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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 9

9th December 2019

THE WTO APPELLATE BODY AND THE CRISIS FACING THE ORGANISATION

On 4th December, Stephenson Harwood LLP published an article saying that the operations of WTO’s Appellate Body, which is an integral part of the WTO’s Dispute settlement mechanism, are to be suspended in December as the term of another two of its members runs out and no replacement of them is in sight.  The article looks at the background to the crisis in the body necessary to resolve trade disputes between WTO members, the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB).  It concludes that the current multilateral trading system is therefore facing some daunting challenges, and that a collapse, or paralysis in the system would translate into a 20-year step backwards for global trade rules, undermining the predictability, relative stability and fairness of multilateral trade relations.

https://www.shlegal.com/insights/saving-the-wto

UK: WITNESS EVIDENCE WORKING GROUP – THE USE OF FACTUAL WITNESS EVIDENCE IN TRIALS BEFORE THE BUSINESS AND PROPERTY COURTS

On 6th December, Herbert Smith Freehills published an article about an article from the working group established in 2018 to examine concerns that witness statements were often ineffective in performing their core function of achieving best evidence at proportionate cost.  The report considered responses to an online survey of court users.  It is said that the report does not propose radical change but makes a number of recommendations for improvement.  Recommendations include developing an authoritative statement of best practice, beefing up the statement of truth, introducing a solicitors’ certificate of compliance, greater use of costs sanctions and judicial criticism where there is non-compliance, and a recommendation aimed at encouraging the use of examination-in-chief on specific issues/topics where appropriate.  It also recommends introduction of a pre-trial statement of facts setting out a party’s factual case.

The report is at –

https://www.judiciary.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/Witness-statement-working-group-Final-Report-.pdf

https://hsfnotes.com/litigation/2019/12/06/witness-evidence-working-group-proposals-for-improvement-but-no-radical-change

DRIVING INTEGRITY INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN – TRUST, BUT VERIFY

On 6th November, the Red Flag Group published an article on how an organisation can establish an effective programme for verifying their supply chain partners, and saying that trust without verification will leave your organisation open to significant regulatory risk and reputation damage when things go bad.  The article says that, given the size of modern supply chains, there is no expectation that all risks will be reduced to zero.  However, by deploying an effective programme, integrated with appropriate tools and techniques to verify the integrity of supply chain partners, you can be confident that all reasonable measures were taken to make an informed decision about doing business with a third party.

https://insights.redflaggroup.com/articles/trust-but-verify

THE SIPRI TOP 100 ARMS-PRODUCING AND MILITARY SERVICES COMPANIES 2018

On 9th December, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published an annual report said that sales of arms and military services by the sector’s largest 100 companies (excluding those in China) totalled $420 billion in 2018, marking an increase of 4.6% compared with the previous year.  The database used excludes Chinese companies due to the lack of data to make a reliable estimate.  For the first time since 2002, the top 5 spots in the ranking are held exclusively by arms companies based in the US: Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon and General Dynamics.  80 of the 100 top arms producers in 2018 were based in the USA, Europe and Russia and, of the remaining 20, 6 were based in Japan, 3 in Israel, India and South Korea, respectively, 2 in Turkey and 1 each in Australia, Canada and Singapore.  The combined arms sales of the 10 Russian companies in the 2018 ranking were $36.2 billion—a marginal decrease of 0.4% on 2017.  The combined arms sales of the 27 European companies in the Top 100 increased marginally in 2018, to $102 billion.  Arms sales by companies based in the UK fell by 4.8%, to $35.1 billion, but remained the highest in Europe – with BAE Systems the 6th largest arms producer in the world.

https://www.sipri.org/publications/2019/sipri-fact-sheets/sipri-top-100-arms-producing-and-military-services-companies-2018

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https://www.statista.com/chart/12221/the-worlds-biggest-arms-companies/

SETBACK IN AUSTRALIAN WINE COPYRIGHT CASE IN CHINA

The Australian on 9th December reported that a Chinese court has delivered a major blow in the long battle to protect the valuable Penfolds wine brand from fakes and counterfeiters, overturning a decision by another court that had invalidated the trademark of a Penfolds’ copycat label.

https://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/setback-for-penfolds-in-china-wine-copyright-dispute/news-story/70dd855f5e0fd4add87ff720dbc44dc4

US CHARGES OVER SCHEME TO EXPORT TURBINE TO SANCTIONED RUSSIAN COMPANY

On 5th December, a post on the Kharon Brief was concerned with a scheme to evade sanctions by exporting a US-made power turbine, designed and manufactured for integration with gas generators to enable direct drive of high-power gas compressors, to a Russian state-controlled company.  It reports that a Russian media outlet has named the company as Gazprom Neft, which is subject to US export licensing requirements, technology transfer prohibitions and debt financing restrictions in the US and EU. The Gazprom subsidiary is said to have sought the turbine for its Prirazlomnaya platform, the first Russian Arctic offshore oil project.

https://brief.kharon.com/updates/us-files-charges-over-scheme-to-export-turbine-to-sanctioned-russian-company/

INDIA: SEIZURE OF 4,500 TURTLES

On 8th December, the Times of India reported that 3 passengers arriving from Bangkok were arrested with 4,500 red-eared slider turtles in their baggage.  It is also reported that 9,000 of the species have been discovered in the last 3 months.  The species are also described as a potentially risky invasive species that can harm the natural environment if released.

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/trichy/seizure-of-4500-turtles-hints-at-larger-conspiracy/articleshow/72430656.cms

EX-ST. KITTS PM UNDER INVESTIGATION AFTER TRYING TO LEAVE UK WITH $92,000 IN CASH

KYC 360 reported on 9th December that former long-serving Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas is under investigation by NCA following reports after he recently tried to leave the UK with £70,000 in cash at Gatwick Airpprt in November.  Though it is said that he was allowed to travel to Dubai, his money was detained while the investigation proceeds.  Dr. Douglas was Prime Minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis for 20 years.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/ex-st-kitts-pm-under-investigation-after-trying-to-leave-uk-with-92000-in-cash/

BUSINESSES’ ATTITUDES TOWARDS CORRUPTION IN THE EU

On 9th December, the EU published this report says that on International Anti-Corruption Day: new survey shows corruption seen as less widespread in the EU than in 2013.  This is despite a significant number (63%) of businesses of the opinion that corruption is widespread.  This is down from 75% in 2013. Companies are sceptical about how corruption is tackled, with 51% of them believing that corrupt people or businesses are unlikely to be caught by or reported to the police or prosecutors.

https://ec.europa.eu/commfrontoffice/publicopinion/index.cfm/survey/getsurveydetail/instruments/flash/surveyky/2248

EU OPENS IN-DEPTH INVESTIGATION TO ASSESS WHETHER THE SPECIAL TAX TREATMENT OF PUBLIC CASINOS OPERATORS IN GERMANY IS IN LINE WITH EU STATE AID RULES

On 9th December the EU also announced that, in a separate decision, the Commission has also opened an in-depth investigation into specific measures adopted in North Rhine-Westphalia with regard to the public casinos operator active in that region.  It explains that, in Germany, public casinos operators (Spielbankunternehmen) are subject to a specific tax regime that replaces a series of otherwise applicable general taxes, in particular corporate, income and trade taxes.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/MEX_19_6707

US GOVERNMENT AGENCIES OUTLINE EXPECTED REGULATORY ACTIONS FOR THE NEXT YEAR

On 9th December, HKTDC published an article listing some of the activity planned for next year, which includes, from the Commerce Department –

  • tighter controls on exports of specific products and to particular destinations (including mainland China), as well as an updated steel import monitoring system;
  • potential export controls on quantum computers;
  • reviewing certain foundational technologies pursuant to applicable sections of the Export Control Reform Act (ECRA);
  • removal of the availability of licence exceptions strategic trade authorisation (STA) and technology and software restricted (TSR) for certain items;
  • clarifying the availability of licence exception STA for exports, re-exports and transfers (in-country) of certain items under the EAR;
  • expanding licence requirements on exports, re-exports and transfers (in-country) of items intended for military end-use or military end-users in mainland China, Russia or Venezuela;
  • proposed rule on export controls for additive manufacturing equipment for energetic materials;
  • adding to the Commerce Control List (CCL) an export control on computer forensic systems, equipment, components and related development, production and use software;
  • review of certain technology transfers that would not otherwise require licences according to the CCL; and
  • amending certain 600 series export control classification numbers (ECCN) to clarify the controls on items related to military vehicles, vessels of war, submersible vessels, oceanographic equipment, and auxiliary and miscellaneous military equipment.

From US Customs and Border Protection –

  • consultation on a continuing education requirement for licensed customs brokers;
  • amending the regulations pertaining to the importation of goods that violate or are suspected of violating the copyright laws in accordance with the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act and certain provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act;
  • modernising the customs broker regulations;
  • to update, modernise and streamline the process for enforcing the prohibition against the importation of goods mined, produced or manufactured in any foreign country by convict or forced labour or indentured labour under penal sanctions; and
  • a proposed rule to debar from entering US ports any vessel owned or chartered by an entity found to be in violation of certain laws and regulations relating to the performance of longshore work by non-immigrant crew members.

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Economists-Pick-Regulatory-Alert-US/U-S-Government-Agencies-Outline-Expected-Regulatory-Actions-for-the-Next-Year/baus/en/1/1X300W0C/1X0AJEU0.htm

TRANSPARENCY SRI LANKA SURVEY FINDS PAYING BRIBES ACCEPTABLE TO A QUARTER OF SRI LANKANS

Colombo Page on 9th December reported that Transparency International Sri Lanka (TISL) has launched the 2019 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) report for Sri Lanka, which among others has found that 25% of the Sri Lankan public accepts the practice of bribing officials to obtain or expedite public services.

http://www.colombopage.com/archive_19B/Dec09_1575900757CH.php

UK: 2 MORE JAILED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING FROM CHATHAM MINI-MARKET

On 9th December, a news release from the Kent Police advised that 2 more people have been jailed for their role in a money laundering operation that received cash from the victims of online scams worldwide.  A total of more than £510,000 was sent and received via the Latom “O” Store mini-market during 2014.  The shop had been registered as a money service business (MSB) for the purpose of exchanging currency, cashing cheques and sending funds abroad, but it is reported that it was instead being used to help trick people into giving up their savings.

https://www.kent.police.uk/news/kent/news2/policing-news/1912/two-more-jailed-for-money-laundering-from-chatham-mini-market

https://www.kentonline.co.uk/medway/news/money-laundering-scam-run-from-corner-shop-218057/

CROATIAN POLICE ARREST AND DISMANTLE ORGANISED CRIME GROUP IN LARGE INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION

On 9th December, a news release from Europol announced a complex international criminal investigation of an organised crime group for acting in a criminal enterprise, tax evasion, money laundering, forgery of documents and fraud.  The group is said to have been involved luxury vehicle trading with several missing trader companies in different EU countries, giving the impression of carrying out legitimate business.  At the same time, they were forging documents and invoices to evade taxes and excise and provided money laundering services to other criminals.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/croatian-police-arrest-and-dismantle-organised-crime-group-in-large-international-investigation

GUYANA’S MINING REGION IS OPEN DOOR TO VENEZUELAN ORGANISED CRIME

On 9th December, Insight Crime said that a recent report explores criminal dynamics in the Guyanese mining region bordering Venezuela, revealing how the chaos and violence of Venezuela’s mining arc is spilling over into the neighbouring country.  It says that, with an army of only 3,500 men, Guyana lives in fear of an armed incursion and Guyanese security officials interviewed for the report express concern that foreign military intervention in Venezuela could cause criminal armed groups to move their operations across the border.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/guyana-mining-venezuelan-organized-crime/

The-Digital-Wave_Web-1

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/the-digital-wave

US CUSTOMS EXPANDS E-COMMERCE DATA PILOT TO OCEAN FREIGHT AND INTERNATIONAL MAIL

American Shipper on 9th December reported that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will add ocean and international mail shipments to an electronic pilot program that collects advance data on e-commerce shipments with import values of less than the $800 de minimis.  Begun in August, it is intended to better understand how to effectively target high-risk e-commerce shipments.  Initially, the pilot excluded ocean and international mail shipments, focusing instead on those consignments moved by air, truck and rail.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/cbp-expands-e-commerce-data-pilot-to-ocean-international-mail

OFFICIALS IN SINGAPORE LOOK SET TO CONFISCATE RUSSIAN FREIGHTER BLACKLISTED BY THE US FOR HER OWNER’S ALLEGED DEALINGS WITH NORTH KOREA

On 9th December, Insurance Marine News reported that Singapore had sent papers that the ship is arrested due to berthing debts.  Russia has said that the action was a commercial dispute rather than a sanctions-enforcement action.  The ship’s auxiliary diesel engines broke down after she arrived in Singapore in February, but US sanctions meant that most of the Singaporean companies contacted refused to have anything to do with the vessel.  The US Treasury has said that tanker owned by the shipowner conducted 2 ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products with North Korean ships in early 2018.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/vessel-sevastopol-could-be-seized-by-singapore/

OFAC PUBLISHES 2 NEW VENEZUELA SANCTIONS FAQ

On 9th December, OFAC announced the release of 2 FAQ, numbers 808 and 809.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20191209_44.aspx

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/faq_other.aspx#808

OFAC ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH ALLIANZ GLOBAL RISKS OVER APPARENT VIOLATIONS OF CUBAN SANCTIONS REGULATIONS

On 9th December, OFAC announced that the wholly-owned subsidiary of Allianz SE, a German financial services provider, which operates a Canadian branch office in Toronto.  The US company has agreed to remit $170,535 to settle its potential civil liability for 6,474 apparent violations of the Cuban Assets Control Regulations.  The violations relate to fronted travel insurance policies that included occasional coverage relating to Canadian residents’ travel to Cuba.  “Fronting” insurance business, OFAC explains, involves an arrangement between 2 or more insurance companies to allow a company to issue a policy in a jurisdiction where it is not licensed, and it is said that the practice continued for several years without either the US company or Canadian branch addressing requirements to be in compliance with OFAC regulations.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20191209_agr.pdf

OFAC ANNOUNCES SETTLEMENT WITH THE CHUBB LIMITED INSURANCE COMPANY (AS SUCCESSOR LEGAL ENTITY OF THE FORMER ACE LIMITED) FOR APPARENT VIOLATIONS OF CUBAN SANCTIONS REGULATIONS

On 9th December, OFAC announced a settlement with Chubb Limited (successor to ACE Limited, a Swiss company that provided insurance and reinsurance services for commercial and individual customers worldwide).  Prior to the merger involving Chubb Inc and ACE, the latter had a UK-based subsidiary called ACE Europe and which conducted operations involving business in Europe.  Chubb has agreed to remit $66,212 to settle its potential civil liability for 20,291 apparent violations of the Cuban sanctions regulations.  The apparent violations related to travel insurance for travel to Cuba, and appear to have been caused by ACE’s misunderstanding of the applicability of US sanctions on Cuba with respect to this activity.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20191209_ace.pdf

UPDATE ON PROGRAMME FOR 100% SCANNING OF AIR CARGO ENTERING THE US

On 4th December, Homeland Security Today carried an article providing an update on the programme launched in 2007, when the US Congress enacted legislation that would require the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to screen 100% of cargo transported on any passenger flights. The mandate was fully implemented in 2010, and the article looks at progress in keeping skies safe almost 10 years later.  It says that, in the US, about 1,000 entities are validated and certified in the TSA Certified Cargo Screening Program and are allowed to screen cargo away from the airport, in their facilities, independent locations, or even agricultural fields following strict guidelines imposed and frequently audited by TSA. The barrier to entry is challenging, with the most stringent standards imposed on those enrolled in the programme.  It also says that, in June 2018, TSA recognised the national country security programmes (NCSP) of the EU and 12 other countries as equivalent to that of the US.  Also in 2018, the Air Cargo Advanced Screening (ACAS) programme began, requiring the submission of advanced air cargo information on shipments arriving in the US from a foreign location – initially voluntary, it is now mandatory for all airlines flying into the US.  A recently-passed Act provides for third parties to provide canine detector services as well.

https://www.hstoday.us/industry/safe-skies-how-air-cargo-security-evolves-to-protect-passengers-and-boost-the-economy/

BELGIAN LAWYER GUILTY SWISS MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

On 9th December, Reuters reported that a Swiss court has convicted an unnamed  Belgian lawyer of money laundering and forgery for taking shares worth more than $60 million from Belgium’s richest family and stashing them in accounts and offshore companies.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-swiss-belgium-crime/belgian-lawyer-guilty-in-catch-me-if-you-can-swiss-money-laundering-case-idUKKBN1YD2C0

PAKISTANI CRICKETER ADMITS BRIBING PLAYERS TO FIX MATCHES

On 9th December, a news release from the NCA in the UK announced that ex-professional Pakistani cricketer, Nasir Jamshaid, has admitted bribing cricketers to fix elements of international matches.  At Manchester Crown Court, Jamshaid, 32, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit bribery.  British nationals Yousaf Anwar, 35, , and Mohammad Ijaz, 33, had also admitted their roles in the conspiracy on 2nd December.  It is said that the group were plotting to fix elements of the 2016 Bangladesh Premier League T20 tournament which Jamshaid was due to play in.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/pakistani-cricketer-admits-bribing-players-to-fix-matches

OUTCOME OF FATF-STYLE REGIONAL BODY GAFILAT MEETING

On 9th December, GAFILAT, the FATF-style regional body for Central and South America reported on a plenary meeting held in Peru on 5th and 6th December.  At the meeting, a mutual assessment report on Uruguay was adopted, and requalification reports of Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru were approved.  In addition, the FIU of Cuba, Panama and Uruguay signed the update of the MoU for the Cooperation and Exchange of Information between the FIU of GAFILAT countries.

http://www.gafilat.org/index.php/es/espanol/19-noticias/94-principales-resultados-de-la-xl-reunion-del-pleno-de-representantes-del-gafilat

 

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OFAC ISSUES GENERAL LICENSE FOR CERTAIN TRANSACTIONS COVERED THE GLOBAL MAGNITSKY SANCTIONS AS IT ADDS 17 INDIVIDUALS AND 29 ENTITIES TO LISTS

On 9th December, OFAC issued General Licence No.1 authorising certain activities necessary to the wind down of transactions involving Ventspils Freeport Authority, Ventspils Attistibas Agentura, Biznesa Attistibas Asociacija, and Latvijas Tranzita Biznesa Asociacija.

This followed the addition of a number of individuals and entities, including those covered by the General License.  The same news release also announced an amendment to the entry relating to a Serbian company, TECHNOGLOBAL SYSTEMS.

The listed individuals and entities are said to be targeted as corrupt actors and their networks across numerous countries in Europe, Asia, and Latin America, as well as 2 allegedly corrupt Venezuelan officials, in light of their senior leadership roles in the Maduro regime.  A number of the individuals and entities are Latvian, including Latvian oligarch Aivars Lembergs, the news release saying that corruption has undermined the Latvian economy for years. Other networks designated are said to be controlled by Cambodians, Try Pheap and Kun Kim, and another linked to Serbian arms dealer Slobadan Tesic.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/Programs/Documents/glomag_gl1.pdf

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm849

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20191209.aspx

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-latvia-sanctions-usa/u-s-sanctions-latvian-oligarch-charged-with-corruption-idUSKBN1YD2DL

https://apnews.com/e7d65d8dfdae775d9f5ddea31d6a0e73

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SECRET DOCUMENTS REVEAL FINANCIAL NETWORK SUPPORTING SUDAN’S MOST POWERFUL MILITIA

On 9th December, Global Witness reported that a new report is said to reveal how the most powerful military leader in Sudan has captured a large swathe of the country’s gold market, and controls a network of front companies; and how the RSF militia bought a fleet of almost 1,000 Toyota pick-up trucks – easily converted into highly mobile ‘technicals’ with mounted machine guns – were used to suppress popular uprisings around the country for over a decade.  It contains allegations about Sudan’s most powerful military leader – Mohammed ‘Hemedti’ Hamdan Daglo – and the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) militia he controls, uses front companies and banks based both in Sudan and the UAE.

https://www.globalwitness.org/en-gb/campaigns/conflict-minerals/exposing-rsfs-secret-financial-network/

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WHITE-COLLAR CRIME PROSECUTIONS REACH 5-YEAR LOW – DESPITE RISE IN FRAUD REPORTS

The Law Society Gazette on 9th December reported that according to a study by Thomson Reuters, the number of white-collar crime prosecutions fell by 14% last year to 6,669; down from almost 9,500 prosecutions in 2015, and 7,786 in 2017.  It is said that fraud is becoming more sophisticated and increasingly involves cross-border transactions, meaning information has to be gathered from foreign authorities, making cases harder to investigate.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/white-collar-crime-prosecutions-reach-five-year-low-despite-rise-in-fraud-reports/5102436.article

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NCA: SARS EXTENDED MORATORIUM PERIOD USED SPARINGLY

On 6th December, Allen & Overy LLP published an article about the 2019 NCA Suspicious Activity Reports Annual Report.  It comments on the revelation that, while over 50% more requests for a Defence Against Money Laundering (DAML) were made, and thus the number of DAML SAR that are granted remains high, the use of a new power to extend the moratorium period to up to 6 months, introduced in 2017, has not been used often.  It explains that a DAML SAR allows entities or individuals to seek from the NCA permission to process funds that they know or suspect could be the proceeds of crime.  34,543 DAML SARs were filed and 1,332 were initially refused, with 17 were subsequently granted following further review during the moratorium period. This equates to a refusal rate of approximately 4%.  Interestingly, the article points out that the number of the similar Defence Against Terrorism Financing (DATF) SAR filed remained low: there were 392 filed, but with a greater percentage (around 10% of the total) refused, a higher refusal rate than for DAML SAR.  The article also comments on the fact that the moratorium period for DAML SAR was extended only in a small proportion of cases.  The article also comments on the effect of the existence of the risk of committing a “tipping off” offence having submitted a DAML SAR, and the NCA makes it clear in its report that its expectations are no different even where a reporter faces a civil claim from a customer.

https://www.aoinvestigationsinsight.com/sars-extended-moratorium-period-used-sparingly-reveals-nca-report/#page=1

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THINGS THAT YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 8

8th December 2019

PHILIPPINES: HOW DUTERTE EMBRACED THE OLIGARCHS

On 4th December, an article in the Nikkei Asian Review said that during his populist campaign for president in 2015 and 2016, Duterte took aim at the corruption and excesses of wealth-hoarding ruling families.  Despite initial actions, the article says, that Duterte has simply opened the door to a new wave of businesspeople and loyalists, who have been given access to political power and lucrative government contracts.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Cover-Story/Crony-capital-How-Duterte-embraced-the-oligarchs

VATICAN INVESTMENTS LINKED TO GLOBAL MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATIONS

On 8th December, Eurasia Review carried an article saying that a fund in which the Vatican’s Secretariat of State has invested tens of millions of euros has links to 2 Swiss banks investigated or implicated in bribery and money laundering scandals involving more than a billion dollars.  The Holy See Press Office said that “investigations are in progress” regarding the Centurion Fund and other investments made by the Secretariat of State.

https://www.eurasiareview.com/08122019-vatican-investments-linked-to-global-money-laundering-investigations/

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE AVIATION FUEL (SAF)?

The Blue Sky website carried an article by Air BP’s Commercial Development Manager, Low Carbon.  It explains that SAF stands for “sustainable aviation fuel”, and it is produced from sustainable, renewable feedstocks and is very similar in its chemistry to fossil jet fuel.  Using SAF results in a reduction of CO2 emissions compared to fossil jet fuel over the lifecycle of the fuel.  It goes on to explain that typical feedstocks used are cooking oil and other non-palm waste oils from animals or plants; solid waste from homes and businesses, such as packaging, paper, textiles, and food scraps that would otherwise go to landfill or incineration.  Other potential sources include forestry waste, such as waste wood, and energy crops, including fast growing plants and algae.  Air BP’s BP Biojet and is currently made from used cooking oil and other waste.  He says that SAF can be blended at up to 50% with fossil jet fuel and all quality tests are completed as per a regular jet fuel. Once blended, SAF has the same characteristics as fossil jet fuel and the blend is then re-certified as Jet A or Jet A-1 (as is normal avtur or aviation kerosene, used in jet and turboprop engines) and can be handled in exactly the same way as a regular jet fuel.

https://blueskynews.aero/contributors/What-is-Sustainable-Aviation-Fuel-Tom-Parsons-AirBP.html

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 7

7th December 2019

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT THE DISTINCTIVE ROOTS OF THE SUCCESSFUL US CORPORATE ENFORCEMENT SYSTEM

On the Compliance & Enforcement Blog from the New York University School of Law a post contained what those seeking to rival the US at corporate criminal enforcement should know about the US system’s distinctive roots.  It says that there are 2 sources – the first is an extremely broad and easy-to-apply corporate liability rule; and the second is the power granted to prosecutors to negotiate and settle cases.  It refers to a new paper which is said to demonstrate how heavily the US system of corporate criminal enforcement depends on laws governing corporate investigations.  It also says that US prosecutors have benefited greatly from their ability to shift the locus of investigation from the public to the private sector because, in contrast to many other countries.  The paper is said to contrast the US system and how it works with planned changes in the EU.  It also reveals limitations of the US approach when used to induce corporate investigations overseas, and encourages reflection on the appropriate scope of rights to be granted to individuals subject to public and private investigations, respectively.

https://wp.nyu.edu/compliance_enforcement/2019/12/05/for-those-seeking-to-rival-the-united-states-at-corporate-criminal-enforcement-what-you-should-know-about-the-u-s-systems-distinctive-roots/

The paper itself is at –

https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3478298

THE SELF-APPOINTED SPIES WHO USE GOOGLE EARTH TO SNIFF OUT NUKES

The Atlantic on 6th December carried an article looking at the “motley crew” of outside watchdogs has found creative ways to deter proliferation.  These are identified as journalists, hobbyists, professors, students, political-opposition groups, advocacy groups, non-profit organisations, for-profit companies, think tanks, and former senior government officials with informal links to international weapons inspectors, US policymakers, and intelligence leaders.  It points out that since the early 2000s, commercial satellites have become common and that the annual number of satellite launches has quadrupled in the past 5 years; and that some analysts estimate that more than 8,000 small satellites will be launched in the next decade.

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/12/new-nuclear-sleuths/602878/

SRI LANKA: IMPORT AND RE-EXPORT OF SOME SPICES BANNED, AND CONTROLS ON GARBAGE

On 7th December, the Daily Mirror and others in Sri Lanka reported that a gazette notice announced a ban on the import and re-export of pepper, arecanut, tamarind, cinnamon, ginger, clove and several other crops.  It also announced a ban on the re-exporting of garbage, the processing of garbage or recourse recycling for re-export.  It is said that the measures were adopted to protect and promote minor crop cultivators and small and medium scale industrialists.

http://www.dailymirror.lk/print/front_page/Import-and-re-export-of-some-spices-banned/238-179189

PIPE DREAM: THE AFRICAN CANNABIS EMPIRE THAT NEVER WAS

NBC News on 5th December carried a feature on the Trade Park affair, in which a British company claimed that it had enlisted US tobacco and drug companies to build a 154-square-mile cannabis farm in West African rainforest and bring thousands of job to impoverished locals.  However, it is said that many of the major backers touted by Trade Park, including Bayer and the makers of Marlboro cigarettes, said they’d never heard of the project, and the residents in Cameroon, are left to deal, empty-handed, with the fallout from a failed dream.  The affair involves companies formed at Formation House, itself the centre of a case highlighting the risks of CSP and shell companies formation in the UK.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/pipe-dream-african-cannabis-empire-never-was-n1096551

BRAZIL POLICE TARGET VENEZUELAN GOLD SMUGGLING RING

The Star in Canada on 6th December reported that Brazil’s federal police have targeted an operation that allegedly smuggled Venezuelan gold worth some $74 million between 2017 and 2019, with 22 arrests in 5 states, related to a scheme that funnelled gold from illegal mines in Venezuela to a company in the state of Sao Paulo.  The organisation was comprised of Venezuelans and Brazilians living in a northern state who purchased the illegal gold and, with the help of corrupt public agents, obtained falsified documents to hide its origin.

https://www.thestar.com/news/world/americas/2019/12/06/brazil-police-target-venezuelan-gold-smuggling-ring.html

SOUTH KOREA BANNING ANONYMOUS VIRTUAL BANK ACCOUNTS IN CRYPTOCURRENCY TRADING

On 5th December, Blockchain Reporter said that the South Korean recently approved legal amendments supporting a real-name trading system as part of AML compliance, aimed at ensuring that virtual assets-handling companies in South Korea are in compliance with the recommendations FATF.

https://blockchainreporter.net/2019/12/05/south-korea-anonymous-virtual-bank-accounts-cryptocurrency-trading/

CHILE’S STATUS AS MARIJUANA DESTINATION OF CHOICE FOR COLOMBIAN SMUGGLERS

Insight Crime on 6th December reported that a seizure of the largest drug bust in the country’s history of a marijuana shipment of over 4 tons in Chile in November has confirmed that the Chilean market makes it a destination of choice for Colombia’s marijuana smugglers.  The seizure was made from a boat off the southern region of O’Higgins.  It says that seizures of marijuana have been steadily increasing.  Chile’s higher than average consumption of marijuana may be attributable to its successful economy and growing middle class, as the second-wealthiest country in Latin America.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/chiles-status-as-marijuana-destination-of-choice-confirmed-by-record-bust/

GUERNSEY: PWC DISMISSES CLAIMS OF NEGLIGENCE IN NOT DETECTING PONZI SCHEME WITH PROVIDENCE

On 6th December, Guernsey Press reported that PwC want to have dismissed the allegations of negligence, breach of duty and breach of contract that had been put forward by the administrators of Providence Investment Funds, which was put into administration in 2016, owing investors more than £37 million.

https://guernseypress.com/news/2019/12/06/pwc-dismisses-claims-of-negligence-in-not-detecting-ponzi-scheme-with-providence/

68 ARRESTS IN SPAIN FOR FRAUD INVOLVING OLD CARS AND THEIR AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEMS

A news release from Europol on 7th December advised that the Guardia Civil, supported by Europol, carried out an operation targeting companies involved in considerable CO2 gas emissions.  30 companies involved were investigated and 68 individuals arrested.  The companies were involved in monitoring the activities of authorised centres managing end-of-life vehicles in Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque Country.  The investigators looked into the way criminals were disposing of the toxic substance contained in the air conditioning systems.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/68-arrested-in-spain-for-pumping-out-76-million-kilos-of-co2

SWEDISH FAMILY SMUGGLED PALLETS OF BEER FROM GERMANY TO SCANDINAVIA DAILY

On 25th November, IOGT International reported that a Swedish family has been uncovered in their operation to smuggle several hundred boxes almost every day – smuggling about 6 pallets of beer containing about 79 cartons each, every day, from Germany to Denmark, Sweden and Norway.  Alcohol taxation is lower in Germany, making alcohol far cheaper than in most Scandinavian countries and border shops across Northern Germany are selling cheap beer for export to Scandinavia.

https://iogt.org/news/2019/11/25/germany-sweden-cross-border-alcohol-smuggling/

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NEW GUIDE: INSOLVENCY TOOLS TO SUPPORT CROSS-BORDER ASSET RECOVERY IN CORRUPTION CASES

On 3rd December, the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (a World Bank and UNODC joint effort) published a step-by-step guide for asset recovery practitioners on the use of insolvency proceedings in recovering corruption proceeds.  The report outlines the procedures associated with insolvency actions, explores challenges associated with this approach, and provides practical methods for various strategic and technical concerns.  The book makes particular use of case studies to demonstrate the benefits of cross border insolvency proceedings in international corruption cases and further elaborate the challenges that practitioners face in this pursuit.  It is intended to inform policymakers, public officials, and those who have been entrusted with recovering their nations’ stolen assets how insolvency can be used to pursue proceeds of corruption. It may also serve as a quick reference for other practitioners — insolvency professionals, auditors, financial institutions, in-house counsel, and others who deal with corruption.

https://star.worldbank.org/sites/star/files/going-for-broke.pdf

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SWEDISH TELECOM ERICSSON AGREES TO PAY $1 BILLION OVER US BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS

The Japan Times and others on 7th December reported that Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson has agreed to pay more than $1 billion to resolve allegations of bribery spanning Asia and the Middle East.  An Egyptian subsidiary also pleaded guilty in New York to a charge of conspiring to violate the FCPA.  It is said that Ericsson’s corrupt conduct involved high-level executives and spanned 17 years and at least 5 countries, all in a misguided effort to increase profits, and the alleged corruption occurred in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait.

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2019/12/07/business/swedish-telecom-ericsson-agrees-pay-1-billion-u-s-bribery-allegations/?src=ilaw#.XeteLHd2umQ

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/sec-charges-multinational-telecommunications-company-with-fcpa-violations/

https://mondovisione.com/media-and-resources/news/us-department-of-justice-ericsson-agrees-to-pay-over-1-billion-to-resolve-fcpa/

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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OUTCOME OF MONEYVAL’S PLENARY MEETING

The FATF-style regional body, and organ of the Council of Europe, held its 59th Plenary in Strasbourg on 2nd to 6th December.  On 6th December, the Council reported on the outcomes.  MONEYVAL completed the mutual evaluations of Gibraltar and Cyprus, endorsed the report of the mutual evaluation of the Russian Federation (jointly conducted by FATF, EAG and MONEYVAL), and also adopted follow-up reports on Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Latvia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia and Isle of Man.

https://www.coe.int/en/web/human-rights-rule-of-law/-/outcome-of-moneyval-s-59th-plenary-meeting

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ONLY 3 MARITIME SECURITY PROVIDERS APPROVED FOR GERMAN FLAGGED VESSELS

On 5th December, Open PR carried a report that the list of maritime security providers from the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (BAFA) has been updated.  However, it points out that there are only 3 maritime security providers (2 German, 1 British) approved to carry out armed maritime security services on commercial vessel and yachts carrying the German flag.  The article (by one of the companies still on the list), says that the list began in 2013 with 13 providers, reducing to 9 in recent years.

https://www.openpr.com/news/1876308/now-just-only-3-maritime-security-provider-world-wide-approved

The BAFA list and further information can be accessed at –

https://www.bafa.de/EN/Foreign_Trade/Maritime_Security/maritime_security.html

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 6

6th December 2019

US: MAN SENTENCED TO 18 MONTHS FOR CONSPIRING TO ‘STRAW PURCHASE’ HANDGUNS FOR ILLEGAL EXPORT TO EGYPT

A news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement on 3rd December announced that a man from Chicago had been sentenced to 1½ years in federal prison for conspiring to straw purchase handguns on behalf of a woman who allegedly tried to smuggle the firearms into Egypt.  He purchased 4 handguns in November 2013 from a licensed firearms dealer and then immediately transferred the guns to the co-defendant so that she could smuggle them to Egypt.  The guns were discovered in her checked luggage at Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/chicago-area-man-sentenced-18-months-conspiring-straw-purchase-handguns-illegal-export

CREDIT SUISSE ACTS TO BLOCK PROSECUTORS USING CRITICAL REPORT BY THE COUNTRY’S FINANCIAL REGULATOR INTO THE BANK’S FAILURE TO PREVENT FRAUD AT ITS WEALTH MANAGEMENT UNIT

On 6th December, KYC 360 reported that Credit Suisse, which is a party to a case involving former wealth manager Patrice Lescaudron, is relying on a clause in the Swiss legal system designed to prevent self-incrimination during a criminal investigation.  While he was convicted in early 2018 and released in November of that year, numerous victims have appealed parts of the verdict, meaning the criminal case remains open.  That full report wasn’t publicly released, but the regulator issued a press release last year that summarised the findings.  The bank is said to have rewarded Lescaudron with high payments and positive employee assessments.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/credit-suisse-blocks-prosecutor-using-critical-finma-report/

MALTA: €131 MILLION WORTH OF SUSPICIOUS TRANSACTIONS AT SATABANK

KYC 360 on 6th December reported that over 300 reports of suspicious transactions at Satabank worth in excess of €130 million have been flagged by EY since it was entrusted to administer the bank’s assets by the financial regulator and the suspension of the bank’s licence by the Malta Financial Services Authority. Satabank received a €3 million fine by the MFSA.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/e131m-worth-of-suspicious-transactions-at-satabank/

HYPERSONIC WEAPONS: TACTICAL USES AND STRATEGIC GOALS

On 6th December, ETH Zurich published a paper which helps to explain the currently much-hyped weaponry type.

https://isnblog.ethz.ch/technology/hypersonic-weapons-tactical-uses-and-strategic-goals

THE AFRICAN CONTINENTAL FREE TRADE AREA: PROSPECTS AND CHALLENGES

In the latest edition of its Conflict Trends publication, ETH Zurich looks at the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), pointing out that this free trade area is outlined in the African Continental Free Trade Agreement among 54 of the 55 African Union member states.  AfCFTA is the largest in the world in terms of participating countries since the formation of the WTO, as it translates to a market potential for goods and services of 1.2 billion people, and an aggregate GDP of about $2.5 trillion.  It was signed by 44 member states in Rwanda on 21st March 2018.  The agreement then went into force on 30th May 2019 and entered its operational phase following the AU Summit on 7th July.  The article examines the key provisions of the AfCFTA with the aim of identifying its prospects, and the challenges that may impede the exploitation of its full potential.

https://css.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/resources/docs/ACCORD-CT-2019-3.pdf

COMPATIBILITY OF NATIONAL ASSET FREEZES IMPOSED BY MEMBER STATES WITH EU LAW

On 8th November, the European Commission published an Opinion following a request from a national authority in one Member State.  It remarks that in 2 2008 cases the CJEU stated that, given the link of economic and financial measures to the operation of the internal market, such asset freezes cannot be imposed unilaterally by a Member State, and that Article 215 TFEU is the only appropriate legal basis to ensure the implementation of sanctions regimes adopted under the CFSP (the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy).

https://ec.europa.eu/fpi/sites/fpi/files/20191108-2_en_act_part1_v3.pdf

BITCOIN MONEY LAUNDERING “IS A CLASSICALLY DUMB CRIME”

On 5th December, an article in Quartz saying that laundering money through bitcoin is a bad idea — not only because it’s illegal, but also because it leaves a permanent trail.

https://qz.com/1761343/bitcoin-money-laundering-is-a-classically-stupid-crime/

CLAIM THAT ASSOCIATES CONNECTED TO ZAMBIAN PRESIDENT REPORTEDLY INVOLVED IN THE PLUNDER OF VALUABLE MUKULA ROSEWOOD TREES AND DESTRUCTION OF ZAMBIA’S VULNERABLE FORESTS

On 5th December, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said that its new report exposes how associates connected to President Edgar Lungu (including his daughter Tasila Lungu) are reportedly involved in the plunder of valuable, increasingly scarce, mukula rosewood trees; and hence the destruction of Zambia’s vulnerable forests.  The investigation is said to show that, despite public pledges to end the illegal mukula trade, several politicians are repeatedly named as key actors in an influential timber trafficking network that bypasses existing national bans on mukula harvest and export.  Mukula trees are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  The EIA claims that the state-owned company Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited (ZAFFICO) is secretly used by well-connected Zambian and Chinese business operatives as a cover to export thousands of freshly cut mukula logs, and that this illegal trade flourishes in spite of bans on the harvest, transport, and export of mukula.

https://eia-global.org/press-releases/20191205-mukula-cartel-zambia-report-pr

A TRANSPORT COMPANY BASED IN THE NETHERLANDS WAS INVOLVED IN SMUGGLING LARGE QUANTITIES OF DRUGS TO SEVERAL EUROPEAN COUNTRIES

On 6th December, a news release from Eurojust announced that Germany, Denmark, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, the UK and Norway, with the active support of Eurojust, have taken down an organised crime group involved in drug trafficking.  The investigation showed that a transport company based in the Netherlands was involved in smuggling large quantities of drugs to several European countries.  Police suspect that the drugs were transported by truck, along with legal cargo, from Spain into the Netherlands, and redistributed to other countries.

http://www.eurojust.europa.eu/press/PressReleases/Pages/2019/2019-12-06.aspx

UK FIREARMS LICENSING INCLUDING NEW REGULATIONS ON DEACTIVATED FIREARMS

On 6th December, the Home Office issued updated licensing guidance, good practice on firearms law, and forms for applying for approvals under the law.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/firearms-licensing-police-guidance

See also Home Office Circular 010/2019 re new measures on firearms and deactivated firearms which are provided for by the Firearms (Amendment) (No.2) Rules 2019 and the Firearms Regulations 2019 that take effect from 12th December.  The latter Regulations introduce new requirements regarding the possession and transfer of permanently deactivated firearms in accordance with the requirements of Directive (EU) 2017/853.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/circular-0102019-firearms-regulations-2019-and-the-firearms-amendment-no2-rules-2019/0102019-firearms-regulations-2019-and-the-firearms-amendment-no2-rules-2019

2 PEOPLE ARRESTED AT DUBLIN AIRPORT AS PART OF INVESTIGATION INTO ROMANIAN CYBER FRAUD GANG

On 6th December, The Journal reported that the action was said to be part of an operation targeting a Romanian organised crime group involved in cyber-enabled frauds worldwide, including invoice redirect, phishing, vishing and money laundering in Ireland.  A Romanian man was arrested under an European arrest warrant, and a Romanian woman was arrested for theft and fraud offences.

https://www.thejournal.ie/arrests-dublin-airport-cyber-fraud-4921401-Dec2019

2 FORMER KYRGYZ PRIME MINISTERS RECEIVE PRISON TERMS

On 6th December, Rferl reported that former Prime Minister Sapar Isakov has been sentenced to 15 years in prison on corruption charges stemming from his involvement in a 2013 project to modernise the Bishkek Thermal Power Station; another former prime minister, Jantoro Satybaldiev, received a 7½-year sentence, while Aibek Kaliev, the former chief of the National Energy Holding, was given 15 years.

https://www.rferl.org/a/two-former-kyrgyz-prime-ministers-receive-prison-terms-/30311583.html

2 TONNES OF COCAINE DISGUISED AS CHALK SEIZED IN LARGEST DRUGS BUST IN POLAND IN 30 YEARS

On 6th December, The First News reported on a months-long investigation into a Colombian cartel trafficking ring and a raid at the port of Gdynia.  During their raid of a factory, investigators secured 10 kg of ‘street ready’ cocaine, which was destined for Germany and around 600 litres of cocaine in the production phase, several hundred litres of various types of chemicals, laboratory equipment and even a specialised hydraulic press with a mould containing the Colombian cartel logo.

https://www.thefirstnews.com/article/cops-seize-two-tonnes-of-cocaine-disguised-as-chalk-and-worth-over-2-billion-pln-in-largest-drug-bust-in-30-years-9096

ADDITIONAL COUNTRIES JOIN OECD GLOBAL FORUM AGREEMENTS

On 6th December, Tax News reported that Benin, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cabo Verde, Mongolia, and Oman had joined the Common Reporting Standard (CRS) bringing the total number of countries party to this agreement to 135.  Kenya and Oman also signed the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent BEPS (aka BEPS MLI), Oman signed the Common Reporting Standard Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement, and Tunisia signed the Country-by-Country Reporting Multilateral Competent Authority Agreement.

https://www.tax-news.com/news/Six_Countries_Sign_Up_To_Multilateral_Tax_Pacts____97447.html

FAKE REMEMBRANCE DAY POPPIES WERE AMONG THE HUNDREDS OF KNOCK OFF DESIGNER GOODS SEIZED AT A SHOP IN MANCHESTER’S ‘COUNTERFEIT CAPITAL’

The Manchester Evening News on 6th December carried a report about seizures made at a store run by Sarajuddin Atai near Strangeways prison which were counterfeit, including products claiming to be made by Apple, Christian Dior, Chanel, Vivienne Westwood, Dolce and Gabbana, Rolex and Armani.  Also included were 225 poppy brooches, which purported to be official products from the Royal British Legion.  The area near Strangeways prison has previously been dubbed the counterfeit capital of Europe, due to the amount of shops selling fakes. The store was raided in 2017. He received a 6-month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, after admitting offences relating to trademarks, and the company Blinge Ltd was fined £13,000, and ordered to pay £10,000 prosecution costs.

https://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-manchester-news/sarajuddin-atai-blinge-ltd-court-17370627

UNITRANS INTERNATIONAL TO PAY $45 MILLION TO SETTLE CHARGES AND ALLEGATIONS BROUGHT BY THE DOJ FOR ILLEGALLY SHIPPING CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS TO AFGHANISTAN THROUGH IRAN

Jurist on 6th December reported that the US-based company had agreed the settlement with Unitrans which had provided logistical support to Anham, a Dubai Free Zone UAE company. The US Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) had awarded a contract to Anham to supply material and logistical support to US troops in Afghanistan.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2019/12/defense-contractor-agrees-to-45-million-settlement-for-illegal-shipment-of-materials-through-iran/

CRIME GROUP SUSPECTED OF SMUGGLING NUCLEAR MATERIALS ARRESTED IN VIENNA

A news release from Europol on 6th December advised that Austrian and Moldovan law enforcement have jointly investigated and arrested an organised crime group suspected of smuggling nuclear materials, targeting a group of criminals that attempted to sell nuclear container which allegedly contained radiological material to an army for €3 million.  3 individuals were arrested in Austria.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/crime-group-suspected-of-smuggling-nuclear-materials-arrested-in-vienna

REPORT ON THE SECOND SURVEY ON CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA

On 6th December, UNODC reported on this publication which assesses the likelihood of citizens being approached for the payment of bribes as well as the frequency of such requests and actual payments. It provides insights into citizens’ attitudes towards corruption, their readiness to refuse requests for bribes and to report corruption incidents.  It also provides data on bribery and nepotism in public sector recruitment as well as the phenomenon of vote buying.  It found that 30% of those surveyed had paid a bribe to, or were asked to pay a bribe by, a public official and, although still relatively high, this is a decrease since 2016, when it stood at 32.3%.

https://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2019/December/unodc-supports-nigeria-in-launching-report-on-the-second-survey-on-corruption-in-nigeria.html?ref=fs1

The report itself is at –

https://www.unodc.org/documents/nigeria/Corruption_Survey_2019.pdf

RECORD COCAINE SEIZURES IN BRAZIL REVEALS DRUG FLOODING PORTS

An article on Insight Crime on 6th December says that cocaine seizures in Brazil have hit a record high this year — with the vast majority of drugs detected in cargo containers at the country’s ports.  Between January and October 2019, cocaine seizures reached 47.1 tons, a jump from the 31.5 tons taken in all of 2018.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/record-cocaine-seizures-brazil-ports/

THE CHALLENGE OF NON-STATE ACTORS AND STAND-OFF WEAPONS IN MIDDLE EAST

On 6th December, the International Institute for Strategic Studies published a report saying that ongoing wars in the Middle East are setting a worrying precedent, revealing a proliferation in the region not only of ballistic missiles, but also cruise missiles and improvised stand-off munitions in the form of low-cost UAV.  This included supplies to non-state actors, examples cited being Iranian ballistic- and cruise-missile technology ‘supplied’ to Ansarullah in Yemen, and Iranian-sourced weapons in Hizbullah arms depots in Syria which continue to be attacked by the Israeli Air Force.

https://www.iiss.org/blogs/military-balance/2019/12/non-state-actors-stand-off-weapons

LATVIA FINES BALTIC INTERNATIONAL BANK OVER AML CONTROLS

On 6th December, Reuters reported that Latvia’s Financial and Capital Market Commission (FCMC) said that it had fined Baltic International Bank – the country’s 8th largest bank – $1.72 million for lax AML controls.  It is said that the bank had mainly been serving non-resident clients but now says it is shifting towards investment banking in the Baltics.

https://www.reuters.com/article/latvia-bank/latvia-fines-baltic-international-bank-over-anti-money-laundering-controls-idUSL8N28G4SH?rpc=401&

KENYA: GOVERNOR OF NAIROBI ARRESTED WHILE FLEEING GRAFT CHARGES

On 6th December, Mail Online reported that Kenya’s anti-corruption commission says Mike Mbuvi, the governor of Nairobi, has been arrested while trying to flee prosecution for alleged money laundering and other crimes.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/ap/article-7764087/Governor-Nairobi-arrested-fleeing-graft-charges.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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AAT: THE ACCOUNTANT’S GUIDE TO ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING

On 6th December, the Association of Accounting Technicians in the UK has produced this 21-page guide.

https://aat-comment.s3.amazonaws.com/prod/uploads/2019/11/The-Accountants-guide-to-AML.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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CLAIM THAT ASSOCIATES CONNECTED TO ZAMBIAN PRESIDENT REPORTEDLY INVOLVED IN THE PLUNDER OF VALUABLE MUKULA ROSEWOOD TREES AND DESTRUCTION OF ZAMBIA’S VULNERABLE FORESTS

On 5th December, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said that its new report exposes how associates connected to President Edgar Lungu (including his daughter Tasila Lungu) are reportedly involved in the plunder of valuable, increasingly scarce, mukula rosewood trees; and hence the destruction of Zambia’s vulnerable forests.  The investigation is said to show that, despite public pledges to end the illegal mukula trade, several politicians are repeatedly named as key actors in an influential timber trafficking network that bypasses existing national bans on mukula harvest and export.  Mukula trees are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).  The EIA claims that the state-owned company Zambia Forestry and Forest Industries Corporation Limited (ZAFFICO) is secretly used by well-connected Zambian and Chinese business operatives as a cover to export thousands of freshly cut mukula logs, and that this illegal trade flourishes in spite of bans on the harvest, transport, and export of mukula.

https://eia-global.org/press-releases/20191205-mukula-cartel-zambia-report-pr

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 REGULATOR ADDS 21 NAMES TO RED LIST COMPOSED OF ENTITIES ILLEGALLY TRADING IN BINARY OPTIONS OR FOREIGN CURRENCY WITH US CUSTOMERS

On 6th December, Cadwalader Cabinet reported that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission had added 21 unregistered foreign entities to its Registration Deficient List or “RED List”, bringing the total of listed entities to 146.  Those listed have been found not to be registered and appear to be illegally soliciting and accepting funds from US consumers to trade binary options, foreign currency (forex) or other products.

https://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/8091-19

The RED List can be found at –

https://www.cftc.gov/ConsumerProtection/Resources/Check/redlist.htm

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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OFAC ADDS 4 IRAN-BACKED IRAQIS TO ITS GLOBAL MAGNITSKY HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS LIST

On 6th December, OFAC announced that addition of 4 Iraqi individuals to its sanctions lists for alleged human rights abuses.  3 of these are said to be leaders of Iran-backed militias in Iraq that opened fire on peaceful protests, killing dozens of innocent civilians.  The other person designated is Iraqi millionaire businessman Khamis Farhan al-Khanjar al-Issawi, who is listed for bribing government officials and engaging in corruption at the expense of the Iraqi people.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20191206.aspx

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm847

https://www.state.gov/on-sanctioning-those-involved-in-killing-protestors-and-corruption-in-iraq

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 – DECEMBER 5

5th December 2019

US WARSHIP IN GULF SEIZES MISSILE PARTS OF SUSPECTED IRAN ORIGIN

On 4th December, Reuters reported that the US Navy had seized advanced missile parts believed to be linked to Iran from a boat stopped in the Arabian Sea.  It was believed from initial information that the weapons were bound for Iran-aligned Houthi fighters in Yemen.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-missiles-military/u-s-navy-warship-seized-missile-parts-suspected-to-be-linked-to-iran-officials-idUSKBN1Y82S1

CONVENTION ON CERTAIN CONVENTIONAL WEAPONS (CCW) – NO AGREEMENT ON A FORMAL PROCESS OF CREATING A LEGAL INSTRUMENT TO GOVERN THEIR DEVELOPMENT AND USE

An article in the new edition of Arms Control Association reported that state parties to the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW) – aka the Inhumane Weapons Convention -discussed in November the danger of lethal autonomous weapons systems, often referred to as “killer robots,” but could not agree to begin a formal process of creating a legal instrument to govern their development and use.  It is said that the Group of Governmental Experts will meet again in 2020 (with further meetings planned for 2021) to continue their discussion on the “aspects of the normative and operational framework” of autonomous weapons.  The purpose of the CCW is to ban or restrict the use of specific types of weapons that are considered to cause unnecessary or unjustifiable suffering to combatants or to affect civilians indiscriminately, and it entered into force in 1983.

https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2019-12/news-briefs/decision-autonomous-weapons-talks-eludes-ccw

For more information on the Convention, see –

https://www.unog.ch/80256EE600585943/(httpPages)/4F0DEF093B4860B4C1257180004B1B30

EXERCISING MARITIME LIENS AGAINST CARGO AND SUB-FREIGHTS

An article from Blank Rome LLP in the US on 4th December examined whether, in order to ensure they get paid, a vessel owner may use a maritime lien against cargo.  It starts by pointing out that vessel owners are in the business of transporting cargo on behalf of others and, all going well, of being paid to do so, and that under US maritime law that a shipowner has a maritime lien against cargo for charges incurred during the course of its carriage.  However, the article reflects on how this principle may be impracticable in practice, although the courts except the presumption that a shipowner has not waived his cargo lien upon the delivery of cargo.  The impracticalities and difficulties are greater when sub-freight (i.e. part-cargoes) are involved – though the article mentions the fact that the debtor could end up paying the freight cost twice in some circumstances.  The article concludes by saying that fully understanding how these tools work — and how far they may (or may not) reach —I s important for both the vessel owner and the charterer of a vessel carrying cargo.

https://www.maritimeprofessional.com/news/exercising-maritime-liens-against-cargo-349577

CHEMICAL WEAPONS CONVENTION STATES UPDATE LIST OF BANNED CHEMICALS

The latest edition of Arms Control Association reported that, after months of wrangling, the 24th conference of states-parties to the CWC agreed on 28th November to update the list of Schedule 1 chemicals banned by the treaty to include the advanced nerve agents known as Novichok.  The changes to the Schedule of the Annex on Chemicals will enter into force for all states-parties 180 days after the date of the notification sent by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons Director-General.

https://www.armscontrol.org/act/2019-12/news-briefs/cwc-states-update-list-banned-chemicals

BASEL COMMITTEE ON BANKING SUPERVISION PUBLISHES CONSULTATION ON COORDINATION OF PRUDENTIAL AND AML/CFT SUPERVISION

On 8th November, Shearman & Sterling published an article saying that the proposed amendments include additional guidance recommending that prudential and AML/CFT supervisors establish effective co-operation mechanisms to ensure money laundering and terrorist financing risks are supervised in both domestic and cross-jurisdictional contexts.  The paper also sets out suggestions for how that co-operation may work, including the use of enforcement actions and/or the revocation of banking licences.  The Committee is a committee of banking supervisory authorities that was established by the central bank governors of the G10 countries in 1974.

https://finreg.shearman.com/Basel-Committee-on-Banking-Supervision-Publishes-Consultation#page=1

CAMEROON’S CANNABIS GROWING PLANS GO UP IN SMOKE

On 5th December, KYC 360 reported that hundreds of thousands of dollars appear to have been spent on a project where foreign investors promised to create jobs cultivating cannabis and other crops for export — yet it is unclear where the money went.  Information about the project comes from a cache of internal documents from London-based company services company Formations House.  It is said that in Cameroon and a handful of other African countries, Formations House companies sought to convince government officials to tap into the growing global market for medical marijuana extracts.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/cameroons-cannabis-plans-go-up-in-smoke/

REMITTANCE-DEPENDENT TAJIKISTAN BLOCKS RUSSIAN WIRE TRANSFER SERVICE

On 4th December, Reuters reported that a Russian wire transfer service popular among Tajik migrant labourers has been cut off.  It says that more than a million Tajiks work in Russia, sending home about $2.6 billion a year or more than a quarter of the country’s GDP.  However, one of the main routes, Koronapay, which operates one of Russia’s largest money transfer network, says it is now unable to process payments.

https://www.reuters.com/article/tajikistan-russia-remittances/remittance-dependent-tajikistan-blocks-russian-wire-transfer-service-idUSL8N28E26O

GERMAN COURT ANNULS BAN ON SAUDI ARMS EXPORTS

On 4th December, New Europe reported that a court had cancelled an export ban that had prevented arms manufacturer Rheinmetall from exporting armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia.  The government had imposed the ban after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and also imposed travel bans on 18 Saudis suspected of involvement with the murder.  The court explained that Germany had not followed correct procedures in revoking the export licence that had already been issued.  The court decision can be appealed.

https://www.neweurope.eu/article/german-court-annuls-ban-on-saudi-arms-exports/

WASHINGTON STATE RANKS THIRD AMONG US STATES IN BLACK MARKET CIGARETTE CONSUMPTION

An article in Seattle Business on 4th December reported that Washington has the third highest rate of inbound cigarette-smuggling activity in the US, with an estimated 42.8% of total cigarette consumption in the state involving smuggled tobacco, and it is claimed that the excise tax on cigarettes in Washington being among the highest in the US, at over $3 per pack in 2017, being a factor.  The report also says that New York being the worst affected, with an estimated 55.4% of cigarettes consumed in 2017 involving smuggled products.  California ranks second, at 44.6%.  By contrast, it says, Washington’s neighbouring state Oregon, ranked 28th

http://seattlebusinessmag.com/policy-regulations/washington-ranks-third-among-states-black-market-cigarette-consumption

RUSSIA DETAINS MAN WHO BUILT FAKE FRONTIER POST TO SMUGGLE IN MIGRANT WORKERS FROM FINLAND

News 18 on 4th December reported that a man erected mock border posts and charged 4 South Asian men more than $10,000 to take them to Finland.

https://www.news18.com/news/world/welcome-to-finland-russia-detains-man-over-fake-frontier-post-made-to-smuggle-4-south-asians-2412311.html

COLOMBIA AND SPAIN: 2 DRUG LABS CAPABLE OF PRODUCING 2 TONNES OF COCAINE A MONTH DISCOVERED

On 4th December, Illicit Trade reported that police in Spain have teamed up with their counterparts in Colombia to shut down 2 clandestine cocaine processing facilities said to have been capable of pumping out 2 tonnes of the drug every month.  One was located in the province of Toledo in Spain, while the other was in the Colombian jungle and controlled by Front 21 of the FARC dissidents.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2019/12/colombian-and-spanish-police-smash-two-drug-labs-capable-of-producing-two-tonnes-of-cocaine-a-month/

MILLIONS OF TEXT MESSAGES, INCLUDING SENSITIVE DETAILS TIED TO AUTHENTICATION, USER ACCESS, EXPOSED IN DATABASE SECURITY LAPSE AT BUSINESS SMS PROVIDER IN US

On 3rd December, ACFCS posted on its blog that Austin-based TrueDialog had suffered a leak whereby a massive database storing tens of millions of SMS text messages, most of which were sent by businesses to potential customers, has been found online. 

https://www.acfcs.org/fincrime-briefing-gao-details-aml-exam-gaps-for-banks-banking-msbs-u-s-digs-deeper-on-deutsche-in-danske-scandal-1mdb-enforcement-update-and-more/

LABUAN FINANCIAL SERVICES AUTHORITY ANNUAL REPORT 2018

On 5th December, a release from the Labuan International Business and Finance Centre advised the contents of the Centre’s annual report.  In this, the Centre reported on what it described as a good performance in a Peer Review Assessment on tax transparencies and the effectiveness of exchange of information by the OECD, in which Malaysia (including Labuan) was rated ‘Largely Compliant’; and in respects of the OECD Global Forum on Harmful Tax Practices, after policy changes, Labuan’s rating was raised to ‘Not Harmful’.  It also says that emphasis on effective AML/CFT regulations and monitoring remains as the Centre upholds its commitment, together with Malaysia, as a member of FATF.  The Centre’s Authority will, it says, continue to be vigilant so that pre-emptive measures can be undertaken to mitigate any emerging money laundering or terrorism financing risks.  As at December 2018, Labuan IBFC had 6,031 active companies, which included more than 500 Labuan licensed financial institutions across different sectors.

https://www.labuanibfc.com/clients/Labuan_IBFC_78C2FF81-703A-4CAA-8926-A348A3C91057/contentms/img/Downloads/Resource_Center/2019/LFSA%20Annual%20Report%202018.pdf?1575536741

CZECH PRIME MINISTER FACES FRAUD CHARGES AFTER DECISION OVERTURNED

On 5th December, the Irish Independent reported that Prime Minister Andrej Babis is facing fraud charges after the country’s chief prosecutor overturned a previous decision to drop the case.  The case involves a farm that received EU subsidies after its ownership was transferred from the Agrofert conglomerate owned by the prime minister to members of his family.  The prime minister has denied any wrongdoing.

https://www.independent.ie/world-news/europe/czech-prime-minister-faces-fraud-charges-after-decision-overturned-38755904.html

FRENCH VAT FRAUD HITS €15 BILLION

On 2nd December, VAT Live reported that the French public auditors, Cour des Comptes, has estimated that French VAT fraud has hit €15 billion per annum.  They have called for the government to step-up fraud detection measures which it believes have slowed in recent years and lacked central co-ordination.

https://www.avalara.com/vatlive/en/vat-news/french-vat-fraud-hits–15-billion.html

DENMARK WARNS 888 OVER ITS AML CONTROLS

On 4th December, Calvin Ayre reported that Denmark’s gambling regulator has warned the online gambling operator to improve its AML protocols or face the consequences.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/12/04/business/denmark-warns-888-holdings-improve-anti-money-laundering-efforts/

CEO OF NAMIBIA’S STATE-OWNED FISHING COMPANY SUSPENDED IN CORRUPTION PROBE

On 4th December, OCCRP reported that Namibia’s state-owned fishing company Fishcor suspended its CEO Mike Nghipunyahas following media reports that government officials had taken bribes in exchange for the multimillion-dollar fishing rights to horse mackerel.  The leaking of the so-called “Fishrot” archive discloses how the Icelandic fishing company Samherji paid nearly $10 million to high-ranking African officials and politicians, with the payments transferred via Norwegian DNB bank accounts to shell companies in tax havens.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/11255-ceo-of-namibia-s-state-owned-fishing-company-suspended-in-corruption-probe

 ETHICS: THE FUTURE OF TAX PLANNING?

CMS Law has published a paper saying that tax planning, once a legitimate element and facilitator of international trade, is now widely seen as morally and ethically wrong, and that tax planning became “aggressive tax planning” as an enabler of “tax avoidance”.  Asking “are ethics the antidote to aggressive tax planning?”, the paper examines the emergence of ethics and morals as the background to and framework for corporate tax planning and regulation.  It also outlines the ways that tax policies and practices now have a major influence on perceptions of corporate citizenship and business reputation.  It also asks if dubious tax practices are a clear route to notoriety or worse, can an openly ethical approach to tax give companies a positive competitive edge?

https://cms.law/en/media/international/files/news-information/brochures/tax-thought-leadership-brochure

WHEN THE ENGLISH COURT CAN GRANT INJUNCTIONS TO PROTECT ITS JURISDICTION AND JUDGMENTS AGAINST EXTRA-TERRITORIAL FOREIGN ENFORCEMENT MEASURES?

A briefing from Twenty Essex Chambers examines the outcome of SAS Institute Inc v World Programming Ltd (No. 2 – Injunction) in the English High Court.  This case involved a large US business software company SAS Institute and its English competitor WPL, and a conflict between decisions of the English courts and those in California.

https://twentyessex.com/when-can-the-english-court-protect-its-jurisdiction-and-judgments/

EUROPOL COORDINATES REFERRAL ACTION DAY TO COMBAT MANUALS AND TUTORIALS ON IED, INCLUDING CBRN

A news release from Europol on 5th December announced that the results of the 17th Joint Referral Action Day with specialised units from EU Member States, non-EU countries and other Europol specialised units.  It mainly targeted manuals and tutorials explaining how to build improvised explosive devices (IED) and use chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) agents in the context of terrorism, and included the detection and referral of terrorist content in a number of online platforms.  The operation also involved dark web investigations focusing on the trade of CBRN explosive agents in dark web markets. In addition, investigators from the participating countries conducted investigations regarding suspicious transactions of chemical precursors in online retailers.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/europol-coordinates-referral-action-day-to-combat-manuals-and-tutorials-improvised-explosive-devices-including-cbrn

TURKEY WILL SWITCH TO PLAIN PACKAGING FOR CIGARETTES AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS FROM 5TH DECEMBER

On 5th December, TJI announced that Turkey had joined the list of countries using plain packaging.  Sales of the older, branded packages would stop on 5th January.

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/Plain_packaging_in_Turkey.55581.0.html

DRUG TRAFFICKERS USED VENEZUELA’S ISLA MARGARITA AS BACKDOOR TO EUROPE

On 4th December, Insight Crime carried an article about a Venezuelan island in the Caribbean that is a popular tourist destination was used by a Colombian trafficker to move drugs to the US and Europe.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/venezuela-isla-margarita-drugs-europe/

COSTA RICA STRUGGLING TO STOP REPEATED ORGAN TRAFFICKING CASES

On 5th December, Insight Crime reported that prosecutors in Costa Rica are investigating a suspected organ trafficking ring at a hospital in the country’s capital — the second time in recent years they have uncovered such a ring.  In 2008, Costa Rica was the first Latin American government to sign an international treaty to combat trafficking in human organs – but international experts have criticised it for creating conditions hospitable to organ trafficking.  Costa Rica (like neighbouring Panama) has become popular for “medical tourism”, but the article warns it may have become a centre for illegal organ trafficking.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/costa-rica-organ-trafficking-cases/

UK: ICO CONSULTS ON NEW DRAFT GUIDANCE ON SUBJECT ACCESS REQUESTS UNDER GDPR

On 4th December, Local Government Lawyer reported that the Information Commissioner has launched a consultation on new draft guidance for organisations on how to handle SAR under the GDPR.

The draft guidance is at –

https://ico.org.uk/media/about-the-ico/consultations/2616442/right-of-access-draft-consultation-20191204.pdf

UN CALLS FOR STATES TO ABIDE BY ARMS EMBARGO

As reported yesterday, a news release from the UN Security Council on 2nd December expressed deep concern at the escalation of violence in Libya, and particular concern regarding the reported breaches of the arms embargo set out in a briefing presented to the Council, as well as the growing involvement of mercenaries.  The Council called for full compliance with the arms embargo by all Member States, in line with UN SCR 1970 (2011), and also called on all Member States not to intervene in the conflict or to take measures that would exacerbate the conflict.

https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/sc14037.doc.htm

UN RENEWS AUTHORISATION FOR INTERNATIONAL NAVAL FORCES COMBATING PIRACY OFF COAST OF SOMALIA

A news release from the UN on 4th December advised that the Security Council today renewed for 12 months the authorization for States and regional organisations co-operating with Somalia to use all necessary means to fight piracy off the coast of the east African country.

https://www.un.org/press/en/2019/sc14039.doc.htm

ISRAEL TARGETS FINANCES OF INTERNATIONAL ANTI-OCCUPATION ACTIVISTS

On 4th December, Middle East Monitor reported that Israeli Defence Minister Naftali Bennett has signed an executive military order targeting the economic activities of those Tel Aviv considers “terrorists” abroad.  Palestinian lawyer Mohammed Jamil Hersh, 47, is the first to be affected by this order.  He was deported from Palestine in 1992 and sent to Lebanon due to his activist during the First Intifada and now heads the Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20191204-israel-targets-finances-of-international-anti-occupation-activists/

COUNTRIES VOW TO PRESS AHEAD WITH DIGITAL TAXES DESPITE US THREAT

The FT and others have reported that Canada, Austria and Indonesia have joined with the UK in pledging to go ahead with a digital tax, despite US threats against France – which has already introduced such a tax.  In the UK General Election, the current prime minister has said that the UK wants to make sure US tech companies make a fairer contribution.  Meanwhile, Indonesia said that it would move ahead with new regulations requiring overseas companies to pay local taxes on e-commerce transactions within the country and Canadian and Austrian finance ministries have both confirmed that they will move forward with their own taxes on internet companies.

PIRATES KIDNAP 19 SEAFARERS FROM VLCC OFF NIGERIA

On 4th December, Seatrade Maritime reported that the 296,988 dwt VLCC Nave Constellation was attacked by a group of pirates deep offshore Nigeria on 3rd December taking 19 crew hostage and leaving 7 others on the vessel.

https://www.seatrade-maritime.com/tankers/pirates-kidnap-19-seafarers-vlcc-nave-constellation-nigeria

DETECTING, INVESTIGATING AND PROSECUTING EXPORT CONTROL VIOLATIONS: KEY CHALLENGES AND GOOD PRACTICES

On 5th December, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published a new report which highlights the broad and growing set of difficulties that EU Member States need to overcome when seeking to detect, investigate and prosecute export control violations.  It details the range of approaches taken by states, outlines areas of good practice at the national level, and presents 7 cases — and accompanying lessons learned — where export control violations have been detected, investigated and prosecuted.  The report also includes a set of recommendations for steps that the EU could take to help to build national capacity and improve information-sharing –

  • Further enhance transparency of national penalties for export control violations and explore greater harmonisation;
  • Create a forum for exchanging information on national enforcement measures;
  • Improve reporting on national enforcement measures under the EU Dual-Use Regulation;
  • Improve reporting on national enforcement measures under the EU arms embargoes;
  • Build effective links between the various EU mechanisms for sharing information on national enforcement measures;
  • Adopt clearer and more harmonised language on complex concepts; and
  • Make detection, investigation and prosecution a key focus of internal capacity-building and outreach efforts

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2019-12/1912_sipri_report_prosecuting_export_control_violations.pdf

HMRC BREXIT IMPORTS AND EXPORTS HELPLINE

On 5th December, HMRC publicised details of helpline that (may) help one in importing and exporting post-Brexit.  HMRC says one might call the helpline to find out about:

  • customs declarations and procedures;
  • duties and tariffs;
  • importing and exporting different goods;
  • transporting goods to and from the EU; and
  • product safety regulations

The release also details opening times over the Christmas and New Year period.

https://www.gov.uk/contact-brexit-import-export-helpline

20191204PHT68242_original

https://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/headlines/society/20191129STO67756/emissions-from-planes-and-ships-facts-and-figures-infographic

UK: USER GUIDE TO OPERATION OF POLICE POWERS UNDER THE TERRORISM ACT 2000 AND SUBSEQUENT LEGISLATION

On 5th December, the Home Office published updated guidance to the operation of police powers under terrorism legislation, as what is described as a useful reference guide with explanatory notes.  Covering arrests, outcomes and stop and search.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/user-guide-to-operation-of-police-powers-under-the-terrorism-act-2000-and-subsequent-legislation

ISRAEL: STATE ATTORNEY ISSUES INDICTMENTS IN GERMAN SUBMARINES CORRUPTION AFFAIR

On 5th December, Globes in Israel reported that 3 men had been indicted (of a reported 7 high-ranking former Israeli officials reportedly likely to be indicted)  in a case involving alleged bribery over the purchase of 5 submarines from ThyssenKrupp in Germany in a deal dating back to 2011/12.  Those indicted include prime minister Netanyahu’s own legal representative, who is charged with money laundering.

https://en.globes.co.il/en/article-indictments-in-german-submarines-affair-1001309934#utm_source=RSS

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20191205-israel-netanyahu-ex-attorney-to-be-charged-with-bribery-money-laundering/

https://www.timesofisrael.com/prosecutors-announce-bribery-charges-in-vast-submarine-corruption-case/

SCOTLAND YARD “TO QUESTION RUSSIAN FORMER MEDIA MOGUL VLADIMIR GUSINSKY OVER ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING”

EU Report on 5th December reported that it is alleged that former media mogul Vladimir Gusinsky is using a labyrinth of litigation cases in the US to move money, and UK officers are now said to be likely to work with US law enforcement agencies principally concerned with money laundering allegations.  Gusinky lives in Switzerland, with his family in the US.

https://www.eureporter.co/crime/money-laundering-crime-magazine/2019/12/05/scotland-yard-to-question-russian-oligarch-vladimirgusinsky-over-money-laundering-allegations

GLENCORE SHARE PRICE FALLS AFTER SFO BEGINS BRIBERY PROBE

On 5th December, Proactive Investor and others reported that the SFO probe follows investigations by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and DoJ, and the SFO is said to be investigating “suspicions of bribery in the conduct of business by the Glencore group of companies, its officials, employees, agents and associated persons”.  The earlier US investigation was reportedly focused on the role of intermediaries and how they helped Glencore obtain contracts, including in oil trading.

https://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/908595/glencore-dives-after-serious-fraud-office-begins-bribery-probe-908595.html

EU FINANCE MINISTERS BACK PLANS FOR GREATER POWERS TO COMBAT MONEY LAUNDERING

On 5th December, RTE reported that the decision came after a series of revelations about large amounts of dirty money flowing through European banks.  Ministers called on the European Commission to explore the possibility of transferring supervisory powers to an EU body “with an independent structure and direct powers” and to amend rules to strengthen coordination among national authorities.

https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2019/1205/1097248-eu-agrees-tighter-money-laundering-supervision-steps

TAX REVENUES IN DEVELOPED ECONOMIES HAVE REACHED A PLATEAU

A news release from the OECD on 5th December about the 2019 edition of the OECD Revenue Statistics” publication says that tax revenues in advanced economies reached a plateau during 2018, with almost no change seen since 2017, according to new OECD research. This ends the trend of annual increases in the tax-to-GDP ratio seen since the financial crisis.

OECD

http://www.oecd.org/newsroom/tax-revenues-have-reached-a-plateau.htm

GERMANY TOUGHENS UP ON CORPORATE PENALTIES

An article from Out-Law on 5th December advised that businesses operating in Germany should begin updating and documenting their compliance risk assessments and measures in preparation for stricter corporate sanctions laws being introduced in the country.  It says that the proposed new German Corporate Sanctions Act promises to fundamentally change the compliance landscape and defence strategies for all companies with subsidiaries, headquarter functions or business operations based in Germany when finalised.  The article says that under the proposed new legislation, corporations would be sanctioned if either a manager has committed a corporate offence, or someone has committed a corporate offence in the exercise of the corporation’s affairs and its managers could have prevented the offence or made it significantly more difficult by taking appropriate precautionary measures; and failure to take appropriate precautionary measures will no longer require managers’ negligence or intention.

Unlike US and UK laws, the type or level of seriousness of corporate offences that will result in investigations and potential sanctions are neither defined nor limited in the draft Bill.  If or when enacted, there would, the article says, be a 2-year transition period, allowing time for businesses to get their house in order.

https://www.pinsentmasons.com/out-law/analysis/germany-toughens-up-on-corporate-sanctions

NEW CLIENT AML SCREENING: FROM ONBOARDING TO MONITORING

On 5th December. RDC published an article which sets out to highlight the importance of applying different levels of screening throughout the client life cycle – from the perspective of an account manager working for a major bank.  Whilst a hypothetical scenario, it will likely bear some familiarity to anyone working in KYC.  Interestingly, it emphasises that circumstances change, market conditions change, products change, risk appetites change, and financial institutions need to change accordingly to reflect all these factors.  Hence, ongoing monitoring is required, and KYC and CDD (or EDD) is not a one-off event, but a continuing one.

https://rdc.com/kyc-aml/blog/aml-screening-from-onboarding-to-monitoring/

ISLE OF MAN: OFFICE OF CYBER-SECURITY & INFORMATION ASSURANCE ISSUES FIRST PUBLIC ADVISORY NOTICE

On 5th December, the Advisory Notice took the form of a reminder to all financial institutions and other bodies that may handle personal, sensitive or financial information that there is an ever-present threat to this information from criminals and other people with malicious objectives.  OCSIA recommends that businesses undertake regular cyber-hygiene processes to help minimise the risk of compromise and ensure the continuity of your business should an unexpected event occur, and gives examples of such measures.

https://www.gov.im/media/1367641/ocsia-advisory-notice-business-cyber-hygiene-021219.pdf

3 INCIDENTS OF ARMED ROBBERY AGAINST SHIPS IN ASIA IN A WEEK

On 5th December, Insurance Marine News reported on 3 attacks on ships – 2 in the Singapore Strait and the other in the Philippines – in one week.  Those in the former were underway, whilst the latter was a ship at anchor.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/three-incidents-of-armed-robbery-against-ships-in-asia-last-week/

PANAMA: PANAMA PAPERS SUSPECT REMAINS UNDER HOUSE ARREST AS HABEAS CORPUS ATTEMPT FAILS

On 5th December, Newsroom Panama reported that lawyer Ramsés Owens, who is under investigation for alleged money laundering related to the activities of the Mossack Fonseca firm and transactions carried out through the now-defunct  Financial Pacific securities house (FP), between 2010 and 2013, will remain under house arrest after the Supreme Court denied an appeal of habeas corpus.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/us-fugitive-laundering-suspect-loses-habeas-corpus-appeal-1

 US EXEMPTS LOCAL BASEBALL LEAGUE FROM VENEZUELA SANCTIONS

Reuters on 3rd December reported that OFAC has created an exemption from its Venezuela-related sanctions allowing for transactions with the country’s local baseball league – and this paves the way for players under contract with Major League Baseball (MLB) teams or their minor league affiliates to participate in the Venezuelan league (LVBP).

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-baseball/us-exempts-local-baseball-league-from-venezuela-sanctions-document-idUSKBN1Y72B0

 

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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FATF CONSOLIDATED AML/CFT ASSESSMENT RATINGS

Following the recent publication of follow-up reports on Norway and Spain, FATF had issued an updated version of the consolidated schedule of all countries’ AML/CFT assessment ratings.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/4th-Round-Ratings.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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NORWAY: FATF AML/CFT ASSESSMENT FOLLOW-UP REPORT

On 5th December, FATF published a report on the 5th annual follow-up of Norway’s AML/CFT systems following its mutual evaluation in 2014.  This assessment looked at the effectiveness of Norway’s measures on five issues, or ‘Immediate outcomes’ (IO).  To reflect the country’s progress, the FATF has re-rated Norway on 3 of these IO and, as a result of its progress, the country has moved from the enhanced follow-up process to the regular follow-up process –

  • 1 – Norway has reached a substantial level of effectiveness in understanding the money laundering and terrorist financing risks it faces and co-ordinating actions domestically to combat these crimes.; therefore, FATF has re-rated Norway from Moderate to Substantial;
  • 6 – Competent authorities in Norway have reached a substantial level of effectiveness in appropriately using financial intelligence and other relevant information for money laundering and terrorist financing investigations; therefore, FATF has re-rated Norway from Moderate to Substantial; and
  • 11 – Norway is now achieving a substantial level of effectiveness in preventing persons and entities involved in the proliferation of WMD from raising, moving and using funds, consistent with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions; therefore, FATF re-rated Norway from Moderate to Substantial.

FATF says that Norway is now achieving high or substantial levels of effectiveness on 5 of the 11 key areas identified by the FATF as immediate outcomes of an effective framework to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.   It must now focus on strengthening its effectiveness on the remaining immediate outcomes, including its measure to ensure appropriate supervision, monitoring and regulation of financial institutions and lawyers, real estate agents and other non-financial entities, and to ensure that the proceeds of crime are confiscated.

norway

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/fur/Follow-Up-Assessment-Norway-2019.pdf

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OFAC ADDITIONS TO ITS SANCTIONS LISTS TO TARGET RUSSIAN MALWARE GANG

On 5th December, OFAC announced a number of additional Russian (and Ukrainian, and 1 Spaniard) individuals and 7 Russian entities to its sanctions lists.  All the individuals are said to be linked to the “Evil Corp” (aka “Dridex Gang”), which was said to be involved in cyberhacking and ransomware At the same time, 3 names formerly listed in connection with Hizbollah have been removed from the lists.  The US has placed a $5 million bounty on Maksim Yakubets, the leader of the Evil Corp, for his alleged work for Russian intelligence, part of what US officials say is a broader reprisal for a Kremlin-directed cyber offensive against the US.  Federal law enforcement officials also announced criminal charges against Russian nationals connected to the group, saying that it/they developed and distributed Dridex, a type of malware that infected computers around the world and harvested banking credentials in order to steal some $100 million and which automated the theft of confidential information from banking customers after someone clicks on a phishing emails.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20191205.aspx

See also the UK NCA news release on the organisation –

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/international-law-enforcement-operation-exposes-the-world-s-most-harmful-cyber-crime-group

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DETECTING, INVESTIGATING AND PROSECUTING EXPORT CONTROL VIOLATIONS: KEY CHALLENGES AND GOOD PRACTICES

On 5th December, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published a new report which highlights the broad and growing set of difficulties that EU Member States need to overcome when seeking to detect, investigate and prosecute export control violations.  It details the range of approaches taken by states, outlines areas of good practice at the national level, and presents 7 cases — and accompanying lessons learned — where export control violations have been detected, investigated and prosecuted.  The report also includes a set of recommendations for steps that the EU could take to help to build national capacity and improve information-sharing –

  • Further enhance transparency of national penalties for export control violations and explore greater harmonization;
  • Create a forum for exchanging information on national enforcement measures;
  • Improve reporting on national enforcement measures under the EU Dual-Use Regulation;
  • Improve reporting on national enforcement measures under the EU arms embargoes;
  • Build effective links between the various EU mechanisms for sharing information on national enforcement measures;
  • Adopt clearer and more harmonized language on complex concepts; and
  • Make detection, investigation and prosecution a key focus of internal capacity-building and outreach efforts

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2019-12/1912_sipri_report_prosecuting_export_control_violations.pdf

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UK REVISED EXPORT LICENCES FOR SAUDI ARABIA AND ITS COALITION PARTNERS IN YEMEN CONFLICT AND SUSPENDS NEW LICENCES FOR TURKEY

On 5th December, the UK Export Control Joint Unit issued a Notice to Exporters saying that it had reviewed open general export licences (OGEL) and open general trade control licences (OGTCL) permitting exports to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners carrying out military operations in Yemen.  Following the review and until further notice, it will not be possible to register for a number of OGEL and OGTCL for exports and brokering to Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Sudan and UAE.  It also says that it is reviewing the situation in respect of Turkey and its incursion into Syria and no further export licences to Turkey for items which might be used in military operations in Syria will be granted while the review is underway.  Until further notice, it will not be possible to register for a number of OGEL and OGTCL for Turkey.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-exporters-201916-open-general-licences-updated/notice-to-exporters-201916-open-general-licences-updated

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AUSTRALIA: A FOREIGN BRIBERY SHAKE-UP PROPOSED

On 3rd December, an article from Corrs Chambers Westgarth was about the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2019, which has been adjourned for further debate in the federal Senate on 4th February.  At the same time the government is seeking submissions on guidance on controlling the bribery of foreign officials by 28th February.  The article says that the Bill is another component of the revised and invigorated focus on corporate conduct and governance in the post-Financial Services Royal Commission environment, which has seen increased regulatory action, the passage of enhanced whistleblower legislation, and law reform consultation concerning the best way of attributing criminal conduct to a corporation.  The article identifies the key components of the Bill, including a change in definitions, widened prohibitions and creation of a new strict liability offence for corporations of ‘failing to prevent’ foreign bribery. A deferred prosecution agreement is also proposed.

https://corrs.com.au/insights/a-foreign-bribery-shake-up-unpacking-the-crimes-legislation-amendment-combatting-corporate-crime-bill-2019

 

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 4

4th December 2019

CITIBANK SENT 99% OF WESTPAC TRANSFERS THAT BREACHED AUSTRAC AML/CFT REQUIREMENTS

On 4th December, Regulation Asia reported that Citi is not under investigation, though AUSTRAC has criticised the bank for not providing sufficient information about the payments and the source of funds.  It has been identified as one of the 4 correspondent banks in AUSTRAC’s filing against Westpac, the transactions coming from Citibank’s European arm, but Citibank was not responsible for the errors at Westpac that prevented the bank from reporting 19.4 million transfers.

https://www.regulationasia.com/citi-sent-99pc-of-westpac-transfers-that-breached-austrac-requirements/

UKRAINE PUTS FORMER FERREXPO CEO ON INTERNATIONAL WANTED LIST

On 3rd December, Reuters reported that Kostyantin Zhevago, the former CEO of London-listed iron pellet producer Ferrexpo , a former lawmaker and former beneficiary owner of Finance & Credit Bank, had been put on an international wanted list.  He owns a stake of more than 50% in Ferrexpo and was appointed CEO in 2008.  He denies any wrongdoing.

https://www.reuters.com/article/ukraine-ferrexpo/ukraine-puts-former-ferrexpo-chief-executive-on-international-wanted-list-idUSL8N28D1Z3

US: IPR CENTER SEIZES MORE THAN 1 MILLION ILLEGAL WEBSITES AHEAD OF CYBER MONDAY

A news release from US Customs and Immigration Enforcement on 2nd December announced that more than 1 million copyright-infringing domain names of commercial websites engaged in the illegal sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and copyrighted works are now in custody of the federal government, as part of an ongoing IPR enforcement initiative targeting fake websites, named Operation In Our Sites.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/ipr-center-seizes-more-1-million-illegal-websites-ahead-cyber-monday

NAVIGATING US EXPORT REGULATIONS

On 27th November, Aerospace Manufacturing and Design published an article saying that Many aerospace and defence products are subject to export regulations, including International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and Export Administration Regulations (EAR), requiring compliance in technical data handling and access.  In a concise summary, it says that the regulations ensure companies have tight control over all regulated technical data, including controlled unclassified information (CUI), and technical data can include file names, component descriptions, engineering drawings, specifications, test procedures, and bills of materials.  It warns that ITAR and EAR regulations impact every tool and method of storing and accessing controlled technical data.  It also warns that everything from handling printed drawings sitting on an engineer’s desk, to digital files on an internal file server, to uploaded data in an on-site system or a cloud application must be evaluated.

https://www.aerospacemanufacturinganddesign.com/article/navigating-export-regulations/

US DOJ OPEN TO RESTITUTION CLAIMS FROM BRIBERY VICTIMS

The Wall Street Journal reported that the DoJ wants to hear from companies or individuals who may have been victims of foreign bribery schemes and want restitution.  This follows a New York court case where a federal judge in August ruled that former investors in an African mine were victims of a bribery scheme by the hedge fund Sculptor Capital Management Ltd.  The DoJ said that Sculptor should pay at least $150 million to the investors.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/hedge-fund-should-pay-restitution-to-mine-investors-prosecutors-say-11574808401

US: BANKS NO LONGER REQUIRED TO SUBMIT SAR ON HEMP GROWERS

On 3rd December, the Wall Street Journal reported that banks are no longer required to file suspicious activity reports on customers who cultivate hemp, US industry regulators said, after a group of financial regulators clarified the compliance requirements for banks whose customers produce hemp.  FinCEN made the announcement along with the Federal Reserve, the FDIC, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Conference of State Bank Supervisors.  But a federal ban remains in effect on marijuana, a cannabis product that contains increased levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and hence an SAR would still be required.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/banks-no-longer-required-to-report-hemp-growers-as-suspicious-regulators-say-11575416755

https://fcpablog.com/2019/12/04/u-s-bank-regulators-hemp-growers-arent-always-suspicious/

WILL WE SEE THE FIRST PROSECUTIONS FOR FAILURE TO PREVENT THE FACILITATION OF TAX EVASION IN  2020?

On 4th December, an article from Bird & Bird says that corporate criminal offences of failing to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion, under the Criminal Finances Act 2017 came into force on 30th September 2017.   However, to date no prosecutions have been brought by HMRC. Investigations are ongoing at the moment but we do not know how advanced they might be.  The article refers to the “reasonable preventative procedures” HMRC says that a business should have and the 6 principles involved.  The article says that such procedures are essential, and businesses should review and update them.

https://www.twobirds.com/en/news/articles/2019/global/will-we-see-the-first-prosecutions-for-failure-to-prevent-the-facilitation-of-tax-evasion-in-2020

THE EU EUROPEAN BORDER AND COAST GUARD AGENCY’S REINFORCED MANDATE NOW IN FORCE

On 4th December, it was reported that the EU Regulation has come into force providing for the operational capacity and powers needed to effectively support the 115,000 Member States’ officers on the ground. Starting from January 2021, it will be equipped with its own standing corps of border guards ready to be deployed wherever and whenever needed. The standing corps should reach its full capacity of 10,000 border guards by 2024.

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/MEX_19_6677

ALGERIAN CORRUPTION TRIAL OF 2 EX-PRIME MINISTERS BEGINS

On 4th December, the Washington Post reported that Ahmed Ouyahia, who was forced out as prime minister in March as protests against President Abdelaziz Bouteflika escalated, and his predecessor Abdelmalek Sellal, are facing trial in Algiers.  They, 2 former industry ministers and several businessmen are charged with “corruption and the misappropriation of public funds” and both deny any wrongdoing.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/algerian-corruption-trial-of-2-ex-prime-ministers-begins/2019/12/04/dd767224-1695-11ea-80d6-d0ca7007273f_story.html

FORMER JAPANESE SCIENCE MINISTRY EXECUTIVE SENTENCED TO SUSPENDED SENTENCE OVER A BRIBERY CASE RELATED TO THE JAPAN AEROSPACE EXPLORATION AGENCY (JAXA)

On 4th December, Jiji Press reported that former Japanese science ministry executive Kazuaki Kawabata was sentenced to 18 months in prison, suspended for 3 years.

TRANSPORTED ASSET PROTECTION ASSOCIATION HAS CALLED ON THE EU COMMISSION TO WORK WITH IT OVER RECORD LEVELS OF VEHICLE CARGO THEFT

On 4th December, Loadstar reported called from TAPA which has developed its own Parking Security Requirements (PSR), which it claims would support the development of the EU Commission’s offering.  In the first 11 months of 2019, the TAPA Incident Information Service recorded more than 3,500 cargo thefts from trucks parked in unclassified parking locations in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) region.

https://theloadstar.com/ec-urged-to-listen-to-tapa-as-cargo-theft-from-trucks-hits-record-levels/

REVISED DRAFT GUIDANCE ON ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

On 4th December, Appleby published an article saying that, on 20th November, the Cayman Islands issued revised and enhanced guidance on the economic substance requirements that apply to entities in the jurisdiction.   It says that the enhancements made reflect an intelligent and business minded response to industry input so far, and a meaningful commitment to absorbing the new global regime, applicable to all reputable and familiar financial centres, in a sensible and practical way.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/revised-draft-guidance-on-economic-substance-in-the-cayman-islands/

UN DEMANDS FULL COMPLIANCE WITH LIBYA EMBARGO AFTER REPORT DESCRIBES BREACHES

Janes.com on 4th December reported that the UN Security Council had released a statement demanding total compliance with an arms embargo on war-torn Libya, amid concerns of multiple violations by Jordan, Turkey and UAE.

https://www.janes.com/article/92994/un-demands-full-compliance-with-libya-embargo-after-report-describes-breaches

THE FIFTH MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE COMES INTO FORCE ON 10TH JANUARY – FIRMS WILL NEED TO BE READY

Travis Smith has issued a short briefing saying that the new rules come into operation soon, and firms must ensure that their preparations are in place.  The article lists the main points that firms should be aware of.

https://www.traverssmith.com/knowledge/knowledge-container/new-rules-on-money-laundering/

IRISH REVENUE PUBLISHES LIST OF TAX DEFAULTERS

On 3rd December, the Revenue Commissioners advised that it had released the latest list of tax defaulters.

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2019/pr-031219-revenue-publishes-list-of-tax-defaulters.aspx

DENMARK COURT FINDS 3 MEN GUILTY FOR BUYING DRONES FOR IS

On 28th November, Associated Press reported that a Copenhagen court has found 3 men (2 being Danish) guilty of buying drones and components on behalf of the Islamic State group, and meant to be used in combat actions in Syria and Iraq.  They bought hobby planes, drones and thermal cameras as well as components, tools and accessories between 2013 and 2017, with the items shipped to Syria.

https://apnews.com/98687cb6112a43d2a7c4260ec5e09ca9

SPAIN: ILLEGAL BOMB FACTORY AND ARMS DUMP UNCOVERED BY GUARDIA CIVIL

On 3rd December, Euro Weekly reported one of Spain’s biggest-ever seizures of home-made explosive devices.  In total, 17 bombs, materials to make many more, 26 firearms, bulletproof vests, silencers and more than 2,800 cartridges were found.  The location was fully equipped with for the manufacture of improvised explosive devices, as well as for the handling of firearms and the manufacturing of ammunition.  More than 30 kg of different chemical substances used to make explosives and laboratory material (test tubes, flasks, precipitation containers, etc) used to manufacture them were also seized.  The man arrested renovated Eastern European weapons received in the mail in poor condition to make them fully operational.

https://www.euroweeklynews.com/2019/12/03/illegal-bomb-factory-and-arms-dump-uncovered-by-spains-guardia-civil/#.Xefqq3d2umR

US PROPOSES 100% DUTIES ON FRENCH IMPORTS IN RESPONSE TO FRANCE’S DIGITAL TAX

King & Spalding on 4th December published an article saying that the Office of the United States Trade Representative has posted a Notice announcing that it was proposing tariffs of up to 100% on 63 types of goods imported from France worth approximately $2.4 billion.  The list includes cheese, champagne, cosmetics, china and porcelain articles, and handbags.  The USTR found that the French 3% Digital Service Tax (which became law in July) discriminates against US companies, and is unreasonable insofar as it diverges in several respects from norms reflected in the US tax system and the international tax system.

https://www.kslaw.com/news-and-insights/the-united-states-proposes-100-duties-on-french-imports-in-response-to-frances-digital-tax

FUGITIVE MOLDOVAN TYCOON “HAS SECOND IDENTITY”

On 4th December, Rferl reported claims that a fugitive Moldovan tycoon and former leader of Moldova’s Democratic Party, who is wanted for alleged money laundering, was issued a second set of identity papers under a different name last year.  It is reported that Vlad Plahotniuc also had a passport under the name of Vladislav Vladimir Novak.

https://www.rferl.org/a/fugitive-moldovan-tycoon-had-two-identities-president-says/30307702.html

PANAMA: NEW BILL TO AMEND AML/CFT LAW APPROVED

On 4th December, El Capital Financiero reported that a plenary session of the National Assembly had approved a new law to create a new autonomous AML/CFT body that would co-ordinate with the country’s FIU, oversee, regulate and supervise AML/CFT controls and recommend changes to the country’s AML/CFT legislation.   This might be seen as part of legal reforms being implemented before the next assessment of Panama by the OECD in June 2020, and by the FATF-style regional body, GAFILAT, in February 2021.  The OECD has said that there are still unresolved challenges in ensuring the availability of accounting information and information on actual beneficiaries.  It is reported that Law 52 of 2016 on Accounting Records is to be suitably amended, to ensure that resident agents have available information from their clients.  Other changes would impact on the activities carried out by lawyers as resident agents, the Colon Free Zone and the construction sector, with amendments of Law 23 of 27 April 2015 which is concerned with AML measures.  La Prensa reported that once the regulations proposed by the Executive were approved, the country’s plan is to request the OECD to conduct a technical evaluation of Panama to validate progress before the time comes for the formal review.

https://www.elcapitalfinanciero.com/aprueban-en-tercer-debate-proyecto-antiblanqueo-de-capitales/

https://www.prensa.com/impresa/economia/panama-afina-estrategia-para-salir-de-listas/

US IMPOSES TRAVEL BAN SANCTIONS ON FORMER GUATEMALAN MINISTER

A news release from the US State Department on 3rd December advised that it had designated former Guatemalan Minister of Communications, Infrastructure, and Housing Alejandro Sinibaldi due to his involvement in significant corruption, being said to have engaged in and benefitted from public corruption in relation to his official duties.  He is now a fugitive from justice.  When so designated, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the US.

https://www.state.gov/public-designation-due-to-involvement-in-significant-corruption-of-former-guatemalan-minister-alejandro-sinibaldi/

PODCAST: PROTECTING WILDLIFE FROM POACHERS IN AFRICA

In the latest TRACE podcast, Kevin Chapla, a Civil Affairs Officer with the US Army, discusses the work his team has done with foreign governments and civilian populations to reduce the poaching and trafficking of wildlife in Central Africa.

https://traceinternational.org/bribe_swindle_or_steal

AUSTRALIAN PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE INVESTIGATES POSSIBLE MAGNITSKY-STYLE HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS LAW

On 4th December, a news release from the Parliament of Australia advised that a joint standing committee had announced a new parliamentary inquiry which will examine whether Australia should adopt legal measures to impose sanctions upon individuals who commit gross human rights abuses.  The inquiry will focus upon Australia’s current sanctions laws regarding human rights abuses worldwide, how these laws are currently enforced and comparing them to other jurisdictions to determine if and how Australia may be able to strengthen its laws and approach to combatting to international human rights abuses.   Submissions to the committee are invited.

https://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/House_of_Representatives/About_the_House_News/Media_Releases/Inquiry_into_a_framework_for_autonomous_sanctions_under_Australian_law_to_target_human_rights_abuses

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: REGULATOR’S ENFORCEMENT DECISION-MAKING PROCESS PUBLISHED

On 4th December, the FSA in the Isle of Man has published its enforcement decision making process (DMP).  The DMP sets out clearly the staged process which the FSA follows when considering certain enforcement action.   The DMP also introduces for the first time in a public document the concept of settlement in enforcement cases.

https://www.iomfsa.im/media/2653/dmp-final.pdf

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RUSI MONEY LAUNDERING PODCAST EPISODE 7

In this episode of the Suspicious Transaction Report, the host and guests consider the missing links in various financial crime problems. The latest financial crime news is examined, including the money laundering scandal at Westpac, what’s next for OneCoin and the link between Chinese money laundering and money mules. A proper approach to countering proliferation financing is also discussed.

https://www.rusi.org/multimedia/episode-07-missing-links

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DOZENS HELD IN GLOBAL MONEY LAUNDERING SWOOP

On 4th December, various media site reported a Europol news release that announced that 228 arrests and over 3800 money mules identified in an operation involving law enforcement in 31 countries.  This was the 5th European Money Mule Action (EMMA 5) and took place between September and November.  More than 650 banks, 17 bank associations and other financial institutions helped to report 7520 fraudulent money mule transactions, preventing a total loss of €12.9 million.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/228-arrests-and-over-3800-money-mules-identified-in-global-action-against-money-laundering

More information on money mules is at –

https://www.europol.europa.eu/activities-services/public-awareness-and-prevention-guides/money-muling

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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FATF: FOLLOW-UP AML/CFT ASSESSMENT REPORT ON SPAIN

On 4th December, FATF published the 5th annual follow-up report on Spain following its mutual evaluation in 2014.  To reflect the country’s progress, the FATF has re-rated Spain on 2 of the Immediate Outcomes (IO) that measure a country’s effectiveness in applying FATF Recommendations.

IO.4 – Spain is now achieving a substantial level of effectiveness in ensuring that financial institutions and lawyers, real estate agents and other non-financial businesses and professions apply preventive measures to address the money laundering and terrorist financing risks they face, and report suspicious transactions.  Consequently, FATF re-rated Spain from Moderate to Substantial.

IO.11 – Spain is now achieving a substantial level of effectiveness in preventing persons and entities involved in the proliferation of WMD from raising, moving and using funds, consistent with the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.  Therefore, FATF re-rated Spain from Moderate to Substantial.

FATF points out that Spain is now achieving high or substantial levels of effectiveness on 10 of the 11 IO, and must now focus on the remaining one, by strengthening the effectiveness of its measure to prevent terrorists and terrorist organisations from raising, moving and using funds and from abusing the non-profit sector.  It will remain in 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/fur/Follow-Up-Assessment-Spain-2019.pdf

spain

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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NEW ZEALAND POLICE RELEASES AML/CFT NATIONAL RISK ASSESSMENT

On 4th December, the New Zealand police National Risk Assessment of Money Laundering and Terrorism Financing said that trusts are “extremely attractive” vehicles for money laundering and terrorism financing, as it helps hide the identify of beneficial owners.  The government is seeking cabinet approval for policy proposals aimed at improving the transparency of the beneficial owners of New Zealand companies – but these exclude trusts from strengthened beneficial ownership requirements.  The assessment places trusts at the same level as companies and other business structures in terms of their vulnerabilities to transnational money laundering.

https://www.regulationasia.com/new-zealand-police-releases-aml-ctf-assessment/

The NRA can be accessed at –

https://www.police.govt.nz/sites/default/files/publications/fiu-nra-2019.pdf

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GLOBAL WEB OF FIRMS FOR FRAUDSTERS CREATED BY BRITISH COMPANY FORMATIONS HOUSE

On 4th December, KYC 360 reported on businesses, banks and tax havens used by international crime gangs and fraudsters has been created by a family-owned company formation agent in the UK.  It says that leaked documents show links to businesses set up by Formations House, a London-based company that establishes and helps to manage companies, and scams involving more than £300 million – including vintage wine frauds, fake stock market tipsters, dodgy gold and diamond traders, overpriced land investment schemes and a Hollywood heist carried out by a bogus aristocrat.  Directors of at least 40 UK companies that it created have been disqualified after allegations of wrongdoing.  The head of the company is quoted as saying that, like all other formation agents in our industry, it had no control over the actions of companies and their directors after it has provided its formation service, and that the company carried out AML/CFT checks.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/global-web-of-firms-for-fraudsters-created-by-british-company-formations-house/

https://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/investigations/article237638859.html

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 3

3rd December 2019

MODERN SLAVERY: THE ADVENT OF LEGISLATION AFFECTING CORPORATIONS

On 2nd December, International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, Eversheds Sutherland published an article which says that a handful of developed economies have enacted legislation mandating certain businesses to ensure the respect of human rights in their entire supply chains, leading to an increasing emphasis on modern slavery compliance among a growing number of businesses internationally, with a push for even stricter compliance standard gaining momentum.  The article looks at legislation enacted in California, the UK, France, Australia and the Netherlands.  It warns that human rights violations in corporate supply chains are an expanding area of scrutiny and reputational risk that all companies, not only global corporations, will be facing.

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=164dd149-498b-4ff8-a6c7-bc9b3af9cd6b

IRELAND: NEW AML/CFT REGULATIONS

On 2nd December, A&L Goodbody published an article about the European Union (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Regulations 2019 which amend the Criminal Justice (Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing) Act 2010 and are effective from 18th November.  The most important change made, it says, is the need for designated businesses to have a whistleblower facility in place – to be able to report a contravention of the 2010 Act internally through a specific, independent and anonymous channel.  The competent authorities – the Central Bank in the case of a financial services provider, or the Law Society in the case of a solicitor – supervising designated persons have a duty to co-operate with competent authorities in other Member States to ensure the effective supervision of designated persons.  The new Regulations create a criminal offence of failing to inform a competent authority where certain persons are convicted of offences under the 2010 Act, or of other offences relating to banking, investment of funds and other financial activities.

https://www.algoodbody.com/insights-publications/new-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-regulations

https://www.mccannfitzgerald.com/knowledge/financial-services-regulation/whistleblowing-under-the-new-anti-money-laundering-regulations

THE ART WORLD AND THE FIFTH MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE

An article from Rahman Ravelli on 19th November examined the effect of the new Directive on the arts business.  It says that a recent Transparency International report concluded that laundered money is frequently being invested in art.  In January, the new Directive takes effect in the UK.  Whilst the arts trade is already caught by AML/CFT legislation, changes expand the scope of obliged entities beyond the high-value dealer category to include art intermediaries for transactions exceeding €10,000, including art galleries, auction houses and free ports; and all transactions exceeding €10,000 are covered, regardless of whether they involve cash, bank transfer, cheque or other payment method.  Dealers and intermediaries therefore must establish the identity of their client (including any beneficial ownership if the client is a company), obtain documentation to support identification and examine the potential risk of money laundering.

https://www.rahmanravelli.co.uk/articles/the-artworld-and-the-fifth-money-laundering-directive/

UK: EUROPEAN ARREST WARRANT EXTRADITION QUASHED IN BEST INTERESTS OF CHILDREN

On 2nd December, the regular blog on court decisions from 6KBW College Hill reported that the extradition of a woman to Sweden had been stopped by the High Court on the grounds that it would not be a proportionate interference with the Applicant’s Article 8 ECHR rights and those of her children to order her extradition.  Fresh evidence had demonstrated that the uprooting of the children from their stable environment in the UK to go and live with their grandmother in Mongolia would be very disruptive and a significant increased interference with their family life.

https://blog.6kbw.com/posts/weekly-digest-2-december-2019

NAMIBIA CITIZENSHIP AND RESIDENCY BY INVESTMENT PROGRAMMES ARE COMING

On 17th October, Discus Holdings published an article saying that the government plans to offer citizenship and residency for foreign pensioners in exchange for an investment in “Namibia’s failing economy”.  It is said that the government has decided to offer different solutions for foreign pensioners to obtain residence visas with easy access, and to to extend the validity of the working visas (employment permits) from the current 2 years to a minimum of 5 years.

https://www.discusholdings.com/2019/10/17/namibia-citizenship-residency-by-investment-program/

LEBANESE SHIPBUILDING EXECUTIVE FOUND NOT GUILTY IN US ON FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES RELATED TO $2 BILLION OF DEBT DEALS IN MOZAMBIQUE

On 3rd December, KYC 360 reported that Jean Boustani, a salesman for shipbuilder Privinvest Group, was found not guilty on charges of wire fraud, securities fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering related to the debt raised to pay for contracts between Privinvest and Mozambique.  He had been arrested in January and indicted alongside 3 Credit Suisse AG bankers, another Privinvest employee and 3 Mozambican officials.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/shipbuilding-executive-found-not-guilty-in-mozambique-debt-fraud-trial/

US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT PROPOSES RULE TO REVIEW BROAD RANGE OF ICTS TRANSACTIONS

A briefing from Wilmer Hale on 2nd December says that the Department of Commerce issued a long-awaited proposed rule implementing new restrictions designed to protect the US information and communications technology and services (ICTS) supply chain from foreign threats.  It would establish a regulatory review process for ordinary commercial transactions involving ICTS, and is open for public comment to 27th December.

https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/insights/client-alerts/20191202-commerce-department-proposes-rule-to-review-broad-range-of-icts-transactions

SHIPPING: AN INTRODUCTION TO MARSHALL ISLANDS FLAG

On 19th November, Vantage Asia published an article which set out to provide a guide to the ship register which is one of the top 3 largest ship registries in the world by deadweight tonnage, and represents a very significant number of the world’s commercial shipping fleet, though its also accommodates yachts.

https://www.vantageasia.com/introduction-marshall-islands-flag/

FBI “MOST WANTED” ALLEGED DOMINICAN DRUG KINGPIN IS ARRESTED IN COLOMBIA

On 2nd December, the Daily Mail reported that a Dominican man, who was listed on the FBI’s most wanted list, has been arrested Cartagena.  César Emilio Peralta, 44, was reportedly planning on flying to Panama to continue to evade capture before authorities apprehended him.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7748311/Alleged-Dominican-drug-kingpin-arrested-Colombia.html

UKRAINE SEIZES JAPANESE ARTEFACTS SMUGGLED INTO UKRAINE
On 2nd December, UNIAN reported that SBU, the Security Service of Ukraine has revealed the illegal import of items of historical and cultural value from East Asia, with the batch of Japanese artefacts being worth nearly $300,000, after 3 container arrived from Japan.

https://www.unian.info/society/10777004-this-is-only-the-beginning-zelensky-announces-the-launch-of-electronic-driver-s-license-e-registration.html

HMRC SEES 49% RISE IN RECOVERED “SIN TAXES”

On 2nd December, The Drinks Business reported that investigations into ‘sin tax’ avoidance on booze, fags and gambling helped boost the UK government’s coffers by 49% to £3.9 billion, according to the latest analysis, as fears rise that a no-deal Brexit may increase bootlegging.

https://www.thedrinksbusiness.com/2019/12/hmrc-sees-49-rise-in-recovered-sin-tax-avoidance/

US VOWS 100% TARIFFS ON FRENCH CHAMPAGNE, CHEESE, HANDBAGS IN ROW OVER DIGITAL TAX

On 3rd December, EurActiv reported that the US government has said it may slap punitive duties of up to 100% on $2.4 billion in imports from France of Champagne, handbags, cheese and other products, after concluding that France’s new digital services tax would harm US tech companies, under its so-called “Section 301” process.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/us-vows-100-tariffs-on-french-champagne-cheese-handbags-over-digital-tax/

NON-DISCLOSURE AGREEMENTS – WHERE ARE WE NOW?

On 29th November, Morton Fraser published an article reviewing the position over NDA.  It refers to the Solicitors Regulatory Authority warning and guidance on the use of NDA for solicitors practising in England and Wales in March 2018.   While only directly applicable to solicitors qualified in England and Wales its content is relevant to all.   It cautions solicitors against drafting an NDA as a means of preventing or seeking to impede or deter a person from co-operating with a criminal investigation or proceedings, making various forms of report, or influencing the substance of such a report, disclosure or co-operation.  It must not be used as a means of improperly threatening litigation or other adverse consequences, or otherwise exerting influence over an individual not to make a proper disclosure.  This was followed by a Practice Note from the Law Society in January, and a government consultation in March.  Then, in October, the Equality and Human Rights Commission published guidance for employers on the use of confidentiality agreements in discrimination cases.

https://www.morton-fraser.com/knowledge-hub/non-disclosure-agreements

IMF STATEMENT ON CURACAO AND ST MAARTEN

On 2nd December, the IMF published what is terms a Concluding Statement at the end of an Article IV Mission to the two places.  Such a statement describes the preliminary findings of IMF staff at the end of an official staff visit (or ‘mission’).  It says, amongst other things, that both countries (which come under the Kingdom of the Netherlands) need improvements in governance frameworks.  It says that the recent passage of AML/CFT legislation in Sint Maarten is an important step in the right direction.  In both countries, effective implementation of the AML/CFT framework will be key for reducing risks.  Both countries need to provide adequate resources to the relevant AML/CFT entities and increase public awareness of the issues, e.g. through a national forum.  The national risks assessments in both countries will be instrumental for detecting gaps.  To reduce opportunities for corruption, both countries need to strengthen institutions and ensure strong implementation of existing laws and procedures.  The authorities should make efforts to operationalise the Integrity Chambers.

https://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2019/12/02/mcs120219-the-kingdom-of-the-netherlands-curacao-and-sint-maarten-staff-concluding-statement

PHILIPPINE REGULATORS SEEK TOUGHER AML LAWS

On 3rd December, BNN Bloomberg reported that financial regulators are pushing for legal changes in order to avoid the Philippines being placed on the FATF global monitoring list for countries with weak AML/CFT controls.  It is said that the government needs to implement the changes by October or risk being placed on a “grey”, the Philippines Anti-Money Laundering Council said.  The changes would impose additional restrictions on international banking transactions involving Philippine nationals, and the article lists some of the changes said to be needed.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/philippine-regulators-seek-tougher-anti-money-laundering-laws-1.1356518

HMRC REFUSES TO SAY HOW MUCH TAX HAS BEEN PAID ON £12 BILLION ASSETS LINKED TO THE GADAFFI SINCE THEY WERE FROZEN IN 2011

On 3rd December, an article in the Belfast Newsletter said that HMRC revealed in June that it has taken £17 million in tax from the assets since the start of the 2016-17 tax year.  It says that over 150 victims of Semtex explosive supplied by Libya to the IRA are campaigning for compensation from Libya, which has already paid compensation to French, German and American victims of terror attacks it sponsored.  When asked under the Freedom of Information Act to disclose the full amount it has taken in tax each year since 2011, HMRC declined to say.

https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/hmrc-refuses-to-say-total-tax-on-frozen-gaddafi-assets-1-9161779

VICTIMS OF ONECOIN PUSH ONCE AGAIN FOR ALTERNATIVE SERVICE ON RUJA IGNATOVA AND OTHER DEFENDANTS

Finance Feeds on 3rd December reported that, about a month after the New York Southern District Court denied a motion by the victims of cryptocurrency scheme OneCoin for alternative service to a number of defendants in the case, the plaintiffs have now renewed their motion.

https://financefeeds.com/victims-onecoin-push-alternative-service-ruja-ignatova/

NCA AGREES £190 MILLION SETTLEMENT INVESTIGATION INTO PAKISTAN FROZEN FUNDS

On 3rd December, a news release from the NCA advised that it had agreed a settlement figure with a family that owns large property developments in Pakistan and elsewhere.  The settlement is the result of an investigation by the NCA into Malik Riaz Hussain, a Pakistani national, whose business is one of the biggest private sector employers in Pakistan, and after 8 freezing orders were obtained in August, which followed an earlier freezing order in December 2018 linked to the same investigation for £20 million.  It is said that the assets will be repatriated to Pakistan.

https://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/nca-agrees-190m-settlement-after-frozen-funds-investigation-3

MACAO CASINO BOSS SEES NEPHEW JAILED FOR 8 YEARS ON PROSTITUTION CHARGES

On 3rd December, Calvin Ayre reported that the prostitution ring apparently operated under the title of “Young Single Ladies” and reportedly occupied over 100 rooms on the 5th and 6th floors of the Hotel Lisboa.  Prostitutes, acting as freelancers, would pay the hotel around US$22,800 per year for the right to operate in the hotel without too much interference.  Alan Ho Yao Luan is the nephew of famous casino owner, Stanley Ho.  He was originally sentenced to 13 months in march 2016, but a prosecution appeal had resulted in an 8-year sentence.  However, he is believed to have left Macao following his release in 2016 and it is unclear whether a global manhunt will be required to ensure he serves his new sentence.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/12/03/casino/stanley-ho-nephew-sentenced-eight-years-prostitution/

JAPAN’S AS-YET UNBUILT CASINOS – PLANS FOR WITHHOLDING TAXES ON GAMBLING WINNINGS BY FOREIGN VISITORS AND TRACKING OF CHIPS BOUGHT AND REDEEMED BY PLAYERS

On 3rd December, Calvin Ayre revealed plans for the planned, but as yet unbuilt, land-based casinos.  It is said that the government wants to ensure that foreign gamblers pay the withholding tax on their winnings before they leave the country.  The current plan is for the application process for 3 integrated resort licences to get underway on January 2021.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/12/02/casino/japan-casinos-track-gamblers-chip-purchases-redemptions/

AUSTRALIA IS CREATING A NEW INTELLIGENCE TASK FORCE TO TACKLE THE THREAT OF FOREIGN INTERFERENCE

On 2nd December, the Wall Street Journal reported that the task force, to be led by the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO), will pool classified information from the country’s intelligence agencies including those involved in defence, cyber and financial crimes as well as the Australian Federal Police.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/spooked-by-china-australias-spies-pursue-new-bonds-11575290549

FUGITIVE UKRAINIAN LAWMAKER ONYSHCHESAID TO BE NKO DETAINED IN GERMANY

Ukrainian website Hromadske International reported on 3rd December that Oleksandr Onyshchenko, wanted in connection with the embezzlement of $59 million from a Ukrainian state-owned energy company, has been detained in Germany.

https://en.hromadske.ua/posts/fugitive-ukrainian-lawmaker-detained-in-germany

SWISS PROSECUTOR RUNNING BRIBERY PROBE AGAINST BENY STEINMETZ VISITED ISRAEL SECRETLY TWICE

Haaretz on 3rd December reported that the Geneva prosecutor who has led the global investigation against Steinmetz and 2 associates over the alleged payment of bribes linked to the allocation of mining licenses in Guinea between 2005 and 2010.  It says that the investigation is being conducted by authorities in Switzerland, Israel, US and Guinea.

https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-swiss-prosecutor-probing-israeli-mogul-s-alleged-bribery-visited-israel-secretly-1.8218744

FRANCE ADDS SEYCHELLES TO ITS TAX-HAVEN BLACKLIST

On 3rd December, All Africa reported that France has added Seychelles to its blacklist of tax havens because the island nation did not provide adequate information about some French offshore entities operating in the jurisdiction.  The blacklisting is said to be specifically about Seychelles’ co-operation (or lack of it) with regards to exchange of information between the countries.  Anguilla, BVI and the Bahamas are also on the list.

https://allafrica.com/stories/201912031018.html

CORRUPTION SCANDALS PLAGUE PHILIPPINES’ SOUTH-EAST ASIAN GAMES

On 3rd December, Deutsche Welle reported that faulty preparations, co-ordination mishaps and photos of unfinished facilities for the Games have raised questions about the mismanagement of the $146-million budget.  The SEA Games opened in Manila on 30th November.  Alongside corruption scandals, the capture of the Aeta community’s lands for the games has also made headlines in the Philippines.

https://www.dw.com/en/corruption-scandals-plague-philippines-southeast-asian-games/a-51517693

TAIWAN: AUTHORITIES ARREST 8 MEMBERS OF ALLEGED TELECOM FRAUD RING

In its 4th December edition, the Taipei Times reported that 8 people suspected of involvement in a cross-border telecommunications fraud operation have been arrested in police raids of 3 call centres which were allegedly involved in defrauding people in China by having callers pose as public security officials to persuade them to part with their money.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2019/12/04/2003726936

BULGARIA TO EXTRADITE ISRAELI CITIZEN TO AUSTRIA OVER ALLEGED CYBERCRIME

On 2nd December, the Sofia Globe reported that a court in Bulgaria has ruled to extradite Israeli citizen Gal Barak to the Austrian judicial authorities.  Barak was detained in Bulgaria earlier this year during an attempt to cross the border into Serbia.

https://sofiaglobe.com/2019/12/02/bulgaria-to-extradite-israeli-citizen-to-austria-over-alleged-cybercrime

DOES THE MINING INDUSTRY HAVE A FUTURE IN ZIMBABWE?

On 3rd December, Eversheds Sutherland published an article follows the announcement in March of the real of the 2008 Act which states that 51% of mines must be black Zimbabwean-owned, thereby limiting foreign ownership.  This was said to be driven by feedback received from investors and how this law impacted on their investment decisions – although the article says that though this was the primary motivation to amend the law, it was not the only factor.  However, the article notes, the amendment of the law does not apply to diamonds and platinum, and Zimbabwe’s primary commodities are platinum-group metals, coal, gold and diamonds; and that historically, Zimbabwe has separated its diamond laws from its other mineral laws.  After reviewing the situation, the article concludes by saying that it is hoped that there will be radical overall change of the mining laws in Zimbabwe to facilitate a thriving mining sector.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/global/South-africa/Does_the_mining_industry_have_a_future_in_Zimbabwe

ELECTRONIC WASTE – THE TOXIC LEGACY OF OUR DIGITAL AGE

An article from Eversheds Sutherland on 3rd December reflected on the problems caused by the world’s fastest-growing waste stream: electronic and electrical waste, or “e-waste”.  It says that, while an important potential source of valuable raw materials, e-waste is problematic largely due to the toxicity of some of the substances that make up the components of the device, which if handled and discarded improperly, can be harmful to human health and cause significant pollution and environmental degradation. This toxicity, coupled with the complexity of the chemical composition of each item makes recycling difficult.  The article contains some alarming statistics on e-waste, and then goes on to detail some of the hazards and risks from the waste.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/global/South-africa/Electronic_waste-The_toxic_legacy_of_our_digital_age

 

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US DoJ ANNOUNCES INDICTMENT CHARGING RUSSIANS, ITALIANS AND OTHERS WITH ATTEMPTING TO EVADE SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

A news release on 3rd December from the DoJ advised that a newly unsealed superseding indictment has charged Russian and Italian nationals, a US citizen and various companies in a conspiracy to evade international trade sanctions, as well as conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and conspiracy to commit money laundering.  The DoJ links the indictments to the enforcement of US restrictions on exports to Russia’s oil and gas industry.  The indictment refers to the purchase of a Vectra 40G power turbine from a US-based manufacturer, to be used on a Russian Arctic deepwater (greater than 500 feet) drilling platform.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/department-justice-announces-indictment-charging-russians-italians-and-others-attempting

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CFATF PUBLIC STATEMENT ON SINT MAARTEN

On 29th November, the Caribbean FATF (the relevant FATF-style regional body) published a statement following its Plenary in Antigua & Barbuda.  In the statement, CFATF said that it recognised the progress made by the Dutch island nation of Sint Maarten to date in addressing the deficiencies identified in its Mutual Evaluation Report.  However, CFATF is concerned by failure to address remaining deficiencies in its AML/CFT regime following the High-Level Mission that visited the country in August 2018 and the CFATF Plenary’s requirement to overcome such deficiencies by February 2019.  CFATF urges Sint Maarten to immediately address its AML/CFT deficiencies, including by bringing the necessary outstanding legislation into force and effect.  In the event of failure to act on this requirement, CFATF may call its member jurisdictions to apply countermeasures on the country in order to protect their financial systems from the ongoing risks emanating from Sint Maarten.  The next CFATF Plenary will review if additional progress has been made by Sint Maarten.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/high-risk-and-other-monitored-jurisdictions/documents/cfatf-public-statement-nov-2019.html

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OFAC ADDS 6 VESSELS TO VENEZUELA SANCTIONS LIST AND AMENDS 1 EXISTING ENTRY

On 3rd December, OFAC announced that it had added 6 oil and products tankers to its sanctions lists, all flying the Venezuelan or Panama flag.  It also advised amendment of the entry for one Greek-flagged crude oil tanker, the former Nedas now renamed Esperanza.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20191203.aspx

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm841

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CURRENT CHALLENGES TO MULTILATERAL EXPORT CONTROLS – SUCH AS MTCR AND WASSENAAR ARRANGEMENT

On 3rd December, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute published a new report on the challenges facing multilateral export control regimes.  These are groups of states that co-ordinate their controls on exports of proliferation-relevant goods, technologies and military items, and there are 4 main regimes —

  • the Australia Group (on chemical and biological weapons);
  • the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR);
  • the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG); and
  • the Wassenaar Arrangement on Export Controls for Conventional Arms and Dual-use Goods and Technologies

These groupings play a key role in setting norms for supply-side non-proliferation policies and state behaviour.  However, the report says that there has traditionally been limited official engagement between the regimes, with member countries generally using other fora and means to actually co-ordinate their systems.  The report makes the case for using more formalised inter-regime dialogue meetings, particularly to address the difficulties in controlling emerging technologies with cross-regime relevance and co-ordinating the production of guidance materials.

sipri

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2019-12/1912_regime_dialogue_brockmann.pdf

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ASSESSING THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE US SMALL-ARMS EXPORT REGIME

On 2nd December, a post on the Lawfare blog on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for FY 2020 and a Trump administration proposal to loosen export controls on firearms.  Already a huge exporter of firearms and ammunition, the proposal would transfer control over the export of firearms and related technology from the State Department to the Commerce Department.  The differences between the current and proposed regimes, the post says, could have significant implications for the global trade in small arms, particularly in conflicts across Latin America and the Middle East; although the post also says that the current system is itself “porous” in practice.  Under the proposal, only fully automatic firearms, shotguns, and their ammunition and related technology would remain under State Department control.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/assessing-trump-administrations-proposed-changes-small-arms-export-regime

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HOW EU COMPANIES ARE SIDESTEPPING SANCTIONS AND MAKING MONEY ON THE CRIMEAN PENINSULA

An article from Rferl on 3rd December provides examples of EU-domiciled companies that have operated and invested in Crimea since the adoption of EU sanctions, with scores of European companies – primarily offshore holding entities – being involved.  These include EU businesses owned by tycoons and former officials in both Russia and Ukraine, many of which have invested and conducted business in sectors prohibited by EU sanctions, such as tourism and transportation.  For example, it is said that one Cyprus company that controls a hotel in Crimea belongs to a British subsidiary of the US-based Bank of New York Mellon Inc.  However, Cyprus in particular is labelled as having a lax approach to sanctions enforcement.

https://www.rferl.org/a/crimea-how-eu-firms-sidestepping-sanctions-making-money-on-peninsula/30303687.html

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GLOBAL VAT GUIDE 2019 – CROSS-BORDER SUPPLIES OF INTANGIBLE SERVICES, RIGHTS AND DIGITAL CONTENT

On 28th November, DLA Piper published the 4th edition of this guide to various forms of e-commerce and VAT provisions that affect it.  The guide is said to follow recent developments, including important VAT changes concerning e-commerce (coming into effect in 2019 and 2021); essential developments in the EU Mini One Stop Shop procedure; and the relevant current tax regulations in different countries regarding the supply of intangibles.  The previous editions from 2014, 2015 and 2016 are also available online.

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2019/11/global-digital-services-vat-guide

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 2

2nd December 2019

5 COUNTERFEIT HOTSPOTS IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC THAT BRAND OWNERS MUST BE AWARE OF

On 26th November, a World Trademark Review article on Lexology listed 5 locations in Czechia – said to be the world’s 7th worst places when it comes to the exporting of counterfeit goods to the EU – identified as the physical marketplaces that rights-holders must be aware of.  It includes the “Little Hanoi” trading centre in Prague and a duty-free zone near the Austrian border.

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=91447d36-1709-4065-ae6e-d8796b503397

HOW TO SELECT A DUE DILIGENCE PROVIDER

On 6th November, an article from the Red Ensign Group website saying that, over the years, the compliance industry has been flooded by many boutique due diligence ‘providers’, some of whom have limited knowledge, expertise and understanding of the industry.  It says that there are many questions you must ask yourself before selecting your due diligence provider, the article providing examples of such questions.

https://insights.redflaggroup.com/articles/how-to-select-a-due-diligence-provider

WHAT DOES THE FBI REGARD AS THE MAIN CYBERCRIMES? A CLOSER LOOK AT THE TYPOLOGIES

On 22nd November, Australian law firm Nyman Gibson Miralis published a briefing which discusses the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)’s Internet Crime Report 2018, which is concerned with the Center’s efforts in monitoring trending scams such as Business Email Compromise (BEC), Extortion, Tech Support Fraud, and Payroll Diversion.

https://ngm.com.au/fbi-cybercrimes-typologies/

MOZAMBIQUE: HOW A CREDIT SUISSE BANKER HELPED FUEL AN ALLEGED $2 BILLION DEBT FRAUD

On 2nd December, KYC 360 reported on Andrew Pearse, 50, of Credit Suisse and a $370 million coastal security contract between Mozambique and Privinvest Group, a shipbuilder owned by Lebanese billionaire Iskandar Safa.  He was arrested in London in January and he pleaded guilty in Brooklyn federal court to wire fraud, saying he conspired to defraud investors in the Mozambique deals.  His former lover, Detelina Subeva, and another former Credit Suisse colleague, Surjan Singh, both pleaded guilty to laundering illicit funds.  However, a Privinvest spokesman said that no bribes were paid and Privinvest is proud of its work in Mozambique.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/for-love-and-money-in-mozambique-how-a-credit-suisse-banker-helped-fuel-an-alleged-2-billion-debt-fraud/

https://www.wsj.com/articles/for-love-and-money-in-mozambique-how-a-credit-suisse-banker-helped-fuel-an-alleged-2-billion-debt-fraud-11575227078

FILIPINO

http://info.hktdc.com/infographic/Philippines/en/index.html

HMRC LACKS STAFF TO INVESTIGATE OVER 5.7 MILLION OFFSHORE TIP-OFFS

On 2nd December, International Investment reported that the information is coming from 100 countries under the Common Reporting Standards (CRS) agreed by the OECD, which are designed to stop tax evasion, or avoidance, by making governments aware of overseas money held by their citizens.  The article reports that BDO has said that HMRC is instead sending out a series of “nudge” letters to the people named asking them to send details of their financial affairs in an attempt to uncover incidents of tax evasion.  It also says that HMRC made 540 requests to overseas authorities for information on UK taxpayers last year, an increase of 24% on the previous year.

https://www.internationalinvestment.net/news/4007561/hmrc-lacks-staff-investigate-million-offshore-tip-offs

COPYCAT WINE LABELS IMPERSONATING FAMOUS BRANDS WILL BE PLACED ON A DIRECTORY TO PROTECT AUSTRALIAN EXPORTS

The Western Suburbs Weekly in Australia on 2nd December reported that the government had introduced legislation to federal parliament creating the wine label intellectual property directory.  The new directory would be publicly accessible and require wine exporters to submit images of labels before being given export certification.

https://www.communitynews.com.au/western-suburbs-weekly/news/push-to-put-cork-in-wine-label-copycats/

GERMAN BUSINESS AWAITS INTERNAL-INVESTIGATION PROTOCOLS

On 2nd December, CMS Germany reported that lawmakers are expected to pass the Corporate Sanctions Law within the coming year, and German businesses are expected to adopt comprehensive protocols for internal investigations in order to comply with this new and potentially high-risk regulatory climate and will cause public prosecutors to investigate corporations if evidence of malfeasance is detected in the way of corruption, regulatory violations or financial crimes, and will dramatically increase the penalties against a business.  As a result, it has been recommended that businesses lose no time in preparing systems to investigate wrongdoing internally should evidence come to light.

https://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2019/12/german-business-awaits-internal-investigation-protocols?cc_lang=en

CHINA APPROVES SYMBOLIC SANCTIONS AGAINST THE US IN RESPONSE TO PRO-DEMOCRACY HONG KONG LEGISLATION

On 2nd December, National Review and others reported that China will impose new diplomatic sanctions against the US in response to Congress’s show of support for Hong Kong protesters, but will avoid economic sanctions.  It has banned US military ships and aircraft from stopping over in Hong Kong and announced sanctions on US non-profit organisations.  President Trump has signed into law the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which allows the US to sanction Chinese officials.

https://www.nationalreview.com/news/china-approves-symbolic-sanctions-against-u-s-in-response-to-pro-democracy-hong-kong-legislation/

US: ANTIQUITIES DEALER CHARGED WITH SEVERAL COUNTS OF SMUGGLING LOOTED CAMBODIAN ARTEFACTS

The Eleven Media Group on 2nd December reported that antiquities dealer Douglas Latchford has been charged in the Southern District of New York.  He has been charged with wire fraud, substantive wire fraud, smuggling, conspiracy to commit an offence against the US, entry of goods by false statements and one count of aggravated identity theft.  It is said that Latchford has dual British and Thai citizenship.

https://elevenmyanmar.com/news/dealer-charged-with-artefact-smuggling

UK: REGULATORY BURDEN ON CONVEYANCING SOLICITORS IS GROWING

An article in the Law Society Gazette on 2nd December reported that a new regime for property agents is set to place a responsibility on solicitors to spot illegal activity by agents, and this is in addition to their own duties to prevent money laundering.  It says that solicitors also have a role in effecting a ‘cultural change’ in the conveyancing process, whereby agreements between the parties should reduce the risk of a sale falling through – adding to pressure on those involved.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/features/putting-the-house-in-order/5102339.article

UK: KEY QUESTIONS REMAIN AS NEW AML REGIME LOOMS

An article in the Law Society Gazette on 2nd December reported on a recent conference in which it was said that, with new EU Directives coming into force and little guidance for firms on compliance, even AML experts are struggling to stay on top.  It says that there are 2 pressing deadlines of 2020 –

  • 10th January, when changes introduced by the EU 5th AML Directive must be implemented in domestic law; and
  • 31st August, when the first batches of reports required under the EU Directive on cross-border tax arrangements (DAC 6) must be made.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news-focus/news-focus-key-questions-remain-as-new-aml-regime-looms/5102350.article

BENEFICIAL OWNERS, OFFICERS AND MANAGERS OF LAW FIRMS TO FACE DBS CHECKS

Another article said that new requirements are likely to include inspection of ‘evidence of suitability’ when approving appointments to key roles in law firms.  This would include a basic Disclosure and Barring Service check to show that individuals have not been convicted of an offence that would bar them.   The roles affected are so-called BOOM – beneficial owners, officers and managers. The director of AML at the Solicitors Regulatory Authority stressed that the change was required for the regulator to comply with the EU 5th AML Directive.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/beneficial-owners-of-firms-to-face-dbs-checks/5102356.article

MORE BOARD MEMBERS RESIGN FROM VATICAN CITY FIU

On 2nd December, the Daily Stock Dish reported that board members of the Vatican’s Financial Information Authority (AIF) have resigned, with one describing it as an “empty shell”.  This comes after it was announced that Rene Bruelhart, president of the AIF, would be leaving and that his successor has already been appointed, just weeks after unprecedented internal police raids on both his organisation and the Vatican’s Secretariat of State.  The AIF continues to be a member of the Egmont Group, but will no longer enjoy access to the secure communications network used to share confidential information against money laundering and other financial crimes.

https://dailystockdish.com/leaders-resign-from-empty-shell-vatican-financial-oversight-organization/

US DoJ HAS ACCELERATED ITS PROBE INTO DEUTSCHE BANK’S PARTICIPATION IN THE $220 BILLION DANSKE BANK MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME

PYMNTS.com on 2nd December reported a Reuters article saying that the DoJ is investigating if Germany’s largest bank assisted with moving dirty money to the US from Denmark’s largest lender.  A Danske Bank spokesman confirmed that it is working with the authorities in the US, Estonia, Denmark and France.

https://www.pymnts.com/news/security-and-risk/2019/deutsche-money-laundering-probe-accelerated/

UK: FCA SAID TO BE INVESTIGATION 2 E-MONEY FIRMS

On 2nd December, Payments Compliance reported that the FCA regulator were undertaking money laundering investigations at 2 e-money institutions.

https://paymentscompliance.com/premium-content/insights_analysis/fca-investigating-two-e-money-firms-money-laundering-breaches

INDIA TO POST CUSTOMS INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS IN LONDON AND HONG KONG TO CHECK FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

On 2nd December, India Today reported that the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), the lead agency to check customs frauds and smuggling, has started the process of selecting customs overseas intelligence network (COIN) officers.  It is said that COIN officers play an important role in checking trade-based money laundering and other financial frauds originating from abroad.

https://www.indiatoday.in/business/story/india-to-post-customs-intelligence-officers-in-london-hong-kong-to-check-money-laundering-1624437-2019-12-02

DJIBOUTI: AN EMERGING EAST AFRICAN TRADING HUB

An article on HK TDC on 2nd December featured Djibouti, one of the smallest countries in East Africa, strategically located at the mouth of the Red Sea but with few natural resources and little industrial activities.  The article says that Djibouti’s economy depends heavily on logistics services and trade through its international port and, in a bid to transform itself into a commercial trading hub for the broader region, the country has invested in projects across the road, rail, port and airport sectors. In particular, there has been an expanding economic footprint from China in the country, with many projects driven by the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

DJIBOUTI

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Economists-Pick-Research-Articles/Djibouti-An-Emerging-East-African-Trading-Hub/rp/en/1/1X32LK39/1X0AJ9YB.htm

WHAT’S GOING ON IN MALTA? A GUIDE TO THE PM’S EXIT AND DAPHNE CARUANA GALIZIA’S KILLING

An article in the Globe & Mail in Canada on 2nd December sets out to explain the background to the ongoing developments in Malta.

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-malta-pm-muscat-resignation-daphne-caruana-galizia-explainer

FORMER FIRST DEPUTY CHIEF OF THE RUSSIAN STATE GEOLOGICAL COMPANY (ROSGEO) PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD

RAPSI in Russia reported on 2nd December that Ruslan Gorring had pleaded guilty to accepting bribes from a businessman for the unhindered carrying out commercial activity in the Moscow Region’s Leninsky District.  Arrested in 2011, he fled, changed his name, noy to be rearrested at a Moscow airport in March 2019.

http://rapsinews.com/judicial_news/20191202/305132831.html

UK: US EMBASSY EXTRADITION REQUEST FOR EX-AUTONOMY BOSS OVER HPE FRAUD CHARGES

On 2nd December, The Register reported that the US Embassy in London has filed a request to extradite ex-Autonomy boss Mike Lynch to face charges of wire fraud.

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2019/12/02/us_embassy_files_extradition_request_for_mike_lynch

UK STATEMENT ON COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO (BAT) OVER OECD EMPLOYMENT, HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT GUIDELINES

On 2nd December, the Department for International Trade published a final statement from the UK National Contact Point (UK NCP) which examined the allegations put forward by the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers’ Associations (IUF) and the Farm Labor Organizing Committee (FLOC) that BAT is linked to alleged breaches of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.  The UK NCP finds that BAT did meet the obligations, but that there are still issues which need to be addressed by the company to ensure that these are acted on appropriately and it makes recommendations to BAT.  The UK NCP will issue a follow-up report to this final statement in April 2020.  The complaint also refers to a second company, Reynolds American Inc (RAI), which, at the time the complaint was made in 2016, was part owned by BAT.  In 2017, BAT went on to acquire the remaining shares in RAI.  The allegations involved migrant workers involved in the harvesting of tobacco crops in North Carolina.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-ncp-final-statement-complaint-from-iuf-and-floc-against-bat/final-statement-complaint-from-iuf-and-floc-against-bat

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-uk-ncp-final-statement-complaint-from-iuf-and-floc-against-bat

Previous UK NCP case statements are available at –

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-national-contact-point-statements

OBSERVER OR SHADOW DIRECTOR? – INVESTORS MUST MAKE SURE THEY KNOW THE DIFFERENCE

An article from Walker Morris on 29th November says that while a “board observer” will not, on the face of it, be a director of the company, care should be exercised by any person that is appointed as an observer as, depending on the level of involvement that they have in the proceedings at directors’ meetings, they may be regarded as a shadow director at which point they incur duties and obligations.  A board observer is where an investor, instead of appointing a director – because of potential conflicts of interest and liability issues – will instead require the right to appoint a board observer, who can attend all board meetings, but who will not participate in any board decisions.

https://www.walkermorris.co.uk/publications/observer-or-shadow-director-investors-must-make-sure-they-know-the-difference/

BERMUDA MONETARY AUTHORITY NOTICE ON CANNABIS-RELATED RISKS FOLLOWING CANADIAN LEGALISATION

On 27th November, Appleby published an article saying that the BMA has confirmed that it will not object to BMA-supervised entities conducting cannabis business with a licensed cannabis cultivator, processor or seller, so long as the conduct of the cannabis business is legal at all levels within the country in which it is operated.  The Notice stresses that it is the BMA-supervised licensed entity’s responsibility to understand the application of foreign laws and be in compliance therewith.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/news/bermuda-monetary-authority-forms-view-on-cannabis-related-risk/

30,506 INTERNET DOMAIN NAMES SHUT DOWN FOR IP INFRINGEMENT

A news release from Europol on 2nd December announced that law enforcement authorities from 18 EU Member States and third parties in a joint investigation with Europol and the US National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, have seized over 30,506 domain names that distributed counterfeit and pirated items over the internet during Operation IOS X.  These included counterfeit pharmaceuticals, pirated movies, illegal TV streaming, music, software, electronics, and other bogus products.  Officials arrested 3 suspects, seized 26,000 luxury products (clothes, perfumes), 363 litres of alcoholic beverages, and many hardware devices.  They identified and froze more than €150 000 in several bank accounts and online payment platforms.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/30-506-internet-domain-names-shut-down-for-intellectual-property-infringement

OVER €30,000 CASH CONFISCATED BY CUSTOMS ON FLIGHT FROM MALTA TO ISTANBUL

Lovin Malta on 2nd December reported that a passenger waiting to board a flight from Malta to Istanbul was discovered to have been carrying a total of €30,761 in undeclared cash.

https://lovinmalta.com/news/over-e30000-confiscated-by-customs-on-flight-from-malta-to-istanbul/

6 KYRGYZSTANIS ARRESTED AT ISTANBUL AIRPORT FOR ELECTRONIC CIGARETTE SMUGGLING

AKI Press on 2nd December reported that 9 suitcases and 6 backpacks were searched by the customs authorities in Turkey during the operation and 7,390 packs of electronic cigarettes found.  Those involved have arrived from Kyrgyzstan.

https://akipress.com/news:629920:6_Kyrgyzstanis_arrested_at_Istanbul_airport_for_electronic_cigarette_smuggling/

UK: LOCAL COUNCIL SECURES £400,000+ CONFISCATION ORDER AGAINST LANDLORD OVER HOUSE IN MULTIPLE OCCUPATION WITH 15 TENANTS

Local Government Lawyer on 2nd December reported that a joint action by Hillingdon Council’s planning enforcement and trading standards teams has seen a Hayes landlord ordered to pay more than £430,000 after she turned her property into an illegal House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).  He was ordered to pay more than £406,000 following confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/housing-law/397-housing-news/42100-council-secures-400k-confiscation-order-against-landlord-over-house-in-multiple-occupation-with-15-tenants

EU AUTHORISED ECONOMIC OPERATOR (AEO) APPLICATIONS ARE NOW DIGITAL

On 1st October, the EU-wide AEO system went digital.  Submission of AEO requests will be made electronic and economic operators will have to submit all new applications electronically.

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/news/aeo-transition-online-system_en

https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/general-information-customs/customs-security/authorised-economic-operator-aeo/authorised-economic-operator-aeo_en

ISLE OF MAN LEGAL GUIDE TO GAMBLING 2020

Appleby has provided the Isle of Man chapter to the ICLG Gambling 2020.  The chapter covers common issues in gambling laws and regulations – including relevant authorities and legislation, application for a licence, licence restrictions, digital media, enforcement, liability and anticipated reforms.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/the-international-comparative-legal-guide-to-gambling-2020-isle-of-man-chapter/

UK: INFORMATION COMMISSIONER CONSULTS ON DRAFT GUIDANCE FOR EXPLAINING USE OF AI IN DECISION-MAKING ABOUT INDIVIDUALS

On 2nd December, Local Government Lawyer reported that the ICO has launched a consultation on new draft guidance for organisations using, or thinking about using, artificial intelligence (AI) to support or make decisions about individuals.  It is said to lay out 4 key principles rooted within the GDPR.

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/information-law/398-information-law-news/42106-information-commissioner-consults-on-draft-guidance-for-explaining-use-of-ai-in-decision-making-about-individuals

The consultation, which runs to 24th January, is at –

https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/ico-and-stakeholder-consultations/ico-and-the-turing-consultation-on-explaining-ai-decisions-guidance/

HMRC PUBLISHES GUIDANCE ON THE TAXATION OF CRYPTOASSETS FOR BUSINESSES

On 2nd December, Eversheds Sutherland published an article saying that on 1st November, HMRC published its much anticipated guidance on the taxation of cryptoassets for businesses.  The guidance sets out HMRC’s view on the taxation of transactions involving cryptoasset exchange tokens (such as Bitcoin) that are undertaken by companies and other businesses (including sole traders and partnerships).  Future guidance will deal with the tax treatment of security tokens and utility tokens.  The guidance only deals with cryptoassests which are exchange tokens. HMRC make clear that they will be separately addressing the tax treatment of security tokens and utility tokens in the future.

https://www.eversheds-sutherland.com/global/en/what/articles/index.page?ArticleID=en/Tax_planning_and_consultancy/crypto-tax-update-011219

MISDECLARED CONTAINER CARGOES ARE WORRYING INSURERS

On 2nd December, Insurance Marine News reported that there are probably more than 6 million undeclared or misdeclared hazardous contents of containers every year, according to the Standard Club’s deputy director for Loss Prevention.  He recommended that carriers should gain more knowledge of their customers, develop strong KYC relationships, take extra care on due diligence and the closer vetting of new shippers, and pay particular attention to freight forwarders and the booking processes of slot charterers.  The cost to the insurance industry was estimated at more than $500 million a year from increased insurance premiums.

https://insurancemarinenews.com/insurance-marine-news/misdeclared-container-cargoes-are-worrying-insurers/

EUROPE UNDER SIEGE AS DRUGS CRIME SYNDICATES PIGGYBACK SUPPLY CHAINS

On 2nd December, American Shipper published a report (with video) saying that maritime, air and overland trade routes into Europe are being piggybacked by criminal gangs deploying the latest digital supply chain technologies to help meet mushrooming demand for illegal drugs across the EU, according to a major new report examining the continent’s illicit drugs business – the 2019 EU Drug Markets Report by EMCDDA and Europol.  The report also says that the use of post and parcel services to transport drugs is also expanding rapidly, following the rising trend of online shopping in Europe and the movement of larger volumes of goods.

https://www.freightwaves.com/news/drugs-war-europe-under-siege-as-crime-syndicates-piggyback-supply-chains-with-video

BELGIAN LAWYER ACCUSED IN SWISS COURT OF LAUNDERING FAMILY SHARES IN INBEV

On 2nd December, Reuters reported that a Belgian lawyer has appeared in a Geneva court accused of money laundering and falsifying documents in a case involving Belgium’s richest family, who say she swindled missing shares in brewer InBev.  She was convicted in 2016 by a Luxembourg court for attempted fraud in a linked case involving the 2005 testament of the late heiress Amicie de Spoelberch, with the missing shares never found.  Now the heiress’ sons have launched a new case accusing her of being behind the disappearance of 815,000 bearer shares in InBrew (now InBev).

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-swiss-belgium-crime/belgian-lawyer-accused-in-swiss-court-of-laundering-family-shares-in-inbev-idUKKBN1Y624D

5 NGO REFUSE TO PARTICIPATE IN PROCEDURE FOR SELECTING NEW COUNTER-CORRUPTION COMMISSION HEAD

The Bulgarian News Agency on 2nd December advised that 5 influential NGO refuse to participate in the selection procedure for a a new head of the Counter-corruption and Unlawfully Acquired Assets Forfeiture Commission (CUAAFC) and claim the
choice is predetermined.

http://www.bta.bg/en/c/NW/id/2115390

FATF

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/virtualassets/documents/virtual-assets-fatf-standards.html?hf=10&b=0&s=desc(fatf_releasedate)

 

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WHAT’S THE IMPACT OF CHINA’S YEAR-OLD BLOCKING STATUTE PREVENTING THE PROVISION OF CERTAIN ASSISTANCE IN CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS OUTSIDE OF CHINA?

A post on FCPA Blog on 2nd December was concerned with a law in China preventing China-based individuals and entities (including the China-based subsidiaries of non-Chinese companies) from providing certain assistance in criminal proceedings outside of China.  It explains that the International Criminal Judicial Assistance Law (ICJAL), enacted in October 2018, blocks disclosure of evidence obtained in China to criminal enforcement authorities outside of China in connection with a criminal matter, unless approved by the Chinese government.  The post says that, now that the ICJAL has been in existence for a year, the authors wanted to provide an update on the development and use of the ICJAL in the US and China and discuss how multinational companies can address potential ICJAL issues.

https://fcpablog.com/2019/12/02/practice-alert-whats-the-impact-of-chinas-year-old-blocking-statute/

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AUSTRALIA: COURT RULES THAT A FREIGHT FORWARDER’S TERMS AND CONDITIONS CAN BE INCORPORATED THROUGH AN EMAIL ‘FOOTER’, DESPITE THE ABSENCE OF A SIGNED CONTRACT

In its e-Flash on 2nd December, FIATA reported that the ruling was made in the recent County Court of Victoria case of cargo owner Technology Swiss versus freight forwarder Famous Pacific Shipping (FPS).

https://fiata.com/media/e-flash/2019/e-flash-no-213-2-december-2019.html

https://theloadstar.com/legal-ruling-over-forwarder-tcs-in-emails-may-become-a-global-precedent

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EX-CHAD PRIME MINISTER ARRESTED ON FRAUD ALLEGATIONS

On 2nd December, News 24 reported that Kalzeube Pahimi Deubet, a Chadian minister who served as the country’s premier from 2013-16 had been arrested.  The article notes that the Chad President, who has governed the poor, oil-rich state since 1990, last year vowed to crack down on entrenched graft, and that the landlocked country has a history of political violence and corruption – being ranked 165th out of 180 countries in Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index.

https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/ex-chad-pm-arrested-on-fraud-allegations-20191202

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MAN WHO USED STOLEN VEHICLES FOR OFF-RECORD VEHICLE RENTALS ORDERED TO PAY BACK OVER £1 MILLION

India Today on 2nd December reported that Chirag Patel was made subject to a confiscation order under POCA 2002 at Croydon Crown Court.  Patel was jailed in October 2018 after being found guilty folloof conspiracy to handle stolen goods in relation to 19 stolen vehicles and 9 additional stolen car keys.  Patel had been using the vehicles in the running of an “off-the-books” vehicle rental business where vehicles were rented out to his associates and contacts.

https://www.indiatoday.in/world/story/uk-court-orders-indian-origin-car-thief-to-pay-back-over-1-mn-pounds-1624503-2019-12-02

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UK: LIST OF THE MOST COMMONLY ENCOUNTERED DRUGS CURRENTLY CONTROLLED UNDER THE MISUSE OF DRUGS LEGISLATION

On 2nd December, the Home Office published the updated list which shows each drug’s respective classifications under both the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 2001.  However, it cautions, the list is not exhaustive.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/controlled-drugs-list–2/list-of-most-commonly-encountered-drugs-currently-controlled-under-the-misuse-of-drugs-legislation

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UK – MAGNITSKY AMENDMENTS: CAN THE STATE RECOVER THE ‘INNOCENT’ PROFITS OF TORTURE?

On 1st December, 6KBW College Hill published an article saying that, in the UK, the state now has power to forfeit, in civil recovery proceedings, the proceeds of conduct taking place overseas which “constitutes” or is “connected with” a gross human rights abuse (GHRA) or violation.  While this might appear to mean that there could be recovery orders against banks and those that unwittingly profit from GHRA, the article stresses that, for property to be recoverable as the proceeds of crime it is still necessary to show that it was obtained through “unlawful conduct”, and that this would require proof that the conduct “connected with” the GHRA (through which property is obtained) would, if it had taken place in the UK, have involved the commission of a criminal offence. To prove such an offence would always (it appears invariably) require the prosecutor to prove knowledge of the GHRA.  The article looks at the relevant provision in POCA 2002 and considers what is really the likely legal position.

https://blog.6kbw.com/posts/magnitsky-amendments-can-the-state-recover-the-innocent-profits-of-torture

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – DECEMBER 1

1st December 2019

2 AMERICANS TRY TO ENTER COSTA RICA WITH OVER HALF A MILLION DOLLARS IN CASH

On 29th November, the Costa Rica Star reported that 2 American men, said to be named Skees and Howze, tried to enter Costa Rica through the Juan Santamaria International Airport carrying a total of $644,344 in their carry-on luggage.  Anyone entering Costa Rica with more than $10,000, or its equivalent in securities or in another currency, in cash must voluntarily declare the amount they are carrying or else face immediate seizure and loss of the money.

https://news.co.cr/americans-try-to-enter-costa-rica-with-over-half-a-million-usd-in-cash/80748/

MAIL ON SUNDAY ALLEGATIONS ABOUT PRINCE ANDREW LINKS TO TAX HAVEN COMPANY AND PRIVATE LUXEMBOURG BANK

On 1st December, the Mail on Sunday carried an exposure claiming the Duke of York had exploited his position and connections to benefit himself and “controversial multi-millionaire financier” David Rowland.  The allegations includes the Prince having a 40% stake in a firm based in the BVI called Inverness Asset Management that was in existence until March 2019, a company owned by Rowland’s family business, Blackfish Capital Management.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7742249/EXPOSED-Prince-Andrews-deals-tax-haven-tycoons.html

ESPORTS LAWS OF THE WORLD

On 21st November, DLA Piper published a report saying that gambling, sports, and prize promotion/advertising rules might apply to esports events, impose restrictions or grant exemptions, depending on how and where they are organised; and there are several different actors in the esports market – from event organisers to media companies, including online platforms, to sponsors and video game publishers which have different roles and responsibilities.  The 180-page report looks at a large number of countries in turn, discussing such things as governing law, extra-territoriality and local requirements.

https://www.dlapiper.com/en/us/insights/publications/2019/11/esports-laws-of-the-world/

VIETNAMESE CRIME GANGS IN PLYMOUTH

On 1st December, Plymouth Live in the UK carried a feature relating what it described as the inside story of how Vietnamese organised crime gangs arrived in Plymouth – and how they took over swathes of the city’s drugs trade with, in 2008, cannabis being grown in industrial quantities.

https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/news/plymouth-news/inside-story-foreign-crime-gangs-3581022

FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT OF PANAMA HAS EMBEZZLEMENT AND MISAPPROPRIATION OF LAND CASE REACTIVATED

Newsroom Panama reported that a court has reopened the case against former Vice-President Felipe Pipo Virzi for alleged embezzlement and illegal appropriation of land.  He has faced a number of accusations over the years, and in 2015 was arrested following allegations that he received a $5 million payment for winning an irrigation system contract for an Ecuadoran company, Hidalgo & Hidalgo.  He was a business partner of former President Martinelli, who himself endured extradition from the US and is currently seeking to have money laundering charges against him in Panama dismissed.  Virzi was the Vice-President of Panama from 1994 to 1999 during the Martinelli administration.

https://www.newsroompanama.com/news/case-against-bullet-dodging-ex-vice-president-reactivated

REPORT ON CORRUPTION IN NAMIBIA’S FISHING INDUSTRY UNVEILED

News 24 in South Africa reported on 1st December that, in “Anatomy of a Bribe”, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit exposed corruption in Namibia’s fishing industry, implicating the country’s now former minister of fisheries and marine resources, Bernhard Esau, as well as Geingob’s personal lawyer.  Posing as Chinese investors, Al Jazeera journalists attempted to enter the Namibian fishing industry to acquire highly lucrative fishing quotas for a proposed joint-venture with Namibian fishing company, Omualu.  A “donation” of $200,000 was to be laundered to the SWAPO party, under the guise of a foreign investment in a real-estate.  The, as Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters negotiated a partnership with Omualu, they say that they were asked to make a $500,000 payment and give a 20% share of the joint-venture to the CEO of the state-run fishing company Fishcor.  The article refers to the so-called “Fishrot Files”, published by Wikileaks, comprised of emails, memos, PowerPoint presentations, company financial records, photos and videos, appearing to show how Samherji, one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies, colluded with senior political and business figures in Namibia to gain preferential access to the country’s lucrative fishing grounds.  On the day of Namibia’s general election on 27th November, 6 were arrested on fraud and corruption charges and deny all wrongdoing and, in a press statement, Samherji claims it has “nothing to hide” from any investigation.

https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/corruption-in-namibias-fishing-industry-unveiled-20191201

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/anatomy-bribe-deep-dive-underworld-corruption-191201083510578.html

AUSTRALIA: OVER 100 RACEHORSES IN LIMBO AFTER ASSETS FROZEN

On 1st December, Channel 9 News reported that more than 100 racehorses with links to allegedly corrupt public servant Paul Whyte and his co-accused Jacob Anthonisz have been located across Australia and New Zealand, and are currently in a legal limbo after the Corruption and Crime Commission froze the pair’s assets amid allegations they had defrauded the State of millions of dollars using a fake invoicing scheme.

https://www.9news.com.au/national/wa-news-political-corruption-paul-whyte-racehorses-in-limbo/0508930b-d577-485e-8ff4-bcb90ffff884

FRENCH AUTHORITIES RAID ADOBE OFFICE OVER IRISH TAX CLAIM

On 1st December, the Irish Independent reported that a judge has thrown out firm’s case that Paris office raid last year was illegal.  The was raided in April 2018 by French tax officials looking for evidence the US company had dodged tax by shifting revenue to Ireland.

https://www.independent.ie/business/technology/french-authorities-raid-adobe-office-over-irish-tax-claim-38741708.html

AFGHANISTAN: ACTING FINANCE MINISTER ACCUSED OF MONEY LAUNDERING

The Afghanistan Times on 1st December reported that, as the Afghan senate committee held a gathering to approve the annual national budget, a number of senators have accused the Acting Finance Minister, Hamayoun Qayoumi of money laundering.

http://www.afghanistantimes.af/acting-finance-minister-accused-of-money-laundering/

 

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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REPORT ON CORRUPTION IN NAMIBIA’S FISHING INDUSTRY UNVEILED

News 24 in South Africa reported on 1st December that, in “Anatomy of a Bribe”, Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit exposed corruption in Namibia’s fishing industry, implicating the country’s now former minister of fisheries and marine resources, Bernhard Esau, as well as Geingob’s personal lawyer.  Posing as Chinese investors, Al Jazeera journalists attempted to enter the Namibian fishing industry to acquire highly lucrative fishing quotas for a proposed joint-venture with Namibian fishing company, Omualu.  A “donation” of $200,000 was to be laundered to the SWAPO party, under the guise of a foreign investment in a real-estate.  The, as Al Jazeera’s undercover reporters negotiated a partnership with Omualu, they say that they were asked to make a $500,000 payment and give a 20% share of the joint-venture to the CEO of the state-run fishing company Fishcor.  The article refers to the so-called “Fishrot Files”, published by Wikileaks, comprised of emails, memos, PowerPoint presentations, company financial records, photos and videos, appearing to show how Samherji, one of Iceland’s largest fishing companies, colluded with senior political and business figures in Namibia to gain preferential access to the country’s lucrative fishing grounds.  On the day of Namibia’s general election on 27th November, 6 were arrested on fraud and corruption charges and deny all wrongdoing and, in a press statement, Samherji claims it has “nothing to hide” from any investigation.

https://www.news24.com/Africa/News/corruption-in-namibias-fishing-industry-unveiled-20191201

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/anatomy-bribe-deep-dive-underworld-corruption-191201083510578.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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WHITE PHOSPHORUS: WHEN IS ITS USE A WAR CRIME?

A fascinating post on the Lawfare blog on 26th November follows reports that Turkey used white phosphorus munitions during its military operations in Syria.  It says that many of the reports on the use of white phosphorus are overly broad, confusing it with either a “chemical” weapon or an “incendiary” weapon, and at least one article suggested it as a “banned” weapon – the article explaining why it is not any of these.  Instead, the article argues that its use raises several legal issues that remain poorly understood.  The article says that, as a starting position, white phosphorus munitions are a lawful weapon that can be used against the enemy consistent with the normal laws of targeting but, like any otherwise lawful weapon, they can be used in numerous unlawful manners, such as to specifically target civilians or launch attacks indiscriminately.  The article also provides a brief explanation, saying that white phosphorous, aka tetraphosphorus, is a toxic, colourless, white or yellow waxy solid with a garlic-like odour.  It does not occur naturally and is manufactured from phosphate rocks.  It ignites when it reacts with oxygen, producing thick clouds of white smoke and reaching temperatures high enough to burn through metal.   The article calls on a focus on the use of weapons, and actions of the military, rather on the weapons themselves, if one is to properly determine if a war crime has been committed.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/jus-bello-white-phosphorus-getting-law-correct

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OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 30

30th November 2019

SOUTH KOREA REVIEWS EXPORT SCREENING

On 30th November, Nikkei Asia Review reported that South Korea is expanding its screening team for strategic exports by 50% to 45 members with effect from 1st January, in response to Japanese concerns that chipmaking chemicals shipped to the country were being leaked for military use.  Japan has concerns that its materials exports to South Korea are being leaked to countries like North Korea, where they are being used for military purposes.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Japan-South-Korea-rift/South-Korea-reviews-export-screening-in-nod-to-Japan

HONG KONG CUSTOM AUTHORITIES SEIZE 540 TONNES OF SMUGGLED FROZEN MEAT

On 29th November, Republic World (and others) reported that Hong Kong customs had seized nearly 540 tonnes of suspected smuggled frozen meat in the largest such seizure in the last 10 years.  The seizure was made on 4 fishing vessels.  It is noted that, after the outbreak of swine flu fever among the pigs of China, meat prices in the country have hit a record time high, making meat smuggling more profitable than any other time in the past.

https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/rest-of-the-world-news/hong-kong-custom-authorities-seize-540-tonnes-of-smuggled-frozen-meat.html

BOTSWANA IMPLEMENTING ITS AML/CFT STRATEGY

On 30th November, the Journal du Cameroun reported that Botswana has begun to implement the National Strategy to combat Money Laundering; Combat an Act of Terrorism; Combat Financing of Proliferation of Arms of War, Biological and Chemical Weapons which was approved by Cabinet in October.

https://www.journalducameroun.com/en/botswana-ups-ante-against-money-laundering-terrorism-financing/

SRI LANKAN COASTGUARD ARRESTS 3 INDIANS WITH 1 TONNE OF BEEDI LEAVES – 50 TONNES SEIZED SO FAR THIS YEAR

On 13th November, Customs Today reported that 3 Indian nationals have been apprehended with a large consignment of Beedi leaves during a joint operation conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy and Coast Guard.  This year alone, the Navy has recovered nearly 50 tonnes of beedi leaves from operations carried out at sea and on the shore.  Beedi leaves are tobacco used to make thin cigarettes or cigars commonly smoked in India, as well as elsewhere in South Asia and the Middle East.

https://customstoday.com.pk/three-indians-arrested-with-1000kg-of-beedi-leaves/

US CUSTOMS CRACKDOWN ON FORCED LABOUR IMPORTS

An article in the latest edition of US Customs and Border Protection’s “Frontline” magazine warns importers to be watchful about the source of their merchandise, saying that importers receive their commodities at the end of long supply chains that can originate anywhere in the world — in many cases regions where oversight is lax or even non-existent.  Giving (often scary) examples, the article concedes that, for lots of merchandise and agricultural products, tracing supply chains to suspected forced labour can be challenging.  In many cases the chain ends at a legitimate producer who buys raw material possibly moved through multiple countries to hide the supply trail.  Other times, products are fabricated by several subcontractors, making it difficult for importers to know if forced labour played a role in their business – like a river fed by tributaries upon tributaries, there’s often no single source, it says.  While victims can be found almost anywhere — even in the US, it says — most of the indentured work is found in Asia, Africa and Latin America.  75 countries, including China, Russia, Thailand and India, are among the nations where forced labour exists, according to the US Department of Labor.  Anyone can report suspicious shipments to the port director or the commissioner or through the e-allegation portal at https://eallegations.cbp.gov

https://www.cbp.gov/frontline/cbp-takes-aim-forced-labor

BRAZIL COURT REVOKES ARREST WARRANT FOR FORMER PARAGUAY PRESIDENT

On 29th November, Agencia Brasil reported that the Brazilian courts had revoked the arrest warrant for Horacio Cartes, the former president of Paraguay, that stemmed from a operation linked to the massive Operation “Car Wash” corruption investigation.

http://agenciabrasil.ebc.com.br/en/justica/noticia/2019-11/brazil-court-revokes-arrest-warrant-former-paraguayan-president

THE GROWING DIVIDE BETWEEN ISRAELI AND INTERNATIONAL COURTS ON THE STATUS OF ISRAELI SETTLEMENTS IN THE WEST BANK

An article on Lawfare on 27th November examined 2 judgments handed down just days apart — one by the Israeli Supreme Court and the other by the European Court of Justice — which highlight a growing jurisprudence divide between Israeli and international courts on the status of Israeli settlements in the West Bank.   The Israeli Supreme Court continues to maintain the constitutionality of laws equating boycotts of settlements to boycotts of the country as a whole, but the ECJ ruled that settlement products must be labelled clearly, so that consumers can make an informed choice on whether to buy them.  It also notes that Israeli law bans BDS activists from the country (BDS is the movement to boycott, divest from and sanction Israel) and that a 2011 law imposes civil tort liability and various administrative sanctions on boycott activists, including allowing the government to deny activists certain subsidies and to bar them from obtaining government contracts.

https://www.lawfareblog.com/deportation-omar-shakir-israeli-supreme-court-and-bds-movement

EU FOLLOWS US LEAD ON AML CONTROLS FOR CRYPTOCURRENCIES: KEY DIFFERENCES IDENTIFIED

On 30th November, an article in the Coin Telegraph said that in January 2020, the regulatory landscape for crypto businesses will completely change in the EU in comparison with the last decade, as the 5th Money Laundering Directive shall be transposed into the national legislation of each EU Member State by 10th January.  It notes that it was in 2013 that FinCEN in the US introduced an interpretive guidance for cryptocurrency industry participants, mainly exchangers and administrators.  The article poses 2 questions – what should we learn from this long-standing experience? What should we expect from the regulation of the EU market as compared to the US?  It then identifies the key differences between the AML controls in the US and the EU.

https://cointelegraph.com/news/european-aml-regulations-follow-the-us-path-with-a-six-years-delay

US CUSTOMS SEIZE FAKE GOODS WORTH MORE THAN $95 MILLION AHEAD OF BLACK FRIDAY WEEKEND

On 30th November, Illicit Trade reported that customs officers in Louisville, Kentucky seized 164 shipments of fake items worth more than $95 million in the 3-month period leading up to the Black Friday weekend, including fake designer bags, jewellery, shoes and sunglasses.  All the seized items were produced in China and were on their way to recipients in the New York area.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2019/11/customs-agents-in-louisville-kentucky-seize-fake-goods-worth-more-than-95-million-ahead-of-black-friday-weekend

 

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 ARREST OF CRYPTOCURRENCY EXPERT FOR GIVING TALK IN NORTH KOREA

Various media on 30th November reported that Federal prosecutors have charged a cryptocurrency expert, Virgil Griffith, 36, a US national who lives in Singapore, with violating economic sanctions against North Korea by presenting at a conference there after the US government denied his request to travel to Pyongyang.

https://www.stripes.com/news/pacific/us-says-cryptocurrency-expert-violated-north-korea-sanctions-1.609266

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