands-police-seizes-ps1-million-under-poca

LAWMAKERS TOLD FOREIGN SHIPS THREATENING US MARITIME SECTOR

On 15 November, American Shipper carried a report saying that the president and CEO of the Offshore Marine Service Association (OMSA), asserted US Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which regulates cargo shipped to the US, has “created an unlevel playing field” that favours foreign vessels and foreign ship crews that work in the US offshore oil and gas industry.  He was testifying before a congressional committee in Washington.  The comments come in the light of the Trump administration to revoke past guidance on how the Jones Act is interpreted, which could potentially further expose the US offshore industry to foreign shipping. That Act requires that commercial ships moving between 2 points in the US be owned, flagged and built in the US and crewed by American citizens.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/lawmakers-told-foreign-ships-threatening-us-maritime-sector

PREVENTING THE PROLIFERATION AND USE OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS

On 14th November, the Center for Strategic and International Studies published this briefing paper which says that “old actors” are employing new forms of chemical weapons, and new chemical weapons states are employing them in new ways.  Meanwhile crude forms of chemical weapons have fallen within the reach of non-state actorsthe willingness of some state and non-state actors to use or acquire chemical weapons appears to have increased, and the potential for state or non-state actors to field chemical weapons capabilities is growing rapidly.  The paper examines the evolving and changing nature of chemical weapons, and what should be done to ensure that the proliferation and use of chemical weapons do not re-emerge as endemic features of the global security landscape.  A striking statistic included and highlighted is that over 100 million new chemical substances have been created since the establishment of the Chemical Weapons Convention Schedules of Chemicals, growing by about 15,000 substances per day.  The paper tellingly notes that there exists a lack of knowledge and expertise on chemical weapons across allies, partners, and organisations (and this could be applied in respect of export and trade controls, the agencies overseeing them, and to shipping and trading companies).  The paper concludes with a series of recommendations, including improvements to controls through the Australia Group and arms control in general.

https://www.csis.org/analysis/rigid-structures-evolving-threat-preventing-proliferation-and-use-chemical-weapons

 

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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UNDERGROUND ARMS WATCH

On 24th and 31st October, the Firearms Blog published a fascinating (if alarming) 2-part post saying that occasionally police operations across the world churn up weapons produced solely for the criminal market.  Some of these are improvised while others are semi-professionally produced in illicit workshops.  Documented in the posts are a handful of interesting examples uncovered in recent months – including a homemade gun seized in Sheffield, UK disguised as a bicycle pump, as well as crude examples and more sophisticated copies and modified weapons.

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2019/10/24/underground-arms-watch-october-pt-1/

https://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2019/10/31/underground-arms-watch-october-pt-2/

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 16

16 November 2019

‘SHARP INCREASE’ IN PAKISTAN’S EFFORTS TO ILLEGALLY GET N-TECH

A report in the Hindustan Times in India quotes the reply to parliamentary questions in Germany to the effect that the German government believes there has been a “sharp increase” in Pakistan’s activities in recent years to illegally procure technology used in nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) weapons.

https://www.hindustantimes.com/world-news/sharp-increase-in-pakistan-s-efforts-to-illegally-get-n-tech-berlin/story-7EoBewOumY6JqlMR4w2meI.html

NEPAL REPATRIATES 33 NORTH KOREANS TO IMPLEMENT UN SANCTIONS

On 16 November, KBS in South Korea reported that the Nepalese government said the 33 North Koreans left the country as of October 31 at the order of immigration authorities. It is said that the workers’ visas had expired.  UN sanctions require countries to prevent the use of North Koreans to generate money for the DPRK regime.

http://world.kbs.co.kr/service/news_view.htm?lang=e&Seq_Code=149399

THOUSANDS OF KILOGRAMS OF ZIMBABWE GOLD BEING SMUGGLED INTO SOUTH AFRICA, SAYS MINISTER

Fin24 on 16 November reported that, according to Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube close to 34 tonnes of gold being smuggled to South Africa (though it is not made clear over what time period).

https://www.fin24.com/Economy/Africa/thousands-of-kilograms-of-zim-gold-being-smuggled-into-south-africa-says-minister-20191116-2

IRELAND: REPUBLICAN AND LOYALIST SMUGGLING GANGS ‘CRIPPLING HAULAGE SECTOR’

A report in The Journal on 16 November carried remarks that dissidents who are smuggling drugs, cigarettes and fuel across Ireland through Europe are “crippling the haulage sector”.  This is according to the Policy Manager for the Freight Transport Association of Northern Ireland.  Organised criminal elements within the industry are also facilitating illegal human trafficking rings, he said, and that smugglers were willing to undercut regular operators when it came to quoting fees for driving consignment back from Europe.  Bulgaria, it is said, has become a popular place for Irish smugglers to register their vehicles. Gardaí and the PSNI believe this region was chosen as it is a first port of entry for many of the smuggled cigarettes and drugs making their way into Europe.

https://www.thejournal.ie/bulgaria-republicans-routes-smuggling-4889752-Nov2019/

MONEYVAL ONSITE EVALUATION VISIT TO GEORGIA

The Council of Europe reported on 16 November that a Moneyval team of experts had completed its onsite visit to Georgia, with the eventual mutual evaluation report on the AML/CFT assessment at the June/July Plenary.

TURKEY: EU SANCTIONS BY CHRISTMAS?

On 15th November, law firm HFW published a briefing posing this question, saying that once individuals and entities are listed, this will potentially impact on businesses which trade with Turkey’s offshore, drilling and energy sectors, as well as their banks, insurers and other related businesses. These organisations need to identify their potential exposure, and also keep the situation under close review.  It recommends that companies should be checking their potential exposure now.

http://www.hfw.com/Turkey-EU-Sanctions-by-Christmas-2019

FAKE BILLIONAIRE’S $6 MILLION SCAMS CLAIMED DOZENS OF LOCAL VICTIMS

On 16th November, the Seattle Times carried an article saying that Keenan Alexander Gracey had been arrested just before Christmas 2018 on charges of a $6 million stock fraud that had claimed dozens of victims in Washington and California.  At the height of his scamming, prosecutors say, Gracey was routinely passing himself off as 6-foot, 9-inch Oxford-educated professional athlete and British aristocrat (he was actually Canadian) with palatial mansions and insider knowledge of multimillion-dollar stock deals.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/local-business/anatomy-of-a-fraud-fake-billionaires-6-million-scams-claimed-dozens-of-local-victims/

US PROSECUTORS REQUEST THE EXTRADITION OF BRITISH TECHNOLOGY ENTREPRENEUR MIKE LYNCH TO FACE FRAUD CHARGES

The Daily Mail on 16th November reported that the 54-year-old Cambridge graduate, once dubbed Britain’s answer to Bill Gates, is accused of inflating the value of Autonomy before it was sold to Hewlett Packard for £8.5billion.  The criminal proceedings are running in parallel to a High Court case in the UK, which has seen HP Enterprise launch a £3.7 billion damages claim against Lynch.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/money/markets/article-7692477/American-prosecutors-request-extradition-British-technology-entrepreneur-Mike-Lynch.html

EXPERT SLAMS CANADA’S LACK OF PROTECTIONS FOR WHISTLEBLOWERS

CBC on 16th November carried an article saying that a US expert Tom Devine, the legal director of the Government Accountability Project, said in an interview.  It says that he has helped defend more than 7,000 whistleblowers worldwide and appeared before Canadian parliamentary committees – but he said that he would rate Canada’s whistleblower law a tissue paper shield.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/whistleblower-trump-canada-laws-1.5360774

FORMER RUSSIAN MINISTER CHARGED WITH FRAUD SEES HIS ASSETS SEIZED

OCCRP on 16th November reported that Alfa Bank, a big commercial bank in Russia, won a court decision allowing the seizure of more than $100 million worth of Singapore-based assets belonging to Mikhail Abyzov.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/11131-former-russian-minister-charged-with-fraud-sees-his-assets-seized

PAKISTAN: CUSTOMS SEIZES LARGE QUANTITY OF MILK-ENHANCEMENT HORMONE INJECTIONS FOR CATTLE

Customs Today on 14th November reported that Customs staff at Quetta International Airport have seized large quantity of milk-enhancement hormone injections for cattle; import of these hormones is prohibited in Pakistan.  Bags from Dubai were reportedly found to contain 20,000 injections of Boostin (Korean origin) were recovered.

https://customstoday.com.pk/quetta-customs-recovers-huge-quantity-of-boostin-injections/

IRS LOOKING INTO CRYPTOCURRENCY ATM OPERATORS – AND SAY COULD BE A FRONT FOR MONEY LAUNDERING OPERATIONS

On 16th November, Crypto Briefing reported that cryptocurrency ATM and kiosks allow users to buy and sell cryptos with cash in many locations across the world.  IRS Criminal Investigation Chief John Fort believes they could enable illicit activity, and noted that the IRS is currently investigating potential compliance issues, especially regarding their operators.

https://cryptobriefing.com/irs-crypto-atm/

 

 

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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THE HOTTEST COMMODITY ON THE BLACK MARKET: PEOPLE

On 15th November, in the first of a new series of Insider briefs, RDC looks at data to try to understand how certain types of crimes and risks are changing over time, both globally and in regionally.  This edition looks at human trafficking.

https://rdc.com/human-trafficking/blog/the-hottest-commodity-on-the-market-people/

map

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 15

15 November 2019

Hepatitis A and B vaccine added to UK export ban list

On 14 November, Pharmaceutical Journal reported that the hepatitus A and B vaccine has been added to the list of medicines that cannot be parallel exported from the UK.  There are now 32 medicines on the list, issued by the Department of Health and Social Care.  The restrictions prevent medicine wholesalers from parallel exporting — where companies buy medicines meant for UK patients and sell them on at a higher price in another country.

https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/20207329.article

US Department of Agriculture (USDA) releases long-awaited regulations governing hemp

On 15 November, Wilmer Hale published a Client Alert saying that on 31 October the USDA published regulations that provide critical guidance to the hemp industry following the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalised the cultivation, production and interstate sale of hemp and hemp-derived products.  That Bill gave the USDA regulatory authority over hemp cultivation and required the USDA to outline a regulatory regime governing hemp. The Alert says that financial institutions and other businesses contemplating doing business with hemp producers, or manufacturers of hemp-derived products such as cannabidiol (CBD), should consider implementing due diligence procedures to ensure that hemp was produced in compliance with USDA regulations.  The Alert considers details.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20191115-usda-releases-interim-hemp-regulations

Norway wealth fund is shunning G4S over human rights concerns

Al Jazeera on 14 November reported that the Government Pension Fund Global – can no longer invest in the security company G4S because of “unacceptable risk” involving human rights violations to which the company contributes, the central bank has said.  The fund held a 2.33% stake in G4S at the end of 2018, worth some $90 million.

https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/norway-wealth-fund-shunning-g4s-human-rights-concerns-191114162316528.html

Ireland: Over 180,000 businesses could face fines under money laundering rules 

Just over a fifth of the 234,000 companies obliged to submit information on beneficial ownership to the Companies Office have not yet done so.  If they miss the deadline of 22 November, they may be liable to a fine of up to €500,000 upon conviction on indictment.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/ireland-over-180000-firms-could-face-fines-under-money-laundering-rules/

Trump’s Embrace of Sanctions Irks Allies and Prompts Efforts to Evade Measures

An article from the New York Times on 15 November said that allies and adversaries are seeking ways to avoid President Trump’s sanctions, which critics say have become a substitute for foreign policy. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/15/us/politics/trump-iran-sanctions.html

EU tobacco smuggling crackdown fails to convince

EU Today on 15 November reported that,  despite headline-grabbing raids, some of the EU’s other initiatives designed to address the rampant smuggling crisis have proven more controversial.  In particular, the system that the EU is implementing to track and trace tobacco products throughout the supply chain is in danger of falling foul of standards set by the WHO in its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and the associated Protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products (Protocol). The EU’s track and trace system has come under heavy criticism over the amount of influence tobacco producers have in the process.

https://eutoday.net/news/business-economy/2019/eu-tobacco-smuggling-crackdown-fails-to-convince

EU launches WTO trade dispute against unfair import duties on frozen potato fries by Colombia

A news release on 15 November advised that the EU has brought a dispute to the WTO against unlawful anti-dumping measures imposed by Colombia on frozen fries from Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.  Duties applied to EU imports over a period of 2 years range from around 3% to 8%, restrict access to the Colombian market, affecting almost 85% of EU exports of frozen fries to this market, worth over €19 million a year.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_19_6221

Information for companies on the import and export of controlled drugs to and from the UK

On 15 November, the Home Office published updated information on controlled drugs – prescription drugs named in the misuse of drugs legislation.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/controlled-drugs-import-and-export-licences

UK: third generation synthetic cannabinoids update

On 15 November, Home Office Circular 009/2019 draws attention to 2 recent pieces of UK legislation and amendment of the generic definition of a group of synthetic cannabinoids (‘third generation’) under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001 and the Misuse of Drugs (Designation) (England, Wales and Scotland) Order 2015.  Synthetic cannabinoids are a group of compounds that mimic the effects of cannabis, which are commonly referred to as ‘Spice’ and ‘Mamba’. ‘Third generation’ synthetic cannabinoids were originally controlled through a generic definition in December 2016, following advice from the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).  However, due to the broad nature of the generic definition some compounds were unintentionally captured under this definition, inadvertently subjecting them to strict controls. Following advice from the ACMD, the generic definition of ‘third generation’ synthetic cannabinoids has been amended to reduce the scope of the generic definition and excludes compounds which were unintentionally captured.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/circular-0092019-third-generation-synthetic-cannabinoids-update/circular-0092019-third-generation-synthetic-cannabinoids-update

Head of New York Medical Clinics Found Guilty in Nearly $100 Million Money Laundering and Health Care Kickback Scheme

A news release from the US DoJ on 15 November reported that Aleksandr Pikus, 44, the manager in control of multiple medical clinics in Brooklyn and Queens, New York, was found guilty today for his role in a nearly $100 million health care kickback and money laundering scheme.  

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/head-new-york-medical-clinics-found-guilty-nearly-100-million-money-laundering-and-health

US to strictly enforce AML rules on cryptocurrencies, says FinCEN chief

Reuters on 15 November reported that a statement from the Director of FinCEN says that the US government will strictly enforce a rule that requires cryptocurrency firms engaged in money service businesses such as digital asset exchanges and wallet service providers to share information about their customers. 

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-crypto-currencies-fincen/u-s-to-strictly-enforce-anti-money-laundering-rules-in-cryptocurrencies-fincen-chief-idUSKBN1XP1YR

Understanding the turmoil in Haiti

On 15 November, an article on Jurist says that Haiti has experienced many protests this year.  It says that the protests have primarily focused on a myriad of economic concerns and were initially sparked by a fuel crisis within the country, but the underlying impetus of these protests is said to relate to allegations that many senior officials in the Haitian government, including President Jovenel Moïse, have been implicated in the misappropriation of $2 billion in profits from an oil deal between Venezuela and Haiti.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2019/11/understanding-the-turmoil-in-haiti/

GDPR Cloud guidance issued in Ireland

On 15 November, an article on Out-Law says that new guidance from the data protection watchdog provides “useful insight into how Ireland’s data protection regulator will assess the way in which organisations engage cloud computing providers”,  A link to the guidance is also provided.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/gdpr-cloud-guidance-issued-in-ireland

 

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The great US tax haven: why the super-rich love South Dakota and its trust laws

An article in the Guardian by Oliver Bullough, author of the recent excellent book “Moneyland”, on 11 November saying that, thanks to its relish for deregulation, the state is fast becoming the most profitable place for the mega-wealthy to park their billions.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/nov/14/the-great-american-tax-haven-why-the-super-rich-love-south-dakota-trust-laws

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SAR quality: practical tips to enhance reports for US law enforcement

The Banking Journal on 12 November published an article which says that, in 2018, FinCEN received over 2.1 million SAR filings, and the 2019 filings are trending to surpass that total.  The article discusses the importance of SAR, and has as its focus how to improve their quality to add to their value.

https://bankingjournal.aba.com/2019/11/sar-quality-practical-tips-to-enhance-reports-for-law-enforcement/

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Preventing criminal abuse of online gambling

An Occasional Paper from RUSI on 12 November examines the criminal involvement in some online gambling activities.  In 2019, the EU’s supranational risk assessment assigned the online gambling sector its second-highest risk rating.   In contrast, the National Risk Assessment in the UK, which is the world’s largest regulated online gambling market by revenue, has consistently ranked online gambling-related risks as ‘low’.  The paper explores money laundering and terrorist-financing risks faced by online gambling operators and recommends measures for their mitigation. Given the cross-border nature of online gambling, it says, the paper’s findings and recommendations are intended to be of use in both the UK and other countries that regulate online gambling.  The recommendations include for regulators to consider thematic reviews focused on CDD practices and the detection of stolen cards, and for law enforcement agencies and/or financial intelligence units to conduct and publish analysis of typologies based on suspicious activity reports.  

https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/201911_op_rusi_playyourcardsright_moiseienko_web.pdf

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 14

14 November 2019

UK: Anti-Corruption & Bribery Comparative Guide

On 13 November, an article from Rahman Ravelli provided a structured guide to the laws, rules and regulations, applicable international agreements, relevant agencies etc in the UK.

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=864070

Australia: Crackdown to expose universities’ China ties

On 14 November, Financial Review reported that new guidelines will require universities will have to fully disclose who they are working with on research projects and all financial dealings with other countries and donors, as the federal government demands action against “corrupting” foreign interference.  It says that financial gifts and donations will be scrutinised and sponsored staff travel as well as the use of titles like “adjunct” or “honorary” will be subject to foreign-interference tests.

https://www.afr.com/work-and-careers/education/crackdown-to-expose-universities-china-ties-20191113-p53a7b

Danish pharmaceutical tycoon faces jail in UK over large-scale steroids smuggling

The Herald Publicist on 13 November reported that a 38-year-old founder of a healthcare agency is facing jail in the UK over the import of 16 tonnes of illegal steroids from India with a former body-building champion.  The case began in 2014, after 630 kg of steroids en route for Belfast were detected at Heathrow Airport, and Sporon-Fiedler is said to have admitted importing conspiracy to import steroids 2009-2015.

https://heraldpublicist.com/danish-pharma-tycoon-38-behind-worlds-biggest-ever-steroid-smuggling-gang-faces-jail/

Turkish-backed militants looting arefacts from Syria and smuggling them to Europe

On 13 November, Al Masdar News reported claims that the Free Syrian Army is removing artefacts from the Afrin region and sending them to Turkey for onward smuggling into Europe.  

https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/fsa-militants-looting-artifacts-from-afrin-and-smuggling-them-to-europe-photos/

UAE financial centres financial crimes regulatory frameworks

An article on National Law Review on 13 November looks at how the UAE’s 2 financial free zones, established in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which both possess their own civil and commercial legal frameworks, inclusive of court systems modelled closely on international standards and principles of common law and, importantly, autonomous financial services regulation, have augmented their financial crimes regulatory frameworks.

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/united-arab-emirates-financial-centers-enhance-economic-security-and-business

What Will the 5AMLD Mean For Conveyancers in UK?

On 14 November, Today’s Conveyancer published an article about the likely effects of the Directive which takes effect from 10 January.  

https://www.todaysconveyancer.co.uk/main-news/will-5th-money-laundering-directive-mean-conveyancers/

Russian man who ran website selling stolen credit cards extradited from Israel to US

On 13 November, Ars Technica reported that Aleksei Burkov, 29, was arrested in Israel in late 2015, was extradited to the US this month and has now appeared in federal court in the US.  He is said to have run a website called Cardplanet, that sold card data for anywhere from $2.50 to $60 apiece, depending on the card type, country of origin, and the availability of the cardholder’s name, address, and other identifying information. It offered for sale more than 150,000 compromised payment cards, including “at least tens of thousands” of which had been issued to holders located in the US.

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/11/russian-man-charged-with-running-money-back-guaranteed-criminal-marketplace/

Iraq protests prompt question: where does the oil money go?

On 13 November, the Seattle Times posed this question, as oil money makes the economy boom but the benefits have not flowed to most people.  Oil accounts for up to 90% of state revenues, but the article says that there is financial mismanagement, bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption.  

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/iraqs-protests-raise-question-where-does-the-oil-money-go/

Philippines deports 312 Chinese linked to telecoms fraud

On 14 November, the Manila Times reported that they were some of the 512 foreigners arrested last month “in a massive raid of a Business Processing Outsourcing office in Pasay City”.  

https://www.manilatimes.net/2019/11/14/news/latest-stories/bi-deports-312-chinese-linked-to-telco-fraud/656001/

Guatemalan banker busted in drug-laundering probe targeting politician and others

On 14 November, KYC 360 reported that Alvaro Estuardo Cobar Bustamante was the director of a national Guatemalan bank and was the target of an FBI sting operation.  He is accused of accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from drug traffickers to move cocaine profits between Central America and the US and is in court in Miami.  Manuel Antonio Baldizon Mendez, a former candidate for president of Guatemala, assisted US authorities in the undercover operation after pleading guilty last year to accepting about $1.6 million from narco-traffickers.  

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/guatemalan-banker-busted-in-drug-laundering-probe-targeting-politician-others/

US Customs foils attempt to smuggle fake airbags from China at California Airport

On 13 November, Homeland Security Today reported that CBP officers seized 8 counterfeit Honda airbags arriving in 2 express packages from China.

https://www.hstoday.us/federal-pages/dhs/cbp/cbp-foils-attempt-to-smuggle-fake-airbags-from-china-at-ontario-international-airport/

Isle of Man announces changes to details of 8 individuals on Venezuela sanctions list

On 14 November, the Isle of Man confirmed changes already announced by the EU and UK to details for 8 individuals on the list of those subject to sanctions in respect of Venezuela.

https://www.gov.im/news/2019/nov/14/financial-sanctions-venezuela/

Former Italian MEP arrested on corruption charges

On 14 November, EurActiv reported that Lara Comi, 36, once a rising political star and a former MEP for Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia 2009-19,  has been put under house arrest by the Italian police for alleged illegal financing and corruption. The charges concern fraud against the European Parliament, and an alleged €31,000 bribe received from a company belonging to the president of Lombardy region’s business association.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/news/former-italian-mep-and-epp-group-vice-chair-arrested-on-corruption-charges/

EU: closing VAT loopholes for sales through online platforms

On 14 November, a news release from the EU advised that MEPs had voted on measures specifying how large online platforms are to contribute to closing loopholes that hinder the collection of VAT and  help member states recover around €5 billion in tax revenues lost in the e-commerce sector every year – a figure expected to rise to €7 billion by 2020.

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/press-room/20191111IPR66219/closing-vat-loopholes-for-sales-through-online-platforms

Brazilian construction firm OAS signs $461 million settlement deal in corruption case in Brazil

On 14 November, Reuters reported that the company has agreed to pay the sum by 2047, after being caught up in the “Car Wash” corruption scandal.  The payment includes reimbursement of damages to public coffers, the return of illicit enrichment obtained through fraudulent contracts and a punitive fine. 

https://www.reuters.com/article/oas-corruption/brazil-construction-firm-oas-signs-461-mln-leniency-deal-in-corruption-case-idUSL2N27U0VF

US Companies with Foreign Affiliates Face Reporting Deadline In 2020

On 14 November, an article from Cozen O’Connor advised that US persons who control, directly or indirectly, at least 10% or more of the ownership interests in a foreign business enterprise to file a mandatory benchmark survey to the Department of Commerce.  

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/u-s-companies-with-foreign-affiliates-79149/

FBI said to be investigating Saipan-based casino operator over money laundering etc

On 14 November, Calvin Ayre reported that Imperial Pacific International was under federal investigation for possible wire fraud, money laundering and illegal campaign contributions to the local governor in the Northern Marianas islands.  

https://calvinayre.com/2019/11/14/casino/fbi-probe-imperial-pacific-money-laundering-campaign-contributions/

US: Import Tracking of Raw Materials Using Blockchain to be Tested by Homeland Security

On 14 November, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that DHS has awarded a contract to a Texas company to develop a proof-of-concept application for US Customs and Border Protection on using blockchain to process imports of raw materials such as steel, timber, and diamonds.  It reports that CBP has already tested the use of blockchain for the certifications of origin used to qualify goods for preferential treatment on import under NAFTA etc.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-import-tracking-raw-materials-blockchain-CBP-111419.html

Large network smuggling migrants in lorries dismantled in Germany and Romania

A news release from Europol on 14 November advised that the operation was initiated in Germany in 2018 when authorities detected migrants from Iran, Iraq and Syria entering Germany in lorries via Czechia and Hungary.  The investigation uncovered a massive network smuggling people from their countries of origin to Timișoara, Romania then to Germany. The investigation into this organised crime group uncovered a network composed of at least 36 members who earned more than €2 million from nearly 580 smuggled migrants. 

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/large-network-smuggling-migrants-in-lorries-dismantled-in-germany-and-romania

UK: the law on email signatures moves forward

An article from Out-Law on 14 November reported that, though the law remains subject to change, a recent court ruling and separate report by the Law Commission in England and Wales highlight how emails are no longer as informal as they used to be.  It looks at the lessons for business.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/analysis/the-law-on-email-signatures-moves-forward

Bahrain launches customs whitelist

On 14 November, Zawya reported that Bahrain had become the first country in the region to introduce a customs whitelist to allow an easier flow of supplies to the market.  The list includes medical equipment, health products and raw chemicals for manufacturing processes.

https://www.zawya.com/mena/en/legal/story/Bahrain_launches_customs_whitelist-SNG_159453107/

European Customs Enforcing New Code for Lab-Grown Diamonds

IDEX on 14 November reported that the EU Commission is enforcing a new customs code for lab-grown diamonds.  The classification will be used from January 1st until the HS6 customs code, which was recently adopted by the WCO, is applied at the EU level.  It is said that the different code will allow greater compliance with the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme. 

http://www.idexonline.com/FullArticle?id=45353

UK: Information watchdog consults on being granted investigation and other powers under POCA 

On 13 November, Local Government Lawyer reported that the Information Commissioner has launched a consultation on her office being granted access to investigation and other associated powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, noting that the courts can make POCA confiscation orders against convicted individuals for payment to the state of an equivalent value to their benefit from crime.  The article details the powers the ICO is seeking, and says that it is proposing that there will be one Accredited Financial Investigator (AFI) based within its Investigations Department who will consider asset recovery in all cases where offenders have benefited from criminal conduct.

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/information-law/398-information-law-news/41932-information-watchdog-consults-on-being-granted-investigation-and-other-powers-under-poca

https://www.policeprofessional.com/news/ico-calls-for-access-to-powers-under-the-proceeds-of-crime-act/

 

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Jailed – the pharma boss who ran ‘world’s biggest’ anabolic steroid distribution network

On 14 November, an NCA news release reported the case of Jacob Sporon-Fiedler, 38, the CEO of Indian-based company Alpha Pharma, involved in around 16 tonnes of steroids imports with an estimated value of around £12 million.  The illegally imported drugs – made by Sporon-Fiedler’s pharmaceutical company in India – were shipped using contacts and once in the UK they would be distributed by another contact to be sold to body-builders and fitness fanatics on the black market.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/jailed-the-pharma-boss-who-ran-world-s-biggest-anabolic-steroid-distribution-network

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Fishrot: CEO of Icelandic fishing conglomerate suspended following allegations of corruption involving company’s activities in Namibia

Al Jazeera on 14 November reported that Thorsteinn Mar Baldvinsson, who has led the family-run company Samherji for nearly 40 years, was relieved of his duties while the company conducts a full investigation.  This followed the Wikileaks release of the “Fishrot” archive, a database of more than 30,000 documents containing internal emails, memos, PowerPoint presentations, and media. Al Jazeera’s investigation is said to have exposed the roles of well-connected Namibians who facilitated Samherji’s entry into the industry.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/fish-company-ceo-steps-al-jazeera-investigation-191114153732937.html

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FATF: Denmark AML/CFT assessment follow-up report

On 14 November, FATF published a follow-up report to the 2017 mutual evaluation report.  This was the second such follow-up report, the first being in November 2018, with the country in the enhanced follow-up process.  FATF has re-rated the country on the following Recommendations: 1 (Assessing risks & applying a risk-based approach from partially compliant – to largely compliant); 34 (Guidance and feedback – from partially compliant to compliant); 35 – (Sanctions – from partially compliant to largely compliant).  The report also looks at whether Denmark’s measures meet the requirements of FATF Recommendation 2 (National co-operation and coordination), which changed since their 2018 report, with the rating kept at largely compliant.  Denmark is compliant on 6 Recommendations of the 40 Recommendations and largely compliant on 28 of them. It remains partially compliant on 6 of the 40 Recommendations.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/mutualevaluations/documents/fur-denmark-2019.html

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Criminals launder €13 billion a year in the Netherlands, most crime cash is Dutch

On 14 November, KYC 360 reported new research quoted in the Finanancieele Dagblad, with estimates that half the €16 billion generated by crime in the Netherlands is laundered through Dutch institutions, with the rest – some €5 billion – coming from abroad.  This is said to show that the Netherlands is not as popular a place to launder money as some claim.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/criminals-launder-e13bn-a-year-in-the-netherlands-most-crime-cash-is-dutch/

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Australia: 50 charged in fake daycare scam

The Daily Mail reported on 14 November that, in New South Wales, the number of people charged following an investigation into a $3.9 million family daycare fraud has risen to 50, after 11 people were arrested over their alleged roles.  It is alleged that the syndicate fraudulently claimed at least $3.9 million in Commonwealth payments under the Child Care Subsidy schemes over a 10-month period. The scam was so elaborate that the daycare even had fake graduation ceremonies, timesheets and rosters, and mock up play areas, police allege, and that at least 150 parents used the scam.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7683209/Detectives-arrest-11-people-alleged-role-NSW-fake-daycare-centre-syndicate.html

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 13

13 November 2019

Ukraine Introduces New Requirements for Disclosure of Personal Assets 

On 11 November, Asters reported that, on 18 October, amendments were made to Ukraine’s anti-corruption laws.  It says that the legislature has slightly adjusted the list of persons covered by the Corruption Prevention Law – the list is to include certain officers of the National Bank of Ukraine, officers of any executive support service (except for those unsalaried), and officers of business companies, in which the government holds at least a 50% equity stake.  The amendments also broadened the concept of “close relatives” and changed the definition of “family members”. The disclosure requirements and the list of reportable assets have also been revised and, among other things, covers trusts and other similar entities, which are ultimately beneficially owned (controlled) by the filer or their family members, and cryptocurrencies in the possession of them or their family members.

https://www.asterslaw.com/press_center/legal_alerts/ukraine_introduces_new_requirements_for_disclosure_of_personal_assets/

India to become a member of Wassenaar Arrangement

On 12 November, it was reported that the  export control regime Wassenaar Arrangement had decided to admit India as its new member, which is expected to raise New Delhi‘s stature in the field of non-proliferation as well as helping it acquire critical technologies.  Member countries are required to ensure that transfers of dual-use items do not contribute to the development or enhancement of military capabilities and WMDs. The aim is also to prevent the acquisition of these items by terrorists.  India had been admitted to another export control regime, the Missile Technology Control Regime in June 2018. India has been trying to get into export control regimes such as the NSG, MTCR, the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement that regulate the conventional, nuclear, biological and chemical weapons and technologies.

https://stockdailydish.com/india-becomes-member-of-elite-export-control-group/

US: Seattle judge keeps ban on internet sales of 3D-printed gun plans

The Spokesman-Review on 12 November reported that computer programmes to make plastic guns with a 3D printer have to stay off the internet, at least for now, because the Trump administration failed in a hearing before a federal judge to follow proper procedures for changing the rules that currently keep them offline.  The judge agreed with Washington State and 18 other states that the way the State Department tried to lift the ban on internet sales of the plans was arbitrary, not supported by evidence and a violation of the federal Administrative Procedures Act. 

https://www.spokesman.com/stories/2019/nov/12/seattle-judge-keeps-ban-on-internet-sales-of-3d-pr/

Singapore Threatens To Auction Off Chinese Tanker Violating Iran Sanctions 

Radio Farda on 12 November reported that a court in Singapore has given the owner of a tanker carrying Iranian LPG a week to either come forward or it would place the vessel under the hammer, after port authorities had seized 2 oil tankers owned by the Chinese Kunlun Shipping Company carrying Iranian petroleum products.

https://en.radiofarda.com/a/singapore-threatens-to-auction-off-chinese-tanker-violating-iran-sanctions/30266927.html

British Columbia plans to create a single real estate regulator to strengthen the fight against money laundering

On 13 November, Financial Review reported that the provincial government intends to introduce legislation late next year that would establish a joint financial services and real estate watchdog by the spring 2021.  It also plans to become the world’s first jurisdiction to expose hidden property owners next year when it creates a searchable, public registry of who controls the trusts and anonymous corporations that own land.

https://www.afr.com/property/residential/vancouver-plans-next-step-in-real-estate-crackdown-a-big-watchdog-20191113-p53a4s

US: Grain Trader Sentenced For Wire Fraud And Money Laundering

KVRR on 12 November reported that Hunter Hanson, 22, a North Dakota grain trader accused of running his business like a Ponzi scheme has been sentenced to 8 years in prison and pay over $11 million in restitution.  He admitted to defrauding around 60 farmers and elevators in North Dakota and Canada all during 2018.

https://www.kvrr.com/2019/11/12/grain-trader-sentenced-for-wire-fraud-and-money-laundering/

New IAEA Report Details Iran’s Retaliatory Moves

On 13 November, the Arms Control Association carried an article on a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s implementation of JCPOA, the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.  The report confirms that Iran has restarted enrichment and is accelerating its production of low-enriched uranium.  It says that changes are slowly decreasing Iran’s so-called breakout, or the time it would take to produce enough fissile material for one bomb. 

https://www.armscontrol.org/blog/2019-11-13/p4-1-iran-nuclear-deal-alert-extra

Israel Extradites Accused Russian Hacker to US

On 12 November, the Wall Street Journal reported that the alleged Russian cybercriminal Alexei Burkov has been extradited from Israel to the US on hacking-related charges, despite Russian efforts to recover him in a prisoner exchange failed. 

https://www.wsj.com/articles/israel-extradites-accused-russian-hacker-to-u-s-11573565270

New Zealand: Tax evasion and money laundering linked to freezing of 15 properties and $10 million

On 13 November, KYC 360 reported that more than $10 million and a commercial property empire owned by a wealthy Singaporean couple have been frozen following a police investigation into their son’s meth dealing.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/new-zealand-tax-evasion-and-money-laundering-allegations-behind-freezing-orders-over-15-gisborne-properties-and-10m/

TRACE podcast: The Global Impact of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention

In the latest TRACE podcast, Nicola Bonucci, Director of Legal Affairs at the OECD, describes the successes and failures of the anti-bribery convention as well as some of the challenges still ahead.

https://traceinternational.org/bribe_swindle_or_steal

Sri Lanka ambitions to be a South Asia global maritime and logistics centre on a par with Dubai and Singapore

Loadstar on 13 November reported on Sri Lankan ambitions, saying that building on Colombo Port’s success in capturing transhipment traffic is a top priority, and that the development of East Container Terminal (ECT) at the port’s deepsea South Harbour is vital.

https://theloadstar.com/ambitious-sri-lanka-wants-to-become-a-global-maritime-and-logistics-centre/

Sahel gold boom boosting jihadist coffers

France 24 reported on 13 November a report saying that gold mines in the Sahel are providing a new source of funding for jihadists and other armed groups in Africa and attracting recruits for them in a region where state power is weak.  The reports says that in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger armed groups have seized gold mining sites since 2016; and that artisanal gold mining has boomed since the 2012 discovery of a Saharan vein stretching from Sudan to Mauritania. The report estimates around 2 million people are directly involved in artisanal production.

https://www.france24.com/en/20191113-sahel-gold-boom-boosting-jihadist-coffers-icg

Council of Europe calls for an overall anti-corruption strategy and effective implementation of laws in Spain 

On 13 November, the Council of Europe’s Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) calls on Spain to develop a comprehensive anti-corruption strategy, and to improve its legal framework to prevent corruption in top governmental functions and law enforcement agencies.  A separate compliance report is on Spain’s progress in the implementation of its recommendations on corruption prevention in respect of parliamentarians, judges and prosecutors, but this also calls for further progress. GRECO acknowledges that the Spanish authorities have made positive efforts in recent years to adopt and amend anti-corruption laws and regulations; however, oversight and accountability are their weakest aspect. Currently, a wide gap exists between the legislation and its implementation in practice.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/greco-calls-for-an-overall-anticorruption-strategy-and-effective-implementation-of-laws-in-spain

Edinburgh-born businessman on FBI’s ‘most wanted’ list ready to do a deal to hand himself in

On 13 November, Edinburgh Evening News reported that Afzal Khan (aka Bobby Khan), 37,  has been formally charged with a £1 million luxury car scam. He is accused of conning a string of customers and financial firms at a motor dealership he ran in New Jersey.  Federal agents hunting Khan feared he may have fled to Pakistan and offered a $20,000 reward for information leading to his arrest.

https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/news/crime/edinburgh-born-businessman-fbis-most-wanted-list-ps1m-luxury-car-scam-ready-negotiate-deal-hand-himself-989567

Malta: Peter the Customs dog sniffs out €210,000 undeclared cash at airport

The Malta Independent on 13 November reported that, in 2 separate cases, Customs Department officers discovered €233,000 in undeclared cash during routine inspections at Malta International Airport.  

https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2019-11-13/local-news/Peter-the-Customs-dog-sniffs-out-210-000-undeclared-cash-at-airport-6736216097

Police close beaches in France as nearly 900 kg of cocaine washes up along its Atlantic coast

On 13 November, ABC News reported that police have closed beaches in south-west France as packages of cocaine and other drugs continue to wash up daily along the Atlantic coast, with nearly 900 kg discovered since mid-October.  Officials said the cocaine was extremely pure at some 83%.  

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-11-13/police-close-off-beaches-in-france-as-cocaine-washes-up/11698986

High Court: in applications for freezing orders is the presence of English companies in a Russian group structure sufficient to ground jurisdiction in a case involving alleged conspiracy 

An article from Clifford Chance on 13 November carried an article about  the joint cases of Tsareva v Ananyev and Galagaev v Ananyev.  It said that the case raised 2 interesting issues of broad application –  whether the mere existence of English SPV in a foreign holding structure is sufficient on its own to give the English Courts jurisdiction to hear a case; and the scope of the power and willingness to deploy a worldwide freezing injunction, and some of the potential pitfalls for claimants when seeking such an order.

https://www.cliffordchance.com/content/dam/cliffordchance/briefings/2019/11/scrutinising-anchors-and-nuclear-weapons.pdf

 

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TRACE Bribery Risk Matrix

On 13 November, TRACE published the latest Matrix which measures business bribery risk in 200 countries, territories, and autonomous and semi-autonomous regions.  The overall country risk score is a combined and weighted score of four domains: Business Interactions with Government; Anti-Bribery Deterrence and Enforcement; Government and Civil Service Transparency; and Capacity for Civil Society Oversight, including the role of the media.  TRACE has also launched the Bribery Risk Typology and interactive map, which provides comparative context for interpreting Matrix scores based on factors such as state fragility and economic complexity.  According to this year’s data, Somalia, South Sudan, North Korea, Yemen and Venezuela presented the highest risk of bribe demands. New Zealand, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland presented the lowest bribery risk.

https://www.traceinternational.org/trace-matrix

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 12

12 November 2019

Official Report calls on SFO To Improve Its Approach To Examining Digital Material

An article from Rahman Ravelli on 11th November reported on an inspection of the SFO by Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate which found that the time it took SFO staff to work through digital material was causing a ‘key blockage’ in the progression of cases and should take a new approach to resourcing.  

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=862902

Canada Imposes Informal Export Restrictions On Military Exports To Turkey

On 7 November, Lex Sage reported that, in October, Canadian authorities said that new export permits of military equipment and technology and brokering permits in respect of goods destined for Turkey would not be approved. There were no Canada formal restrictions nor did not mention the period of time for this “temporary” export restriction.

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=861500

Still use of The Last First Sale for import valuations in the EU?

On 10 November, Baker McKenzie published a client update about an European Court of Justice case concerned with post-clearance amendment of a customs declaration.  The update provides an overview of the relevant facts, the issue in the main proceedings, ECJ’s ruling and the takeaway for EU importers/distributors.  It says that the crux of the matter is that EU customs regulations only allow for such amendment in case of “incorrect or incomplete” information. An error made in respect of the tariff classification is associated with the issue relating to the declared value and so could be allowed.  Under the wording of the Union Customs Code (UCC), the use of a prior sale within an import supply chain is no longer possible, and thus many EU importers now declare the last higher sales value even when a lower sales value is available. The article says that, nevertheless, there are, however, solid arguments that back the conclusion that the “Last Sale Principle” should be possible even under the UCC, despite the wording of the new provisions.

https://www.bakermckenzie.com/-/media/files/insight/publications/2019/11/diving-deeper-into-customs.pdf

Export controls in Brazil 

On 16 September, Pinheiro Neto Advogados produced a guide on the Lexology website which provides essential basic information on the controls on exports from Brazil.  Amongst other things it provides a link to a  list of products subject to special controls and to export duty.  Unsurprisingly, it says that special attention should be paid to the regulation of the export of goods and services with potential military applications and, consequently, to the export of goods or related services with potential application in the development of WMD, whether nuclear, chemical or biological, and their delivery vehicles, such as missiles. Brazil has expressed its intention to implement the WCO Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade and it implemented an AEO programme in 2017.  

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=08e9bdea-546b-4eef-b1d8-cb9660ada6f0

Israel’s Prosecution Policy for the Criminal Prosecution and Punishment of Corporations

Barnea, a law firm in Israel, published on 6 November an article about  a new guideline issued in October by the  Israel State Attorney on the policy when considering the prosecution of a corporation, as well as on how it should determine its position on the manner of punishing corporations.  It notes that the guideline aims at imposing criminal liability on a corporation designed to give corporations and their officers incentives to create control mechanisms that may prevent the commission of offences in advance.  It therefore stresses the importance of an internal control programme.

https://www.barlaw.co.il/client-updates/israels-prosecution-policy-for-the-criminal-prosecution-and-punishment-of-corporations/

Kuwait: Russian woman sentenced to 15 years in jail with hard labour for money laundering

On 12 November, Arabian Business reported that Marsha Lazareva, a Russian businesswoman, has been sentenced to 15 years in prison with hard labour for two counts of money laundering, garnering widespread condemnation from her prominent international team of supporters.  She was originally arrested in November 2017 and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment in May 2018, but this was successfully appealed – when it was discovered documents used as evidence against her were proven to be forgeries and the funds o she was accused of embezzling were actually frozen in Dubai.

https://www.arabianbusiness.com/politics-economics/432998-russian-woman-sentenced-to-15-years-in-jail-with-hard-labour-for-money-laundering

Game over for loot boxes in UK?

On 11 November, an article from White & Case reflected on the publication in September of  the findings of its investigation into immersive and addictive technologies by the UK parliament’s Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee.  The Committee recommended that the UK regulate loot boxes, which may lead to a requirement for gaming companies to hold gambling licences. The Government is expected to respond to the Report in 2020.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/game-over-for-loot-boxes-58987/

FinCEN Reissues Geographic Targeting Order for 2019-2020

Cadwalader on 12 November reported that FinCEN had renewed a Geographic Targeting Order (GTO) requiring title insurance companies to collect and report beneficial ownership information for certain real estate purchases, the renewal applying to 9th May.  However, unlike previously, title insurance companies no longer will be required to report purchases made by entities that are US publicly-traded companies. The GTO only covers specific areas identified in the report from Cadwalader.

https://www.findknowdo.com/news/11/11/2019/fincen-reissues-geographic-targeting-order-2019-2020?utm_campaign=Cabinet+Newsletter&utm_source=Newsletter&utm_medium=Email

UBS Fined in Hong Kong for Misleading and Overcharging Wealthy Clients for a Decade 

The Wall Street Journal on 11 November reported that the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission said client advisers and assistants at the Swiss bank regularly added extra fees and padded out spreads on bond and structured-note trades and, as a result,UBS Group AG overcharged and misled wealthy clients for a decade without detection.  It fined the bank US$51 million and demanded HK$200 million in customer compensation.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/ubs-fined-for-misleading-and-overcharging-wealthy-clients-for-a-decade-11573473531

New SIPRI/Cordaid study on CAR and DRC 

On 12 November, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published a new report on efforts to secure legitimate stability in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

https://www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2019/state-preferred-justice-and-security-provider-over-non-state-and-informal-actors-new-sipricordaid

Products from the occupied territories must be labelled, says EU top court

On 12 November, EurActiv reported that products from Israeli settlements in the Occupied Territories must be labelled to avoid confusion with products that come from Israel itself, the ECJ ruled, in a move that provoked an angry response from pro-Israel lobbyists.  Since the EU considers the Israeli settlements as illegal under international law, it maintains that the labelling policy does not constitute a boycott of Israel.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/products-from-the-occupied-territories-must-be-labelled-says-eu-top-court/

https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2019-11/cp190140en.pdf 

EU Venezuela sanctions Regulation amended to take account of GDPR

EU Regulation 2019/1889/EU has amended Regulation 2017/2063/EU to add a new Article 18a to ensure that the 2017 Regulation complies with the data protection law.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2019.291.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2019:291:TOC

OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes second round peer review reports for 7 countries

On 11 November, Accountancy Daily reported that 2019 Peer Review Reports on the Exchange of Information on Request have now been published for UAE, Saudi Arabia, Samoa, Andorra, Marshall Islands, Panama, and Dominican Republic.

https://www.accountancydaily.co/cch_uk/cln/news_cln_009989_gfteitpii

US adds new entities to export restrictions list

With effect from 13, 2 entities in Bahrain, 1 entity in France, 1 entity in Iran, 1 entity in Jordan, 4 entities in Lebanon, 1 entity in Oman, 7 entities in Pakistan, 1 entity in Saudi Arabia, 1 entity in Senegal, 4 entities in Syria, 2 entities in Turkey, 6 entities in the UAE, and 1entity in the UK have been added to the so-called Entity List.  They are restricted from receiving US exports of goods controlled under the Export Administration Regulations. The US also modified the listing for 1 entity in Pakistan and removes 1 entity each from Pakistan, Singapore, and the UAE.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-export-restriction-entity-list-BIS-111319.html

Jersey cited in FATF guide on best practice for beneficial ownership registers 

A news release from Jersey on 12 November announced that the island had been named in a new FATF guide on best practices on beneficial ownership as having some good examples of best practice.  

https://www.gov.je/News/2019/Pages/beneficialownershipreg.aspx

Italy: 71 ‘Ndrangheta arrests in northern Italy

On 12 November, OCCRP reported that Italian authorities have announced the arrest of 71 suspected members of the country’s most powerful crime syndicate on drug trafficking and money laundering charges.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/11101-italy-71-ndrangheta-arrests-in-the-rich-north

Criminal group producing and circulating fake euro banknotes in Spain and Portugal busted

A news release from Europol on 12 November advised that the Spanish National Police have dismantled a counterfeit euro print shop in Spain with the support of Europol.  The criminal group, based in the port city of Huelva, manufactured fake banknotes in €10, €20 and €50 denominations. The operation has prevented €250,000 in fraudulent cash from circulating in Spain and Portugal.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/criminal-group-producing-and-circulating-fake-euro-banknotes-in-spain-and-portugal-busted

Netherlands: seized cocaine shipments have already surpassed 2018 numbers

Fresh Plaza reported on 12 November that the Port of Rotterdam has this year has already surpassed the record amount of cocaine caught there in 2018, according to an investigation by De Telegraaf.  Some 23 tonnes of cocaine was intercepted at the largest port in Europe, a 28% increase over the 18 tonnes captured during all of last year.

https://www.freshplaza.com/article/9162627/seized-cocaine-shipments-have-already-surpassed-2018-numbers/

Germany: customs officers stop a woman with 7 kg of smoked rotten cowhide

Modern Ghana on 12 November reported that a woman tried to import kilograms of rotten cow-skin meat into Germany, but was stopped by customs officers.  It was a delicacy from Cameroon, she said. Officers at Düsseldorf airport had noticed an unpleasant smell after the woman had arrived from Cameroon via the UK.

https://www.modernghana.com/news/967103/dsseldorf-airport-customs-officers-stop-a-woman.html

 

 

 

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Illegal tobacco factory dismantled in Hungary

A news release from Europol on 12 November advised that 6 million cigarettes and enough tobacco to produce 21 million cigarettes have been found in an illegal factory in Budapest, and  customs officers arrested 20 factory employees and the ringleaders behind the operation. The criminal group – primarily Romanian and Moldavian citizens – sourced their materials from abroad, such as machines, tobacco, filters, cigarette papers and cigarette packs.  Some of the material was stored in Hungary and used in the dismantled factory; the rest was sent abroad. Officers found one assembly line in operation and another under construction. They also discovered apparatus for tobacco cutting, fermentation and cigarette packing. In total, investigators found 6 million cigarettes and 35 tonnes of fine-cut smoking tobacco – enough for another 21 million cigarettes – in the factory.  A further 300 kg of tobacco powder was also found during the operation (1 kg of tobacco powder can make around 3 million cigarettes).

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/illegal-tobacco-factory-dismantled-in-hungary

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FATF: Ireland AML/CFT assessment follow-up report

On 12 November, FATF published a follow-up report on the AML/CFT system in Ireland following its mutual evaluation report of 2017.  Since then, Ireland has been in the enhanced follow-up process, and its efforts have resulted in it being uprated in its ratings for a number of Recommendations.  The report also looks at whether Ireland’s measures meet the requirements of FATF Recommendations that have changed since the 2017 mutual evaluation. Ireland is now rated compliant on 17 Recommendations of the 40 FATF Recommendations and largely compliant on 16.  It remains partially compliant on 7 of the 40 Recommendations.  Therefore, Ireland will move from enhanced to regular follow-up and will continue to report back to the FATF on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures. 

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/mer4/Follow-Up-Report-Ireland-2019.pdf

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EU amends details of 8 entries on its Venezuela sanctions list

EU Regulation 2019/1891/EU has replaced the entry details for 8 individuals designated under Regulation 2017/2063/EU.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2019.291.01.0013.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2019:291:TOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2019.291.01.0042.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2019:291:TOC

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EU Regulation imposing sanctions regime over Turkish drilling in Eastern Mediterranean

EU Regulation 2019/1890/EU has created the new sanctions regime intended to provide for designations to penalise individuals and entities, but to date no names have been listed.

HM Treasury issued a Notice on these new sanctions on the same day.

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2019.291.01.0003.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2019:291:TOC

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2019.291.01.0047.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2019:291:TOC 

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/846086/Notice_Turkey_2019_1890.pdf 

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UK and Isle of Man remove 1 name from Al-Qaida/ISIL sanctions lists

On 12 November, a Notice from HM Treasury and news release from the Isle of Man advised that Mourad Ben Ali Ben Al-Basheer AL-TRABELSI had been removed from their sanctions lists, following the decisions of the UN and EU.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/845971/Notice_ISIL_2019_1883.pdf

https://www.gov.im/news/2019/nov/12/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida/ 

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HMRC fines 9 exporters for export licence irregularities

Notice to Exporters 2019/15 on 12 November advised that between May and October 2019, HMRC issued compound penalties between £5,000 and £90,000 to 9 UK exporters, related to unlicensed exports of dual-use goods, military goods and related activity.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-exporters-201915-uk-exporters-fined-for-exporting-goods-without-a-licence/notice-to-exporters-201915-uk-exporters-fined-for-unlicensed-exports

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Ukraine Ex-Central Bank Official Among 7 Detained Over Loan To Troubled Bank

On 12 November, KYC 360 reported that 7 people have been detained on suspicion of embezzling $49 million that was part of a loan the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) gave to stabilise a struggling bank, VAB Bank, owned by one of the country’s biggest agricultural producers.  One of the detainees was Oleksandr Pysaruk, the current CEO of Austrian-owned Raiffeisen Bank Aval, and who was the first deputy chairman of the NBU.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/ukraine-ex-central-bank-official-among-7-detained-over-loan-to-troubled-bank/

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Basel Committee on Banking Supervision consultation document on interaction between AML/CFT and prudential supervision

A release on Mondo Visione on 11 November reported that the Committee proposes to amend its 2017 guidelines on the management of AML/CFT risks.  It intends to provide detailed and practical guidelines on the interaction and cooperation between prudential and AML/CFT supervision – to enhance the effectiveness of supervision of banks’ risk management in line with its and FATF standards.  Comments are required by 6 February. The Committee involves and supports central banks in their pursuit of monetary and financial stability, and seeks to foster international co-operation in those areas and to act as a bank for central banks.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/basel-committee-consults-on-guidelines-on-cooperation-between-prudential-and-aml/

The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision says better information exchange would improve supervision of AML

An article from Out-Law on 12 November reported on the content and recommendations of the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision report proposing new guidelines to improve the supervision of the ways banks tackle AML/CFT.  

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/better-information-exchange-improves-anti-money-laundering-supervision

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THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 11

Off on travels again, so there may be some disruption…

11 November 2019

Italy: 13 former bankers at Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, Deutsche Bank and Nomura International convicted

The Wall Street Journal reported on 11 November that a court in Milan had returned verdicts in a long-running case involving losses at the troubled Italian bank.  The court gave the bankers suspended jail sentences of up to 7 years and 6 months each. It also ordered the seizure of about €65 million from Deutsche Bank and €88 million from Nomura plus a €3 million fine for Deutsche Bank and €3.5 million for Nomura.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/executives-convicted-in-long-running-italian-banking-scandal-11573242895

Dubai real estate links point to hidden Abacha loot?

On 11 November, KYC 360 reported that links to the assets stolen by former Nigerian military leader, Soni Abacha, appear to have provided fresh indications regarding substantial but hitherto concealed property holdings by members of the family in the Dubai real estate market.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/investigation-dubai-real-estate-links-point-fresh-footprints-to-hidden-abacha-loot/

Tax law enforcement in France 

On 8 November, a guide from Franklin, available via Lexology, provides some basic information on French tax laws, including penalties – civil and criminal.

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=32ac9e1a-a198-416d-9ba6-cb9e0b0f3b67

South Africa: Kimberley and its illicit mining community

An article on Defence Web on 11 November reported on attempts to bring illegal miners into the formal fold, which has been plagued by violence in diamond capital Kimberley.  Starting 18 months ago, mine owners granted more than 800 unlicensed or informal small-scale miners the right to legally mine around 1,500 acres.  However, it is said that informal miners who were not part of the scheme attacking infrastructure and members of the newly licensed co-operative. Illicit mining and mineral trading cost around $1.5 billion a year in lost sales, taxes and royalties, according to a 2017 estimate.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/human-security/kimberley-and-its-illicit-mining-community/

Australia: telecoms authority plans to block unlicensed international gambling sites

Calvin Ayre on 11 November reported that the authorities in Australia were planning to implement restrictions permitted in domestic legislation to block the web domains of unauthorised internationally-licensed gambling sites.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/11/11/business/australia-blocking-intl-online-gambling-domains/

Dubai Customs thwarts attempt to smuggle 412,562 Captagon pills

On 11 November, MENA FN reported the smuggling attempt, saying the source was an “Asian country”.  Captagon is actually a brand name for a psychostimulant, one of a group of drugs known as Fenethylline.

https://menafn.com/1099251740/Dubai-Customs-thwarts-attempt-to-smuggle-412562-Captagon-pills

 

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Ireland: AML enhancements for investment funds

On 7 November, the Maples Group published an article about the effects of the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) (Amendment) Act 2018 and the Fourth Money Laundering Directive in Irish law.  A supplied table considers the key changes introduced by the CJA 2018 that apply to Irish authorised investment funds (both UCITS and AIF) and identifies important enhancements that these funds (and their Irish authorised management company or AIFM, if relevant) are required to make to their AML/CFT framework to comply.

https://maples.com/en/Knowledge-Centre/Industry-Updates/2019/11/Nov-AML-Policy-Enhancements-Required

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EU sanctions imposed in response to Turkish drilling off Cyprus

On 11 November, the EU Council announced approval of a framework for sanctions – travel bans and asset freezes – on Turkey in response to Turkey’s unauthorised drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. The framework will make it possible to sanction individuals or entities responsible for or involved in unauthorised drilling activities of hydrocarbons in the Eastern Mediterranean.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/11/11/turkey-s-illegal-drilling-activities-in-the-eastern-mediterranean-council-adopts-framework-for-sanctions/

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 10

10th November 2019

SOUTH KOREA: EXIMBANK UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR BRIBERY

On 10th November, the Korea Times reported that the Export-Import Bank of Korea (Eximbank) has been under police investigation over the past 2 months for bribery charges against its employees, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency’s special criminal investigation division, re allegations that employees were entertained by securities firms marketing foreign bonds.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/biz/2019/11/126_278468.html

SOUTH AFRICA: ZUMA-LINKED LAWYER AND FORMER PETRO SA BOSS IN COURT ON FRAUD AND THEFT CHARGES

News 24 on 10th November reported that lawyer George Sabelo and former state-owned oil company PetroSA boss Yekani Tenza are due to appear in the Bellville Magistrate’s Court on charges of fraud or, alternatively, theft relating to activities in 2011-12.

https://www.news24.com/SouthAfrica/News/zuma-linked-lawyer-former-petrosa-boss-in-court-on-fraud-theft-charges-20191109

ORGANISED CRIME GANGS TURN SCOTLAND INTO VIETNAM HUMAN TRAFFICKING HOTSPOT

On 10th October, the Daily Record reported that the number of men and women from Vietnam being kept as slaves is said to have almost doubled in 12 months.  59 Vietnamese were identified as victims of human trafficking in the first 6 months of this year, compared to 33 for the same period in 2018.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/organised-crime-gangs-turn-scotland-20849674

 

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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FORMER PORTUGUESE VICE-CONSUL TO BRAZIL SENTENCED TO 6 YEARS FOR MONEY LAUNDERING AND FRAUD

On 10th November, The Portugal News reported that Adelino Vera-Cruz Pinto, a former Portuguese vice-consul in Brazil, has been sentenced to 6 years in prison in Portugal for qualified fraud and money laundering, in a case involving embezzlement of funds from the archdiocese of Porto Alegre in Brazil.  The conviction is said to involve almost €1 million that belonged to the archdiocese of Porto Alegre, a donation to restore 2 churches of Portuguese origin in 2010-11.  He was dismissed by the foreign affairs ministry in 2011.  His wife at the time, Maria da Anunciação Figueiredo, was also sentenced to 4 years in prison with a suspended sentence for money laundering.

https://www.theportugalnews.com/news/ex-vice-consul-to-brazil-sentenced-to-6-years/51936

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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WARNING ON END-USER CERTIFICATES FOR AVIATION SUPPLIES TO MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

On 10th November, in a post on his blog, Kenneth Rijock points to the July Advisory from OFAC – Deceptive Practices by Iran with respect to the Civil Aviation Industry, and says that obtaining End-User Certificates should be a mandatory requirement of all sales to the Middle East, as well as Sub-Saharan Africa, and for these to be signed by 2 senior officers of the clients’ client, have the corporate seal, and be notarised, to verify that it is the act and deed of the recipient company.  This is because of the apparent penetration of the US aviation industry by Iran and those obtaining supplies on behalf of Iran.  End-User Certificates are intended to prove that the stated end-user of the goods is actually the end-user, should be supplied by the end-user to prove this, and are (or should be) commonly used for military, dual-use and other licensed or controlled goods.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2019/11/are-your-bank-clients-selling-equipment.html

The Advisory is at –

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/20190723_iran_advisory_aviation.pdf

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 9

9th November 2019

3 SAUDI NATIONALS CHARGED WITH SMUGGLING FIREARMS PARTS FROM US TO SAUDI ARABIA WITHOUT AN EXPORT LICENCE

A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 8th November announced that 3 Saudi citizens allegedly purchased more than $100,000 in weapons parts in the US while on student visas and then smuggling the parts to Saudi Arabia.  They are said to have had rifle barrels, rifle triggers, and other items related to firearms in their checked luggage on flights from Los Angeles to Saudi Arabia.  They allegedly also would falsely identify rifle barrels, rifle triggers, and other items related to firearms as “shower curtain rods” or “car parts,” or other false names before exporting the items.   All 3 defendants are believed to be in Saudi Arabia.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/3-saudi-nationals-charged-smuggling-firearms-parts-us-saudi-arabia-without-export

REPORT ON ROLE OF JAPANESE COMPANY HIGHLIGHTS NORTH KOREA’S SHREWD SMUGGLING

NHK on 8th November reported that an investigation has concluded that a Japanese logistics company unwittingly played a part in smuggling a luxury German vehicle into North Korea. The probe was launched after a C4ADS report in July how North Korea gets around international sanctions, and about a car used by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a summit with President Trump in February in Vietnam.

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/news/20191108_36/

IRANIAN CENTRAL BANK IMPOSES AML CONTROLS ON LENDERS

Central Banking on 8th November reported that Iran’s central bank has imposed AML measures on all the country’s commercial banks, after government hardliners blocked new laws aimed at tightening controls, using a mechanism that does not require approval by lawmakers.

https://www.centralbanking.com/central-banks/financial-stability/4536626/iranian-central-bank-imposes-aml-controls-on-lenders

CLAIM THAT COMPANY SOLD CHINESE-MADE SURVEILLANCE EQUIPMENT TO THE US WITH ‘MADE IN THE USA’ LABELS

CNN on 8th November reported claims that a New York-based technology company sold Chinese-made surveillance equipment to the US government while falsely claiming the products were made in the US.  Aventura Technologies is accused of having imported millions of dollars-worth of equipment from China that was labelled and passed off as being US-made.  It is said to have sold surveillance cameras and other equipment used on US military installations.

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/11/08/us/us-company-aventura-fraud/index.html

UK POLICY PAPER ON TAX TREATMENT OF CRYPTOASSETS FOR COMPANIES

On 8th November, an article from Bird & Bird saying that HMRC finally published its policy paper on the taxation of cryptoasset exchange tokens for companies and other businesses on 1st November.  It is said that the paper only covered the tax treatment of exchange tokens such as bitcoin; further guidance relating to security tokens (including asset-backed security tokens which can be traded on an exchange) is to follow.  As for individuals, HMRC confirms that it does not regard any exchange tokens as money or currency.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2019/uk/uk-tax-treatment-of-cryptoassets-for-companies-finally-confirmed

EU CONFIRMS BELIZE REMOVED FROM EU TAX BLACKLIST AND NORTH MACEDONIA MEETS COMMITMENTS

A news release from the EU on 8th November advised that Belize has passed the necessary reforms to improve its tax regime for international business companies that was due to be implemented by end 2018.  The EU Council also found North Macedonia compliant with all its commitments on tax co-operation following its ratification of the OECD multilateral convention on mutual administrative assistance and should be removed from the EU grey list.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/11/08/taxation-belize-removed-from-eu-list-north-macedonia-meets-commitments/

EU COUNCIL AGREES ON A MODERNISED FRAMEWORK FOR EXCISE GOODS

A news release on 8th November advised that the EU is to modernise its rules on taxation of the sale or use of products such as tobacco, energy or alcohol, with a provisional agreement on measures to improve the business environment for trade in goods subject to excise duties, by further improving conditions for fair competition and reducing the administrative burden for companies.  The intention is to align the EU excise and customs procedures, so as to improve the freedom of movement for excise goods released for consumption in the single market while ensuring that the correct tax is collected by the member states; and to reduce the administrative and legal burdens for small companies.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/11/08/excise-duty-council-agrees-on-a-modernised-framework-for-excise-goods/

US LAWMAKERS INQUIRY INTO SAFETY OF IMPORTED PHARMACEUTICAL PRODUCTS

On 8th November, HKTDC carried an article on a recent US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee Health Subcommittee hearing on safeguarding pharmaceutical supply chains in the global economy.  The hearing focused on imported active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), especially those from mainland China and India.  It was reported that nearly three-quarters of API manufacturers making products for the US are located overseas, including 18% in India and 13% in mainland China, and the number of registered facilities making API in mainland China more than doubled between 2010 and 2019.  The hearing considered FDA inspections of producers, and testimony included 2 examples of problems traced to mainland Chinese manufacturers and involving tainted or substandard API.

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Economists-Pick-Regulatory-Alert-US/U-S-Lawmakers-Explore-Safety-of-Pharmaceutical-Global-Supply-Chain/baus/en/1/1X300W0C/1X0AJ4PZ.htm

9 FENTANYL SMUGGLERS JAILED IN LANDMARK US-CHINA OPERATION

Customs Today on 8th November reported that 9 people have been jailed in China for smuggling fentanyl into the US, after a landmark joint investigation by US and Chinese officers.  1 person was given a suspended death sentence, which normally means life in prison, and 2 others were given life sentences.  The 6 others received lesser sentences, ranging from 6 months to 10 years in prison.

https://customstoday.com.pk/fentanyl-smugglers-nine-jailed-in-landmark-us-china-operation/

https://www.jurist.org/news/2019/11/china-court-sentences-fentanyl-traffickers/

US FEDERAL COURT REDUCES PENALTY IMPOSED ON UPS FOR TRANSPORTING CIGARETTES

On 8th November, Jurist reported that a court of appeal has reduced the civil damages imposed on UPS for transporting cigarettes to New York City.  The decision reduced the district court’s order from $247 million in damages to $97.6 million.  In New York, state and local laws targeted the transportation of cigarettes from non-taxed areas to New York consumers, and the New York Attorney General concluded that UPS engaged in multiple violations.  That 2004 investigation ended with an Assurance of Discontinuance (AOD), in which UPS agreed not to knowingly transport cigarettes to unauthorized recipients.  However, in 2011 federal agents found illicit cigarettes at a UPS facility in 2011 and a federal court concluded that UPS violated the AOD in a 2016 opinion.  UPS has indicated it may lodge a further appeal.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2019/11/federal-court-reduces-ups-damages-for-transporting-cigarettes/

POLISH AND SWEDISH AUTHORITIES BUST LUXURY CAR SMUGGLING GANG

On 8th November, a Europol news release advised that Polish Border Guard and the Swedish police, supported by Europol, have dismantled an organised crime group involved in the theft of luxury cars across Europe. Stolen vehicles from Sweden were transported by ferry to Poland to have their identity marks changed or to be dismantled and sold as spare parts.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/9-suspects-arrested-in-poland-for-luxury-car-theft

NAVIGATING US EXTRATERRITORIAL SANCTIONS AND EXPORT CONTROL RISKS WITH A NIMBLE COMPLIANCE PROGRAMME

On 8th November, Baker McKenzie published an article which provides key risk assessment questions to ask, and suggests the minimum considerations for a viable compliance programme.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/navigating-us-extraterritorial-sanctions-export-control-risks-nimble-compliance-program/

ISLE OF MAN: CUSTOMS UNION (UNITED KINGDOM) ORDER 2019

On the Order Paper for the November sitting of the Isle of Man’s parliament is this Order which provides that the revised customs union arrangements between the UK and the Isle of Man for the purposes of import duties is to have effect.  The two jurisdictions have been in an evolving common taxes arrangement for many years, with the 1957 Common Purse Agreement (covering customs duties, some excise duties and purchase tax) replaced in in 1979 by the Customs and Excise Agreement (extending the scope of arrangements to VAT, amongst other things).  The 1979 had itself been amended in subsequent years and in 2018 a new exchange of letters has led to a further, more extensive amendment, which takes into account the likely effect of Brexit.  This new Order is actually made using powers in a UK Act, but one which has (in part) been applied to become part of Manx law.  The revised arrangements will, subject to limited exceptions, come into effect upon an exchange of letters between the Governments and the date will be publicised in due course on the Isle of Man Government website.

http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/sittings/20182021/2019-SD-0405.pdf

CUSTOMS TRANSIT PROCEDURES (AMENDMENT) REGULATIONS 2019

These Regulations are always on the November Order Paper and are intended to ensure that the customs procedures will continue to operate effectively once the UK leaves the EU.  In essence, as part of the UK customs territory, goods in transit procedures can and will be able to move to and from the Island as if moving within the UK.

http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/sittings/20182021/2019-SD-0399.pdf

UKRAINE: NABU SEIZES 15 VOLUMES OF DOCUMENTS LINKED TO CASE INVOLVING EQUIPMENT PURCHASES FOR UKRAINIAN ARMY
On 9th November, UNIAN reported that the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has seized 15 volumes of documents from the Ministry of Defense on the facts of the purchase of weapons and equipment for the Armed Forces of Ukraine in the past years, and in particular purchases of Bogdan 2251 ambulances and off-road trucks MAZ 5316 and MAZ 6317 in 2015-2019, linked to alleged large-scale embezzlement scheme in the defence industry.

https://www.unian.info/politics/10748730-hague-court-publishes-nov-8-judgement-supporting-ukraine-in-claim-vs-russia.html
ISLE OF MAN: PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT (COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS) (NO.3) ORDER 2019 AND ANTI-TERRORISM AND CRIME ACT (COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS) ORDER 2019

On the Order Paper for the November sitting of the Isle of Man’s parliament, the first Order is intended to amend the Island’s law to align its tipping-off legislation so that it is commensurate with the FATF Recommendation 21 (Tipping-Off and Confidentiality) and to make explicit the offence of tipping off found within section 145 of POCA 2008.  In this context, “tipping off” refers to the act of divulging that a matter has been disclosed (either to the FIU or a nominated person) suggesting that a money laundering offence under Part 3 of POCA 2008 has been committed.  This was an issue identified in MONEYVAL’s Mutual Evaluation Report of the Island (and in a preceding 2009 IMF report).  Other amendments made by the Order are intended to assist with the legitimate disclosure of information within group companies and financial institutions, to allow proper liaison within the sectors when suspicions are held to provide for voluntary information sharing, to meet CDD obligations.

The second Order makes corresponding changes in respect of the Anti-Terrorism and Crime Act 2003.

http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/sittings/20182021/2019-SD-0397.pdf

http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/sittings/20182021/2019-SD-0398.pdf

2 FORMER OWNERS OF BINARY OPTIONS SCHEME, AND 13 OTHERS, CHARGED IN US – ALL ISRAELI

On 8th November, a release on Mondo Visione reported that 15 individuals, including 2 former company owners, were charged for their alleged participation in a scheme to defraud investors in the US and worldwide by fraudulently marketing approximately $140 million in financial instruments known as “binary options” from 2014.  They are all current or former residents of Israel.  The charges relate to 2 websites, known as BinaryBook and BigOption, and the indictment alleges that the defendants and their co-conspirators all worked for an Israel-based company called Yukom Communications, a purported sales and marketing company.

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-department-of-justice-two-former-owners-of-binary-options-company-and-13-oth/

ULTRA-FAST BOMB DETECTION UNVEILED

Police Professional on 8th November reported that researchers from the University of Surrey have developed a new ‘ultra-fast’ method to detect materials that could be used by terrorists to build explosives.  It says that the new detection system is able to analyse a wider range of materials than current thermal-based detection systems used in airports, and other high-risk locations while reducing false positive reports.  Using swabbing material to collect samples of explosives, the new method is able to detect substances such as nitrotoluenes, trinitrotriazine, hexamethylene triperoxide diamine and nitroglycerine.  Detection of peroxide-based explosives is key as high-profile terrorist attacks, such as the London bombings in 2007, used devices made from these materials.

https://www.policeprofessional.com/news/ultra-fast-bomb-detection-unveiled/

BRITISH FORMER ALSTOM EXECUTIVE WHO CARRIED A UK PASSPORT, WORKED IN FRANCE, AND SAID HE NEVER SET FOOT IN THE US, CONVICTED BY A FEDERAL JURY FOR HIS PART IN A SCHEME TO BRIBE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS IN INDONESIA

A post on the FCPA Blog on 8th November reported that Lawrence Hoskins, 69, a former senior vice president at Paris-based Alstom, was found guilty of violating the FCPA and of money laundering and related conspiracy charges.  He was indicted in 2013, but the hearing was delayed until now due to legal challenges over whether or not the FCPA could apply in his case and his circumstances – but then the jury took only 1 day to return its verdict.

https://fcpablog.com/2019/11/08/jury-convicts-hoskins-of-multiple-fcpa-and-money-laundering-offenses/

THE ‘MISTAKES’ BEHIND MOST OFAC VIOLATIONS

A post on the FCPA Blog on 8th November listed the most common “mistakes”, accidental or otherwise, behind most OFAC violations –

  • No sanctions compliance programme;
  • Improper due diligence;
  • Bad information and the wrong tools;
  • Being wrong about who and what are covered by OFAC regulations;
  • Being wilfully blind about where U.S.-origin goods, technology, or services will end up;
  • De-centralised and inconsistent compliance functions and programmes; and
  • Bosses going rogue.

https://fcpablog.com/2019/11/08/these-mistakes-are-behind-most-ofac-violations/

 

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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ISLE OF MAN: PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT (COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS) (NO.3) ORDER 2019 AND ANTI-TERRORISM AND CRIME ACT (COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS) ORDER 2019

On the Order Paper for the November sitting of the Isle of Man’s parliament, the first Order is intended to amend the Island’s law to align its tipping-off legislation so that it is commensurate with the FATF Recommendation 21 (Tipping-Off and Confidentiality) and to make explicit the offence of tipping off found within section 145 of POCA 2008.  In this context, “tipping off” refers to the act of divulging that a matter has been disclosed (either to the FIU or a nominated person) suggesting that a money laundering offence under Part 3 of POCA 2008 has been committed.  This was an issue identified in MONEYVAL’s Mutual Evaluation Report of the Island (and in a preceding 2009 IMF report).  Other amendments made by the Order are intended to assist with the legitimate disclosure of information within group companies and financial institutions, to allow proper liaison within the sectors when suspicions are held to provide for voluntary information sharing, to meet CDD obligations.

The second Order makes corresponding changes in respect of the Anti-Terrorism and Crime Act 2003.

http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/sittings/20182021/2019-SD-0397.pdf

http://www.tynwald.org.im/business/opqp/sittings/20182021/2019-SD-0398.pdf

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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DIGITAL REGULATION – UK AND EU DEVELOPMENTS

On 5th November, Herbert Smith Freehills published a report with infographics which is a helpful tool to keep track of digital regulation across the UK and EU (including developments relating to the Digital Single Market).  The horizon-scanning timeline includes an overview of key recent and upcoming regulatory dates across a range of focus areas, including consumer protection, disinformation, online harm, audio-visual media, data protection and cyber security.  The firm says that it intends to release regular updates to the timeline going forward.

An example of the infographics –

hsf

https://www.herbertsmithfreehills.com/file/39671/download?token=2_iTHN9x

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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US CARGO SCREENING SNIFFER DOG SHORTAGE

On 8th November, Loadstar carried an article saying that new ICAO rules from 2021 will require all freight to be screened, which in part can be done with dogs, but there are concerns that not enough animals will be trained in time.  In the US, a third-party K9 cargo programme began in November 2018, which allowed private operators to train and use dogs for cargo screening. There are an increasing number of vendors – but still not enough to satisfy likely demand in 2021.

https://theloadstar.com/cargo-screening-forwarders-will-need-to-sniff-out-more-dogs-by-2021/

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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PODCAST SERIES: CANNABIS LEGALISATION IN THE US

Law 360 has released a 5-part podcast series which explores some of the legal scenarios playing out for cannabis businesses across the country.  It contains first-hand accounts from the businesses and attorneys grappling with an industry that is often legal at the state level but prohibited at the federal level.

https://www.law360.com/explores

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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LEROY KING EXTRADITED FROM ANTIGUA TO THE US OVER $7 BILLION STANFORD BANK SCANDAL

On 8th November, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that, after years of delay, the last significant fugitive from justice in the Stanford International Bank Ponzi scheme, Antigua’s former banking regulator Leroy King, has been extradited to face multiple charges in the US.  He was able to defer his 2009 extradition order for more than a decade.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2019/11/after-decade-of-delays-by-antigua-leroy.html

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 8

8th November 2019

OFAC SETTLEMENT AGREEMENT WITH APOLLO AVIATION GROUP LLC OVER SUDAN SANCTIONS

On 7th November, OFAC announced a $210,600 settlement with Apollo Aviation Group LLC re 12 apparent violations of the Sudanese Sanctions Regulations.  It is said that it leased 3 aircraft engines to an entity incorporated in the UAE, which then subleased the engines to a Ukrainian airline, which then installed the engines on an aircraft wet leased to Sudan Airways.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/bulletins/26ac16e

REVISION TO SWISS SANCTIONS AGAINST NORTH KOREA

On 6th November, Baker McKenzie reported on changes implementing the exceptions to the export ban agreed by the UN Sanctions Committee and coming into force on 1st December.  The amendment will clarify authority for the delivery of humanitarian aid and other goods for which an exception has been granted by the UN Sanctions Committee to also be authorised under Swiss law, with prior advice of such shipments and physical inspection.

http://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/revision-to-swiss-sanctions-against-the-democratic-peoples-republic-of-korea/#page=1

UK DRAFT FINANCE BILL 2020: JOINT AND SEVERAL LIABILITY OF COMPANY DIRECTORS IN INSOLVENCY

A post on Weil Tax Blog on 6th November comments on new proposed powers that, if enacted, would enable HMRC to make directors and certain other individuals connected to companies which, for these purposes, includes LLP, jointly and severally liable for the company’s tax liabilities if the company is subject to, or there is a risk that it may be subject to, insolvency proceedings (including liquidation and administration); and proposed rules issued in July by HMRC.  The post says that HMRC’s intention seems to be to enact the draft legislation in its current form and narrow its application through guidance.

https://tax.weil.com/business-finance-restructuring/draft-finance-bill-2020-and-corporate-insolvency/#page=1

MALAYSIA TO IMPOSE CASH TRANSACTION LIMIT OF RM 25,000 (ABOUT £4,700) STARTING NEXT YEAR

On 8th November, KYC 360 reported that Malaysia is planning to impose a cash transaction limit (CTL) of RM 25,000 starting next year and will apply to all transactions involving physical cash payments including payments of goods and services and donations and transfers between parties, which are applicable to individuals, businesses and other entities.  There are to be exemptions for any cash transactions to or with regulated financial institutions and for humanitarian aid.  In January, the central bank lowered the daily cash threshold report (CTR) for banks from RM 50,000 to RM 25,000.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/malaysia-to-impose-cash-transaction-limit-of-rm25000-starting-next-year/

PROSECUTORS DROP INVESTIGATION INTO MILLIONS MISSING FROM MONTENEGRO BANK

On 8th November, KYC 360 reported that prosecutors in Montenegro halted an investigation into nearly €22 million illegally paid to privileged clients of a failing financial institution, Atlas Bank, while it was under the management of the Central Bank.  In June 2018, state prosecutors ordered Atlas to freeze about €63 million of funds suspected of being laundered through an e-commerce scheme, and OCCRP has reported that about €4.4 million of those funds disappeared from Atlas’ books after the Central Bank imposed interim management.  The Central Bank took the bank over and managed it until April this year, when it went into bankruptcy.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/prosecutors-drop-investigation-into-millions-missing-from-montenegro-bank/

TERRORISM FINANCING CHARGE UPHELD AGAINST FRENCH COMPANY LAFARGE OVER SYRIA

On 8th November, KYC 360 reported that a French court has upheld preliminary criminal charges against one of France’s biggest companies over allegations that it financed the Islamic State and other armed groups in Syria.  It is said that multinational cement-maker Lafarge violated international embargoes as it sought to maintain business in Syria despite the civil war.  However, the court rejected a separate, and more serious charge that the company was complicit in crimes against humanity after former employees accused Lafarge of abetting terrorist groups operating in the region by funnelling financing to them.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/terrorism-financing-charge-upheld-against-french-company-lafarge/

SWITZERLAND: DUAL-USE CONTROL LIST UPDATE 2020

On 7th November, MME Legal Tax Compliance published an article on updated goods control lists which take effect from 1st January.  The majority of the changes result from the modifications agreed in the Wassenaar Arrangement, the international agreement on dual-use items, with some changes result from modifications agreed in the framework of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).  Other adjustments included significant editorial changes to adjust controls and the correction of minor errors.

https://www.mme.ch/en/magazine/magazine-detail/url_magazine/swiss_seco_publishes_dual_use_list_update_2020/

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ON CLASSIFICATION CHANGES AND THE UPCOMING MODERNISATION OF THE EU DUAL-USE REGIME

On 7th November, Hogan Lovells published a briefing which provides a high-level overview of the recent activity in this area of trade law.  This is said to include the upcoming revised list of dual-use items, which includes a new definition of controlled encryption algorithms, which will extend controls to quantum-resistant encryption, and a new decontrol note for information security items specially designed for a ‘connected civil industry application; the revival of the recast of the EU Dual-Use Regulation – now in the final stages of inter-institutional negotiations; and UK preparatory work to adapt the control of dual-use items after Brexit.

https://www.jdsupra.com/post/fileServer.aspx?fName=2491d8c0-174f-4185-be48-416fb6f53c20.pdf

PANAMA PAPERS: US COURT CASE UPDATE

On 7th November, ICIJ provided an update on definitions, legal principles and documents discussed in US court cases of men charged with financial crimes and arising from the Panama Papers revelations.

https://www.icij.org/investigations/panama-papers/fugitive-or-not-panama-papers-pre-trial-continues/

IRELAND: GARDAÍ PROBE BULGARIAN SMUGGLING ROUTES AFTER CAB RAIDS IN MONAGHAN

On 8th November, The Journal reported that Gardaí have launched a crackdown on haulage companies operating in the border region as officers turn their attention to Bulgarian smuggling routes believed to be used by criminals to bring illicit contraband into Ireland.  These raids were not part of the investigation into the Essex trailer tragedy, where 39 Vietnamese were found dead in a trailer.

https://www.thejournal.ie/cab-raids-monaghan-bulgaria-4882734-Nov2019/

https://www.itv.com/news/utv/2019-11-07/searches-in-co-monaghan-as-part-of-international-smuggling-probe/

LIBERIA: FIU FINES ORANGE-LIBERIA FOR FAILURE TO SUBMIT STR

Front Page Africa on 8th November reported that the FIU had fined the mobile money component of the Orange-Liberia GSM company for failing to file no STR for the period of 2 years – the company had not reported since 2017.  It was also said that the FIU would shortly be instituting whistleblower hotline numbers to the public so that community members can participate in reporting incidents of money laundering, properties related to the proceeds of crimes and other predicate offences.

https://frontpageafricaonline.com/front-slider/financial-intelligence-unit-fines-orange-liberia/

FORMER RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL IN COSTA DEL SOL ARRESTS IN MONEY LAUNDERING CORRUPTION INQUIRY

On 7th November, Euro Weekly reported a former high-ranking official of the Russian Ministry of Culture was amongst those arrested.  The case is said to revolve around the purchase of a €4 million villa and tax crimes and corruption in the Russian Federation.  Russian authorities issued an international arrest warrant for the extradition of the suspect.  Police say their investigations have shown that the people arrested used a complex business network, making it difficult to ascertain the illegal origin of the funds and the identity of the people behind this real estate money laundering operation.

https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2019/11/07/costa-del-sol-arrests-in-russian-money-laundering-corruption-inquiry/

DANISH NGO GRANTED UN EXEMPTION TO SEND AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY TO NORTH KOREA

NK News on 7th November reported that Mission East was granted an exemption in order to mitigate food shortages in the country.

https://www.nknews.org/2019/11/danish-ngo-granted-un-exemption-to-send-agricultural-machinery-to-north-korea/

BRAZIL’S SUPREME COURT USED TO TERRIFY POLITICIANS. NOT ANYMORE

Americas Quarterly on 5th November reported that political support for Lava Jato (the Car Wash investigation) has faded – along with judges’ incentives to crack down on corruption.  The article says that the Court is expected to reverse recent precedents by ruling that defendants can only be put in jail after they’ve gone through all of the appeals processes available to them.  This could have significant implications for at least 15 defendants – including former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who is currently in jail but would be released on appeal if the Court does indeed reverse itself.

https://www.americasquarterly.org/content/brazils-supreme-court-used-terrify-politicians-not-anymore

OFAC AMENDS 1 NICARAGUA SANCTIONS ENTRY

On 8th November, OFAC announced an amendment to the entry for Roberto Jose LOPEZ GOMEZ.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20191108.aspx

GULF OF GUINEA PIRATES KIDNAP 13 CREW FROM 2 EUROPEAN-FLAGGED SHIPS

On 5th November, Homeland Security Today reported that, in a matter of 3 days, pirates operating in the Gulf of Guinea have kidnapped a total of 13 people on 2 European-flagged ships – 4 crew members on a Greek oil tanker were kidnapped off the coast of Togo, and 8 people were kidnapped from a Norwegian cargo ship off the coast of neighbouring Benin.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/maritime-security/gulf-of-guinea-pirates-kidnap-crew-of-two-european-flagged-ships/

UK: REPORTS OF LOST AND STOLEN CONTROLLED DRUGS INCREASE BY 19% IN ONE YEAR

The Pharmaceutical Journal reported on 8th November that 1,387 instances of lost, stolen or missing controlled drugs were reported in 2018/2019.

https://www.pharmaceutical-journal.com/20207317.article

FUTURE ANTI-CORRUPTION TRENDS—REASONS TO BE OPTIMISTIC

On 7th November, an article from Transparency International is the second of 2 articles reflecting on the key findings of an in-depth, participatory strategic research project. The first identified key trends that will drive corruption over the next decade.  This second article explores reasons to nevertheless remain optimistic about the future –

  • Corruption is now on the agenda;
  • Young people across the globe are demanding change;
  • Tech offers new tools to fight corruption; and
  • More allies are joining the fight.

https://voices.transparency.org/future-anti-corruption-trends-4-reasons-to-be-optimistic-21d7902f980d

https://voices.transparency.org/facing-future-corruption-challenges-trends-of-the-next-decade-a78267cbf621

TOWER RESEARCH TO PAY $67 MILLION TO SETTLE SPOOFING CLAIMS

The Wall Street Journal on 7th November reported that New York-based high-speed trading firm Tower Research Capital LLC has agreed to pay $67 million in a deferred prosecution agreement to settle regulatory allegations that its traders manipulated the price of stock-index futures, the biggest penalty ever imposed by the US derivatives watchdog CFTC in such a case.  This follows the guilty plea of 2 former traders who were involved in the scheme, while a grand jury indicted a third trader on similar charges.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/tower-research-to-pay-67-million-to-settle-spoofing-claims-11573155230

NEW RULES FOR EU VAT SYSTEM AGREED BY MEMBER STATES TO TACKLE FRAUD IN THE E-COMMERCE SECTOR

On 8th November, a news release from the EU advised that anti-fraud experts in EU Member States are to have access to VAT-relevant data held by payment intermediaries such as credit card and direct debit providers that facilitate over 90% of online purchases in the EU.  Similar provisions in place in some Member States and other countries.  The new rules will now need to be confirmed by the European Parliament before entering into force in January 2024.  EU finance ministers also reached a political agreement on an update to already-existing special VAT rules for EU SME, and the new and improved VAT scheme for SME should enter into force in January 2025.  Other new rules will exempt supplies to armed forces from VAT and excise duties when these forces are deployed outside their own Member State and take part in a European defence effort.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/IP_19_6232

WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM THE US STATE DEPARTMENT’S TERRORISM REPORT ON PAKISTAN?

The Diplomat in its 9th November edition carried an article about the report which criticised Pakistan for failing to uniformly implement the FATF Recommendations and not taking action against regionally-focused terrorist groups, but does not carry the punitive language which was prevalent in the previous 2017 report.  It is said that there appears no convincing evidence that could suggest that Pakistan has choked India-focused groups’ operational capability or capacity to act in the future.

https://thediplomat.com/2019/11/what-can-we-learn-from-the-us-state-departments-terrorism-report-on-pakistan

The report is at –

https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Country-Reports-on-Terrorism-2018-FINAL.pdf

BELGIUM’S BANKS TO JOIN FORCES AGAINST MONEY LAUNDERERS

The Brussels Times on 8th November reported that Belgian banks are studying better ways to exchange information on suspicious financial transactions, under a pilot project launched by the banking sector federation, Febelfin.

https://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/77931/belgiums-queen-mathilde-wins-prestigious-german-bambi-award/

EU REMOVES BELIZE FROM ITS TAX HAVEN BLACKLIST

On 8th November, Reuters reported that EU finance ministers have removed Belize from its list of tax havens, as Belize has passed the necessary reforms to improve its tax regime for international business companies that was due to be implemented by end-2018.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-eu-tax-blackslist/eu-removes-belize-from-its-tax-haven-blacklist-statement-idUKKBN1XI1JB?rpc=401&

COM MIRZA: DUBAI-BASED ENTREPRENEUR ACCUSED OF DEFRAUDING INVESTORS WORLDWIDE HAS BEEN ARRESTED

On 8th November, the 5 Pillars website reported that Canadian Aziz “Com” Mirza was taken into custody on October 27th.  This followed a complaint by a UAE resident.

https://5pillarsuk.com/2019/11/08/entrepreneur-com-mirza-arrested-in-dubai-after-fraud-allegations/

MALAYSIAN AUTHORITIES WIDEN INVESTIGATION INTO GOLDMAN SACHS

On 8th November, an article from the Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics (SCCE) reports an additional 17 employees of Goldman Sachs in connection with the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal, which includes individuals who, it is said, occupied the highest executive positions in those 3 Goldman Sachs subsidiaries, and exercised or ought to have exercised decision-making authority over the transactions of those corporate bodies.

https://compliancecosmos.org/malaysian-authorities-widen-investigation-goldman-sachs?authkey=89d9d30a5cb1e454e188fff2966fab07904c55aa864b5967eea4320b65147821

SAUDI ARABIA RETURNS STOLEN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS TO IRAQ

On 6th November, the Saudi Gazette reported that Saudi Arabia has handed over stolen historical documents to Iraq.  The documents were in the custody of an Arab expatriate in the Kingdom, who possessed them illegally and posted some of them on the Internet.

http://www.saudigazette.com.sa/article/581932/SAUDI-ARABIA/Saudi-Arabia-returns-stolen-historical-documents-to-Iraq

RECORD 400 KG OF COCAINE SEIZED AT KOBE PORT

On 8th November, the Japan Times reported that a record 400 kg of cocaine was seized by customs authorities in October at Kobe port, found in shipping containers.  The article speculates that smugglers may have sent the cocaine to Kobe by mistake, possibly intending to deliver it to another destination.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/11/08/national/crime-legal/record-shipment-400-kilograms-cocaine-seized-kobe-port-last-month-investigative-sources-say

DANISH CUSTOMS SEIZES 12,000 ILLEGAL WEAPONS IN ONE YEAR

The Local on 7th November reported that increased staff numbers and better scanning equipment have resulted in a marked increase in customs confiscations of illegal weapons; and that the last 3 years have seen a 7-fold increase in the number of illegal weapons seized by the Danish Customs Agency.

https://www.thelocal.dk/20191107/danish-customs-seize-12000-illegal-weapons-in-one-year

FREIGHT FORWARDERS BODY FIATA CRITICAL OF DETENTION AND DEMURRAGE PROCESS IN US

A news release from FIATA on 7th November said that, in its submission to the US Federal Maritime Commission (FMC) Review of container detention and demurrage charges FIATA supported a more transparent, equitable and business-orientated process as regards the determination and levy of such charges not only in the US but in other  economies where industry  operated under similar processes.  FIATA is critical of the practice which surrounds the determination of detention and demurrage charges which were highlighted in the FMC Review and questioned the rationale for such charges in achieving the orderly movement of containers to, and from, ports, terminals or depots rather than being pure finance generators.

https://fiata.com/media/press-releases/2019/7-november-1914.html

VENEZUELA’S LOS ROQUES ARCHIPELAGO A NEW HOTSPOT FOR DRUG SMUGGLING

On 8th November, an article on Insight Crime reported that this group of islands off Venezuela’s northern coast known for their white sand beaches and turquoise waters has become a staging ground for smuggling drugs and gold through the Caribbean; with an organized crime gang was operating from the islands offshore from Venezuela’s Vargas state to move drugs and gold.  The article also says that the Dutch Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao are increasingly being used to smuggle illegal gold and move cocaine coming from Colombia via Venezuela.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/venezuela-archipelago-gold-drug-smuggling/

 

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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MALTA: CUSTOMS’ RECORD-BREAKING SEIZURE WITH 36 CONTAINERS HIDING COUNTERFEIT SHOES AND CLOTHES

On 8th November, Malta Today reported that officers found 36 containers out of 44 checked carrying counterfeit mobile accessories, clothes, shoes, and game controllers.  The seizure, the biggest in customs history, was thanks to an operation carried out by the Containers’ Monitoring Unit, the Scanning Unit and the Intellectual Property Rights Unit, while using specialised scanners.  Legal items were used to hide the counterfeits.  It is said that the containers originated from Asia and were headed to an African country.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/98522/customs_recordbreaking_bust_of_36_containers_hiding_counterfeit_shoes_and_clothes

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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US SANCTIONS MALI ISLAMIST GROUP LEADER

On 8th November, Defence Web reported that the US has imposed sanctions on a leader of an al Qaeda-linked Islamist militant group in Mali.  It has designated Amadou Koufa, a Salafist preacher and a leader of Jama’at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), an al Qaeda affiliate in the Sahel region.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/joint/diplomacy-a-peace/us-sanctions-mali-islamist-group-leader/

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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CAYMAN ISLANDS: AML STEERING GROUP RELEASES CASE STUDIES AND TYPOLOGIES

On 7th November, the Cayman Compass reported that the Cayman Islands Anti-Money Laundering Steering Group (AMLSG) has compiled real-life crime cases, from Cayman and abroad, in its publication ‘Money Laundering Typologies and Trends’ to demonstrate how different industry sectors can be misused by criminals.  It includes diagrams illustrating how sanctions designation was avoided, and sections on terrorist financing and proliferation financing.

cayman

The publication, dated September 2019, is available at –

http://www.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/amlhome/publications/Money%20Laundering%20Typologies%20and%20Trends1

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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US: RISK THAT “OUTSOURCED” CRIMINAL INVESTIGATIONS MIGHT VIOLATE FOREIGN BLOCKING STATUTES

A blog post from the New York University School of Law comments on a ruling from of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York.  This is said to have significant implications for the conduct of corporate internal investigations by outside law firms in the US.  If there is “extensive coordination” between lawyers conducting a corporate investigation and the prosecutor’s office with whom they are in discussions or negotiations, the lawyers’ acts are “fairly attributable to the government”, and so those providing any information have been compelled to do so, and hence any such evidence cannot be used against them (as this would seem to violate their right against self-incrimination).  However, the post highlights another potential aspect involving so-called “blocking statutes” of other countries.  It explains that the term is used as a general description of laws that attempt to impose territorial sovereignty over access to information (including witness testimony) by prohibiting or limiting the international transfer of information gathered locally for use by a foreign government, and could render the lawyers involved to prosecution in their other country.  The post says that the best/worst example is found in French law, and provides that anyone located in France or of French nationality who transfers information of potential economic significance outside of France for use in a “judicial or administrative proceeding” commits a crime, unless the transfer is conducted pursuant to a bilateral or international agreement to which France is a party – though the US Supreme Court had rejected this as a defence against use of the information.

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2019/11/06/united-states-v-connolly-and-the-risk-that-outsourced-criminal-investigations-might-violate-foreign-blocking-statutes/

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 7

7th November 2019

MONTENEGRO, ALBANIA, NORWAY AND UKRAINE CONTINUE TO BACK EU UKRAINE SANCTIONS

A news release from the EU on 4th November advised that these countries would continue to implement the EU sanctions, as amended, to 15th March 2020.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/11/04/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-alignment-of-certain-countries-concerning-restrictive-measures-in-respect-of-ukraine/

THE FOREIGN INVESTMENT REGULATION REVIEW (7TH EDITION)

The Law Reviews has published the 7th edition of this Review which sets out to provide a comprehensive guide to laws, regulations, policies and practices governing foreign investment in key international jurisdictions, and includes contributions from leading experts around the world from some of the most widely recognised law firms in their respective jurisdictions.  Covering a number of countries, including Ireland, the UK and US, as well as an EU overview, topics include the Committee of Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) and similar.

https://thelawreviews.co.uk/edition/1001414/the-foreign-investment-regulation-review-edition-7

BUSINESS CRIME AND ANTI-CORRUPTION & BRIBERY COMPARATIVE GUIDES: BELGIUM, FRANCE, GERMANY

On Mondaq, one can find comparative guides to the legal structures in individual countries, including bilateral and multilateral international agreements having effect, definitions etc.

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=861116

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=861120

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=861194

http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=861122

HOW THE NETHERLANDS BUILT ONE OF THE WORLD’S WORST TAX HAVENS

An article in Foreign Affairs on 6th November starts by reminding one that, in 2009, a press briefing, the Obama White House also noted that, taken together with Bermuda and Ireland, the Netherlands claimed nearly a third of all foreign profits reported in 2003 by US corporations, and argues that the Netherlands belonged on a list of major tax havens — and still does, today.  It says that, in 2017, foreign direct investment in the Netherlands totalled $5.2 trillion – but that the vast majority of that money wasn’t invested at all: only $836 billion actually entered the Dutch economy, the other $4.3 trillion went into shell companies or subsidiaries set up to avoid paying taxes elsewhere.  Google and IBM are among the many US companies that have established operations in the Netherlands in order to reduce their tax bills back home, and Fiat Chrysler an Italian-American multinational is, technically, a Dutch company.  The article explains that the legal groundwork allowing the Netherlands to become such a haven dated back to 1893, with a law guaranteeing that profits transferred from a subsidiary to a parent entity would not be taxed twice.  The article goes on to explain how the loopholes allowing the Netherlands to thrive could be closed.

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/netherlands/2019-11-06/how-netherlands-built-one-worlds-worst-tax-havens

ASSESSING STRATEGIES FOR COUNTERING ILLEGAL TRAFFICKING OF PANGOLINS IN AFRICA

On 6th November, ENACT Africa published a report saying that pangolin (scaly anteater) trafficking is not simply an environmental management problem – it is a transnational organised crime.  They are among the most trafficked wildlife species in Africa and are considered the most trafficked mammal globally, with a huge demand for their scales and meat, largely from SE Asia.  The policy brief identifies the gaps in existing policies and strategies, and offers evidence-based policy recommendations for the protection of pangolins and to stem illicit trade in Africa.

https://enact-africa.s3.amazonaws.com/site/uploads/2019-11-06-pangolin-trafficking-PB12-2.pdf

US: FORMER UAW UNION VICE-PRESIDENT WITH MONEY LAUNDERING AND BRIBERY

KYC 360 on 7th November reported that Joe Ashton, a former vice-president of the United Automobile Workers Union, has been charged with bribery and money laundering, the 13th person charged in connection with the corruption scandal, and also the highest ranking.  UAW President Gary Jones has also stepped aside temporarily as he also comes under scrutiny.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/feds-charge-former-uaw-vice-president-with-money-laundering-and-bribery/

DUTCH MAKER OF EQUIPMENT FOR SEMICONDUCTOR MANUFACTURERS WAITS FOR APPROVAL FOR EXPORT OF “DUAL-USE” ADVANCED MACHINE TO CHINA

On 6th November, Reuters and Yahoo Finance reported that ASML Holding NV, a Dutch company that is a key equipment supplier to all major semiconductor manufacturers, said that its licence to export one of its most advanced machines, worth around €100 million, to a Chinese customer had expired and it was awaiting approval for a new licence from the Dutch government.  The supply had been delayed due to political opposition from the US, as such advanced lithography equipment is considered “dual use” technology under the Wassenaar agreement.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/asml-awaiting-dutch-approval-advanced-115757824.html

FORMER TEXAS MAYOR FOUND GUILTY IN MONEY LAUNDERING AND HEALTH CARE FRAUD SCHEME

On 6th November, KRGV in Texas reported that a federal jury had found 3 men associated with a Texas health care company guilty for their roles in a $150 million health care fraud scheme, one of whim, Francisco Pena, 82, was a mayor in Rio Bravo, Texas at the time.

https://www.krgv.com/news/former-texas-mayor-found-guilty-in-money-laundering-and-health-care-fraud-scheme/

KUWAIT – NEW FACTS IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE INVOLVING LOCAL BUSINESS CONTRACTS WITH US ARMY

MENA FN on 6th November reported that investigations have revealed the involvement of 7 new companies owned by an Asian, in addition to manipulation in tenders worth more than $200 million.  There are alleged a close link between the suspicious companies led by 5 Asians living in Kuwait and an Arab and 2 Kuwaitis, who were licensees operating in collusion with subcontractors.  It is also said that investigations revealed suspicion about a US resident who was an employee of the US contracts office, and left the country 2 months ago, after the awarding of the contracts despite suspicion of violating the rules of integrity and anti-trust Kuwaiti and US laws.

https://menafn.com/1099234771/Kuwait—New-facts-unfold-in-money-laundering-case-involving-local-firms-contracts-with-US-army

UKRAINE: CRIMINAL CASE FOR HIGH TREASON AND MONEY LAUNDERING LAUNCHED AGAINST KIEV MAYOR VITALY KLITSCHKO AND HIS 2 DEPUTIES

Armenpress in Armenia on6th November reported that the National Anti-Corruption Bureau had launched a criminal case, according to local media in Ukraine.

https://armenpress.am/eng/news/994318.html

SERBIA RISKS US SANCTIONS OVER RUSSIA ARMS DEALS

On 7th November, EU Observer reported that Serbia could face US sanctions over purchases of Russian jet fighters, attack helicopters, and anti-aircraft missiles produced by companies on an US blacklist.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/146554

NEW POLISH WEBSITE AIMS TO RAISE AWARENESS OF VAT FRAUD

Remix reports on a new project by the Polish government is designed to end VAT fraud.  A campaign website is directed at a foreign audience and aims to raise awareness about the issue of VAT fraud across Europe.  The campaign also highlights examples of how VAT fraud is used to fund terrorism campaigns, including the smuggling of weapons and drugs.  Posters have appeared in cities including London and Berlin.  The website site offers plenty highlighting the issue of VAT fraud, including the estimated €1.2 billion loss in revenue due to VAT fraud between 2010 and 2017.

https://rmx.news/article/article/polish-anti-vat-fraud-success-is-an-example-for-the-eu

ST PETERSBURG COURT PUTS CUSTOMS STATION CHIEF UNDER HOUSE ARREST IN ANTIQUE BRIBERY CASE

On 7th November, RAPSI in Russia reported that a chief of a customs terminal of the Baltic Customs Service under house arrest as part of a case over allegedly receiving bribes for providing a free importation channel for undeclared antiques from Europe.

http://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20191107/305007562.html

DEEP SEA MINING: PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES

On 6th November, an article from Global Risk Intelligence says that deep sea mining industry is poised for rapid growth over the next half-decade as companies, countries, and institutions react to changes in international demand for various minerals.  It says that the UN-affiliated International Seabed Authority (ISA) regulates and licences activities on the ocean floor in order to minimise the negative environmental effects of mining.  However, the article points out that the US has not signed the agreement, so US companies must operate through foreign subsidiaries in order to obtain licences.  ISA has so far issued 29 exploration licences and is currently working on a new set of regulations for deep sea mineral exploitation and is projected to release the new regulations by July 2020. Given this time frame, companies could potentially begin selling minerals from deep sea sites by 2025.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/deep-sea-mining-prospects-and-challenges-33430/

FINLAND TO ISSUE NO NEW DEFENCE EXPORT LICENCES FOR TURKEY

World ECR reported that, on 25th October, the Finnish MoD said that it has ‘tightened its policy on the export of defence materiel to Turkey and, because of the military operation launched by Turkey in Syria, suspended the granting of export licences for new defence materiel’.

https://www.worldecr.com/news/finland-to-issue-no-new-defence-export-licences-for-turkey/

EU DUAL-USE EXPORTS REPORT: USA AND CHINA THE MOST POPULAR DESTINATIONS FOR DUAL-USE EXPORTS

World ECR reported on the release on 4th November on a report from the European Commission to the European Parliament and EU Council.  The total value of such exports in 2017-18 was over €50 billion, with 25,600 individual licences issued in 2017, with only a small proportion of applications being denied.  After the US and China, countries in Asia as a whole were the main recipients.  An Annex to the report details the penalties available for breaches of controls in each Member State.

https://www.worldecr.com/news/eu-dual-use-report-to-council-and-parliament/

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?qid=1573038949177&uri=CELEX:52019DC0562

17 TONNES OF FOOD INFECTED WITH LISTERIA SEIZED IN SPAIN

On 7th November, a news release from Europol announced that an operation linked to a harmful bacteria outbreak by the Spanish Civil Guard (Guardia Civil) and with Europol’s support has led to the arrest of 6 individuals, with a further 2 detained.  It is said that at least 3 of the people responsible for the products knew that a batch labelled in December 2018 was infected with listeria but failed to inform the authorities.  It is believed that the number of poisoning instances linked to the case involving meat products has gone up to 193.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/17-tonnes-of-food-infected-listeria-seized-in-spain

OVER 5 TONNES OF SMUGGLED GLASS EELS SEIZED IN EUROPE THIS YEAR

A news release from Europol on 7th November advised that, during the most recent fishing season (2018-19), European law enforcement was able to seize 5,789 kg of smuggled glass eels with an estimated value of € 2,000 per kg, and, in total 154 suspected smugglers were arrested and all seized eels were reintroduced into their natural habitat, which is crucial for the survival of the species.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/over-5-tonnes-of-smuggled-glass-eels-seized-in-europe-year

UK: ALL-PARTY PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON GAMBLING RELATED HARM CALL FOR REFORM OF ONLINE GAMBLING LAWS

An article from Out-Law on 7th November reported on recommendations from the All-Party Group, with the use of bonuses and affiliates mentioned.  Criticism was also levelled at the Gambling Commission.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/news/mps-call-for-reform-of-online-gambling-laws

2 LONGTIME POLITICAL POWER BROKERS IN NORTH-EASTERN REGION HONDURAS ARRESTED IN A CASE THAT EXPOSES FURTHER TIES BETWEEN THE COUNTRY’S TRAFFICKERS AND POLITICIANS

On 6th November, an article on Insight Crime reported on the arrest of Roberto and Seth Paisano Wood.  The article says that they face money laundering charges and have been jailed while the investigation continues.  Authorities also seized 9 properties, 5 companies and 9 boats in the operation, but it was unclear whether the assets belonged to the brothers.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/brothers-arrest-narco-politics-honduras-drug-corridor/

AML/CFT EVALUATION ASSESSMENT VISIT TO TONGA HAS TAKEN PLACE

On 6th November, FATF-style regional body APG reported that the onsite visit for Tonga’s 2nd mutual evaluation was conducted from 22nd October – 1st November 2019 in Nuku’alofa.  Tonga’s mutual evaluation report will be considered and adopted at the next APG Annual Meeting in July 2020.

http://www.apgml.org/news/details.aspx?pcPage=1&n=2152

UK: PRE-CHARGE BAIL LEGISLATION TO UNDERGO HOME OFFICE REVIEW

On 5th November, Police Professional reported that the Government is to review pre-charge bail legislation following concerns that the current system fails to ensure the safety of victims and prevents police from fully investigating some offences.  Reforms made in 2017 limited the length of pre-charge bail to an initial 28 days, with any extension of bail conditions for up to 3 months needing to be authorised by a senior officer. This was intended to prevent suspects being left for lengthy periods under restrictive bail conditions without being charged.

https://www.policeprofessional.com/news/pre-charge-bail-legislation-to-undergo-home-office-review/

HOW CRUISE MISSILES ARE THREATENING NORMS BETWEEN INDIA AND PAKISTAN

An article from the US-based Nuclear Threat Initiative on 5th November (which accompanies its new database of Indian and Pakistani missile launches) says that India and Pakistan are investing heavily in cruise missiles.  It says that in both India and Pakistan cruise missiles have a growing strategic role, especially in the context of expanding the sea-based leg of their respective nuclear triads.  It also argues that statements from India and Pakistan on their cruise missiles illustrate that each intends for cruise missiles to play a direct role as nuclear weapon delivery systems.  However, it says, cruise missiles can deliver conventional payloads as well, and there are a different set of norms surrounding their use – ballistic missiles rarely fill a role other than nuclear delivery systems.  Hence the risk for miscalculation, misunderstanding and mistake.  A missile strike during the February 2019 crisis could have sparked a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, the article says.

https://www.nti.org/analysis/articles/cruising-bruising-how-cruise-missiles-are-threatening-norms-between-india-and-pakistan/

SAUDIS “RECRUITED TWITTER EMPLOYEES TO SPY ON CRITICS”

An article on USA Today on 6th November reported claims in a court case in the US, where 2 Twitter employees have been charged with acting as unregistered agents for Saudi Arabia after its government recruited them to spy on the kingdom’s critics.  Federal prosecutors allege the Saudis paid the employees tens of thousands of dollars through secret bank accounts to entice them to snoop on the private information of more than 6,000 Twitter users.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/11/06/saudis-spied-critics-through-twitter-employees-prosecutors-say/2513002001/

GUIDE TO IDENTIFY COUNTERFEIT WHISKIES RELEASED

The National in Scotland on 7th November reported that a company is launching a simple guide to help buyers invest safely and know the tell-tale signs of a fake.  Online auctioneers Just Whisky will be holding a series of free valuation sessions and advising customers on what’s fake and what’s not, and is launching a guide.

https://www.thenational.scot/news/18021940.just-whisky-release-guide-catch-counterfeit-whiskies/

POLAND TO BECOME LATEST ADDITION TO US VISA WAIVER PROGRAM

An article from Jackson Lewis PC reported that Poland will become the 39th member of the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) on November 11th.  Polish citizens and nationals will be able to apply to travel to the US for tourism or business purposes for up to 90 days without obtaining a visa stamp, but must register using the ESTA service.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/poland-to-become-latest-addition-to-62034/

For more information on the VWP, see –

https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/us-visas/tourism-visit/visa-waiver-program.html

WHO DID UNAOIL WORK FOR?

A post on the FCPA Blog on 7th November posed this question after the guilty pleas in the US by the 2 Ahsani brothers who were running Monaco-based intermediary Unaoil.  The post lists various companies identified as having connections with Unaoil.

https://fcpablog.com/2019/11/06/who-did-unaoil-work-for/

 

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y

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EXAMINATION OF NCA ANNUAL SAR ANALYSIS REPORT

On 7th November, Eversheds Sutherland published a briefing which looks at the report and considers the key statistics including a huge, but predictable, increase in Defence against money laundering (DAML) SAR and some surprising successes in terms of restrained funds.  There was another record increase in the number of SAR for the year.  The report discloses that the UKFIU made a decision on 69.81% of DAML requests without referral to law enforcement for a recommendation.

A DAML can be requested from the NCA where a reporter has a suspicion that property they intend to deal with is in some way criminal, and that by dealing with it they risk committing one of the principal money laundering offences under POCA 2002. A person does not commit one of those offences if they have received ‘appropriate consent’ (a DAML) from the NCA. These requests for a defence are the primary task of the UKFIU’s DAML Team. The report notes that the UK Government’s Economic Crime Plan flagging a commitment to protect the confidentiality of the SAR regime, in particular shielding SAR material from being disclosed in civil proceedings.  Credit and financial institutions continue to account for more than 95% of the SAR lodged, with accountants and tax advisors submitting 1% of the total SAR for the period, and independent legal professionals providing just 0.58%.

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

For more information on DAML, see –

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/who-we-are/publications/167-defence-against-money-laundering-daml-faq-may-2018

This blog is primarily for my own use, to keep informed and up to date. However, if you would like to say thank you (and perhaps help me get a new, better laptop when I am away…) you can “buy me a coffee” at https://www.buymeacoffee.com/KoIvM842y