11th NOVEMBER 2017
FRAUDSTERS JAILED FOR £107 MILLION ‘CYNICAL’ GREEN TAX SCAM
The BBC reported on 10th November that 6 men who orchestrated an “audacious and cynical” tax fraud have been jailed for between 11 years and 20 months. Wealthy people invested in “environmental projects” in exchange for tax breaks, but the fraudsters used the money to fund lavish lifestyles, buying overseas property and luxury holidays, and HMRC says that the losses could be as much as £107 million. The BBC says the group persuaded 730 high earners to invest.
A solicitor was one of those convicted, see –
ISLE OF MAN TAX COMMITMENTS
Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man have signed up to a joint commitment with the British and Irish governments to tackle tax evasion and abusive tax avoidance, it reaffirmed the administrations’ “shared commitment to meeting international standards and to working with the international community to tackle tax evasion and abusive tax avoidance”.
This followed the announcement on 1st November that the Isle of Man had become the second jurisdiction to deposit its instrument of ratification for the Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) at the OECD, following its ratification by Tynwald on 17th October. The Multilateral Instrument means that new measures can be incorporated into thousands of tax treaties around the world, without the need for countries to undertake multiple bilateral negotiations.
CRYPTOCURRENCY LOSS “WAS A HACK”
A report in The Register suggests that the “loss” of cryptocurrency reported by the Guardian and others –
was not an accident or blunder, but a deliberate hack affecting some $280 million of Ethereum
ONE OF THE (MANY) THINGS I DIDN’T KNOW – US DRIVER LICENCES, THE “REAL ID” QUESTION AND WHICH STATES’ LICENCES WILL BE ACCEPTABLE FOR USE AS ID, INCLUDING TO BOARD AIRCRAFT
US law firm, Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton has published a fascinating briefing about US driver licences, which are issued at state level, and the compliance (or non-compliance) with the 2005 Real ID Act which set out to establish national standards.
The new “Real-ID-compliant” licences and identity documents have a gold star inside a gold circle in the upper right hand corner of the document. States are also required to utilise photographs that are compatible with facial recognition software as well as additional measures to prevent fraudulent production of a driver’s licence.
The briefing details which state licence is currently compatible (26 states), which states have an extension to October 2018 (17 states), and which are currently under review (7 states). It also details what one needs to do, and what evidence must be produced, to get a Real-ID-Compliant licence.
The final deadline is said to be 2020 (though the 2005 Act originally set a 2007 deadline, it seems…).
EUROPEAN COURT ANNULLS UKRAINE SANCTIONS AGAINST ONE PERSON, BUT UPHOLDS ANOTHER
In an appeal by Ivanyushchenko (Yuriy Volodymyrovych Ivanyushchenko, who is a Ukrainian resident, T-246/15) the EU General Court annulled the sanctions designation because the evidence was beset with inconsistencies or irrelevant. However, it did not annul the sanctions designation in Klymenko (Oleksandr Viktorovych Klymenko, a Moscow resident, T-245/15).
UKRAINE SANCTIONS 18 RUSSIAN COMPANIES
The European Sanctions Blog reports that the Ukraine Ministry of Economic Development and Trade has imposed sanctions against 18 Russian companies for actions that “may harm the interests of national economic security”, and says that the 18 are reported to be – Loli-Pak Exports, the Snack Group, Belgorod Khladokombinat, Donspetsstroy Trading House, Yuzhtrans, Mikas, Stroyservis, Volma-Marketing, the Penetron-Russia group of companies, the Penetron-Russia Trading House, Penetron-Export, Volma-VTR, Penetron, Aromadon Trading House, the Starfud-Yug Trading House, MK-Metiz, Narodny Plastic, and Miroshnikova Irina Vladimirovna
US HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND SENATE TAX REFORM PLANS INCLUDE SIMILAR TRADE PROVISIONS
Sandler Travis & Rosenberg also reports that the versions of the US tax reform Bill being considered by both houses of Congress appear to include similar provisions that would affect international trade.
US DOJ BEGINS COMPENSATING BERNIE MADOFF VICTIMS
The US DoJ announced on 9th November that it has begun distributing compensation to victims of Bernie L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC (BLMIS) Ponzi scheme – with an initial $722.5 million for 24,631 victims, as the largest distribution of forfeited funds in the history of the DoJ. The funds will be distributed through the Madoff Victim Fund (MVF), with $4.05 billion will be distributed to victims of BLMIS.
MORE ON YEMENI MISSILE STRIKE ON SAUDI ARABIA
Janes.com reports that Saudi Arabia said that a ballistic missile that was launched from Yemen at Riyadh on 4th November was a Burkan-2H which has a range of more than 900 km and was made in Iran. It described the attack as an “act of war”. The Yemeni rebels released a video that purportedly showed the missile being launched at night. The Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported that the missile was intercepted and its remnants landed in an uninhabited area north of the capital Riyadh.
Meanwhile, on 8th November the Washington Institute think tank said about Iran –
“Iran has a long history of helping foreign militant allies with missile programs, providing Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian Islamic Jihad with expert support operatives and a series of rocket/missile systems ranging from the 300 km Zelzal-2 to the 75 km M-75. It has also been converting SA-2 missiles [an air defence missile as used to shoot down Gary Powers’ U-2 in the 60s] into Tondar-69 ballistic missiles since the 1990s, much like the Houthis arrived at their equivalent variant, the Qaher-1”.
And the Center for Strategic and International Studies reported that at demonstrations to commemorate the seizure of the US Embassy in 1979 Iran displayed a Ghadr ballistic missile – an improved version of the Shahab-3 variant, a liquid-fueled medium-range ballistic missile with a range of around 2,000 km. The Shahab-3 was itself a (presumed) development of the North Korean No Dong 1 missile, serving to indicate Iran-North Korean co-operation on ballistic missiles.
HOME OFFICE RESPONSE TO GUARDIAN INTERVIEW WITH METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPUTY ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER NEIL BASU ON COUNTER-TERRORISM
He was asked about the number of attacks foiled by police and the security services in light of this year’s atrocities. The Guardian article (“Police cuts will be disaster for national security, warns counter-terrorism head”), where the senior national counter-terrorism co-ordinator says funding cuts for local policing will harm intelligence efforts is at –
The Home Office response, chiefly citing additional counter-terrorism funding, and armed police, but not directly speaking on “local policing” –
YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – PORT STATE MEASURES AGREEMENT: TACKLING ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED (IUU) FISHING THROUGH INSPECTIONS
This Vertic paper from June 2017 describes the problem that (IIU) fishing poses to the industry, and provides a useful background briefing on the subject. Fishing is still carried out at unsustainable levels. According to the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation (FAO), and based on state-submitted information, one-third of the world’s fish stock is harvested at biologically unsustainable levels. The paper offers a short analysis of the effectiveness of the PSMA and comments on future challenges and opportunities for strengthening the instrument. It offers a tentative estimate of the value of IIU, often placed at US$10-24bn annually, which corresponds to 11-26m tonnes of fish. If these estimates are correct, IIU fishing comprises one-quarter of the total harvest.
RETHINKING THE UNTHINKABLE: RECOVERING FROM A NUCLEAR ATTACK ON A US CITY
On 7th November, think tank the RAND Corporation article looking at the possible effects of a “limited” attack by North Korea (as opposed to a Cold War era all-out Soviet strike). For example, a 25 kiloton weapon (described as a “small bomb” and much smaller than weapons recently tested by DPRK) detonated over Anchorage, Alaska (the nearest city target from North Korea) would result in more than 15,000 deaths and 50,000 serious injuries, most of them immediately. On the other hand, a larger 150 kiloton warhead exploded over downtown Dallas could kill 100,000, and injure nearly 250,000, again almost immediately.
The article concludes that the US currently faces a “truly unprecedented threat”, and one that is poorly understood and for which it is inadequately prepared.
ANOTHER CHEERFUL PAPER: THE CHELLENGE OF NORTH KOREAN BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS
If you want to depress yourself further up after reading the above, another RAND paper contains testimony given to the US House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on Intelligence, Emerging Threats and Capabilities in 2013.
HOW A GERMAN NEWSPAPER BECAME THE GO-TO PLACE FOR LEAKS LIKE THE PARADISE PAPERS
New Yorker article on the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, and Pulitzer Prize winner, Bastian Obermayer.
FOUNDATIONS – WHAT ARE THEY, AND HOW DO THEY WORK?
Lowtax has a good briefing on foundations, their history and the various jurisdictions that offer them.
EUROPEAN GUIDE TO DEBT COLLECTION
26-page pdf guide from law firm network Meritas that claims to provide an overview of recovering proceedings for claims across Europe. After an insight into the 2 relevant EU Regulations, this guides offers an overview per EU Member State, on the principles of asset tracing, conservatory measures, recovery proceedings for undisputed claims and enforcement measures.
REPORT: THE LOSS OF ARMS AND AMMUNITION IN PEACE OPERATIONS
Focusing on UN and regional organisation peace operations, this report (Making a Tough Job More Difficult) from the Small Arms Survey highlights results of research into the loss of arms and ammunition in a range of peacekeeping operations. Losses include assault rifles and pistols, armoured vehicles and numerous types of light weapons that in aggregate represent thousands of weapons and millions of rounds of ammunition. The report claims that –
- the loss of arms and ammunition in peace operations is a global and pervasive problem
- more than a dozen organizations apart from the UN undertake peace operations, and oversight of the lethal materiel deployed during many of these missions is negligible or non-existent
- even the UN has no institutionalised oversight of arms and ammunition recovered outside of formal weapons recovery programmes (e.g. at checkpoints, sweeps and patrols)
- troops are susceptible to losing equipment during the course of everyday activities, such as patrols and escort duties, but also during resupply operations, troop rotations, or repatriation
- a robust framework for controlling arms and ammunition is hindered by numerous budgetary, logistical, and infrastructural constraints; shortages in staffing and expertise; and gaps in UN policies and procedures.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: HIGHLIGHTING ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING (AM), INCLUDING 3D PRINTING — AS A POTENTIAL PROLIFERATION RISK
On 27th October, the Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, Monterey USA published its Occasional Paper 33 which analyses a set of export-controlled items to understand the degree to which 3D printing might be used to produce — and thus represent a new pathway for proliferators to acquire — dual-use goods useful for the development of WMD. Additionally the study considers the degree to which communities using and promoting 3D printing may impact the risk of WMD proliferation.
Reassuringly perhaps, the study has found no evidence suggesting active pursuit or deployment of AM technology with a WMD proliferation aim in either relevant case study (North Korea and IS), but that claims to have produced 3D printers suggests North Korea’s intention is not merely to explore the use of 3D printing, but also to explore the production of AM equipment itself; and the widespread geographic distribution of AM technology etc has made the technology accessible by users in countries where the IS has been particularly active (and thus, if the IS leadership were to make the decision to vigorously explore AM as a potential pathway to WMD, the technology would be readily accessible, with little need to import from producer countries).
The report calls for further awareness-raising and, of course, more research. In addition, export controls and nonproliferation efforts need to recognise the likely or potential risks involved with 3D printing, including in respect of professional 3D printing services and providers.
12th NOVEMBER 2017
MAN ACCUSED OF MORTGAGE FRAUD IS FIRST EXTRADITION FROM IRELAND TO US SINCE 2012
The Irish Independent reported on 12th November that a dual citizen of Ireland and the US (44-year-old Patrick Lee) has been extradited from Ireland to Boston to face federal charges over an alleged mortgage fraud scheme with fake mortgage loan applications and forged property appraisals in 2005-2007. He was indicted in the US in 2011, but has been residing in Ireland since 2012.
251 ORGANISED CRIME CASES OPEN IN BELGIUM
The Brussels Times reported on 11th November that the Home Affairs has provided this information, adding that 36 cases or 14% involve defendants who are part of a “recognised organisation”, these including – Albanian (4.4%), Turkish (4%), Italian mafia (2%), a criminal biker gang (2%) and a South American cartel (2%). The number of criminal organisations producing cannabis increased but synthetic drug cases has reduced.
11 ASIA-PACIFIC COUNTRIES AGREE TRADE PACT WITHOUT THE USA
Customs Today reports that trade ministers from 11 Asia-Pacific countries at the APEC summit in Da Nang, Vietnam have agreed to press ahead with a major trade deal (TPP-11) without the US, after President Trump announced leaving the the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) earlier this year.
MESSAGE APP CALLED “TELEGRAM” SAID TO BE FUELLING SYRIAN INSURGENCY
US-based site, Foreign Policy, alleges that use of the app (https://telegram.org/) to access black markets, including for weapons, with 5,000 users in the Syrian province of Idlib.
Telegram claims that it allows you to send messages, photos, videos and files of any type (doc, zip, mp3, etc), as well as create groups for up to 30,000 people or channels for broadcasting to unlimited audiences
POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND CRIME INCIDENT REPORT, Q3 2017
Control Risks issues a free quarterly report designed to help organisations gain a better understanding of incident trends throughout the year, using our new risk monitoring tool CORE. The latest report analyses global incidents of war, terrorism, unrest and crime, with commercial relevance. In Q3 it reported over 10,000 incidents, a 24% increase on Q3 of 2016, with incidents in Myanmar showing a significant spike (as might be expected),and big increase in Papua New Guinea in pre-election violence, but a drop in activity in eastern Ukraine partly due to the “harvest ceasefire”.
THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED: EUROPOL INTRODUCTION TO INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY CRIME ON THE DARKNET
Intellectual Property (IP) crime is committed when someone uses an intellectual property right without the authorisation of its owner. Counterfeiting and piracy are terms used to describe a range of illicit activities related to Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) infringement. Most counterfeit goods infringe a trademark, which means that a good is produced without the authorisation of its rights holder. Piracy refers to the illegal use of literary and artistic works protected by copyrights.
This punchy 4-page introduction from Europol in October 2017 provides a starter on the Darknet, IP and other crime using it, organised crime and IP crime and why it matters.
DISPUTED WATERS – SOUTH CHINA SEA: DISPUTES AND POSTURING, AND POSSIBLE FUTURE CONFLICT
VoA feature on the South China Sea, described as 3.5 million square km of underlying bedrock contain oil and natural gas deposits that are at least equal to Mexico’s (or, according to China, maybe second only to Saudi Arabia’s). Also home to lucrative fisheries and supply routes that carry 80% of China’s crude imports – a disputed region may be the most strategically important waterway of the 21st Century. Complete with interactive map that links to the states involved (Malaysia, China, Vietnam, Philippines) and the disputed “islands” (rocks and newly-created artificial ones), and even a one minute You Tube video on “one patch of sea, 6 disputed claims”: recommended as a starter o the situation and threats
On 13th November Eurasia Review also addressed the issue –
ASEAN MUST SEEK GLOBAL SUPPORT TO AVOID WAR OVER SOUTH CHINA SEA – ANALYSIS
LSE PODCAST: MILITARISATION AND THE ‘WAR ON CRIME’
Recording of a presentation and discussion that took place at the London School of Economics on 7th November, to launch a new (and expensive) book on the subject. Speakers included the always excellent Misha Glenny. Although over an hour long (if you include the Q&A session at the end), it is nevertheless fascinating and informative.
The LSE blurb includes the following – from the 70 year old “War on Drugs”, to the more recent “War on Human Smuggling”, politicians use militarised responses to look decisive on crime. The deployment of armies, navies, military assets and militarised approaches can send a powerful message, but have produced mixed results. This debate will discuss 4 different areas of criminality – wildlife crime, piracy, human smuggling and drug trafficking – to see how effective a militarised response can really be, and what might be lost as collateral damage.
FRESH EVIDENCE OF SARIN USE BY SYRIAN GOVERNMENT FORCES FROM THE OPCW
Specialist site Bellingcat posted 2 new items on 11th November reporting that a new report from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission (FFM) has established that Sarin was more than likely used as a chemical weapon in the town of Al-Lataminah on March 30th 2017, less than a week before the April 4th Khan Sheikhoun Sarin attack the OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism (JIM) recently reported was executed by Syrian government forces.
The second item is entitled “How the latest OPCW Reports provide more connections between the Syrian Government and August 21st 2013 Damascus Sarin attacks”
The UN report at http://undocs.org/S/2017/931
THE ‘RUINED’ IRISH MILLIONAIRE, HIS WIFE, A BIZARRE MURDER PLOT, AND THE BATTLE FOR HIS SECRET FORTUNE
The Irish Independent on 12th November carried the story of “low-profile” Irish millionaire, Andrew Ruhan, who it reports was effectively been found to have concealed his wealth in a battle with his wife over a divorce award. Ruhan, whose family is from Co Galway, claimed he had lost virtually his entire €200 million fortune to fraud, but was rather £2 million in debt and was sleeping on his yacht. However, a judge has now found in favour of the estranged wife, , who believed that Ruhan was still “vastly wealthy”.
US CONGRESS TOLD OF HEZBOLLAH’S VAST MONEY-LAUNDERING NETWORK
On 12th November the Riyadh Daily carried a story reporting testimony given to the US Congress by Dr. Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow at the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance.
It was alleged that Hezbollah’s financial networks were no longer small-scale and philanthropic fund-raising. They are said to be run on a global scale, involving vast sums of money exceeding billions of dollars, and driven by Iran across the Middle East to West Africa and Latin America.
Dr. Ottolenghi gave the case of Ayman Saied Gom’aa, Lebanese, saying that the DEA has accused him of running a global network from companies incorporated in Latin America, West Africa and Lebanon, laundering money for the Mexican and Columbian drug dealers totaling up to US$ 200 million a month.
13th November 2017
UN CONTINUES ITS DEVELOPMENT OF A TREATY IMPOSING LIABILITY ON COMPANIES FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES (THE RUGGIE PRINCPLES)
US law firm Littlers published on 7th November a briefing on the ongoing process of seeking to implement the principles. Since introduction in 2011, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (a.k.a. “Ruggie Principles” or “Ruggie Framework” because they were developed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, John Ruggie) have provided a set of guidelines for member states and businesses to address, mitigate, and remedy human rights abuses committed within business operations.
In 2014, member states, led by Ecuador and South Africa, established an Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights (or IWG). Its stated purpose is “to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.” The IWG was initiated, at least in part, based on some allegations that the Guiding Principles had not sufficiently spurred improvements in business practices. The “Elements” the IWG sought to implement included liability on companies for breaches, a requirement to exercise due diligence, responsibility over business partners (and subsidiaries, associates etc), extraterritorial effect, a reversed burden of proof and the proposal extending liability to all “natural persons” in the companies’ operations who were involved in the decision-making process, including potentially, directors (so piercing the corporate veil).
Some parts of the elements have been adopted in various countries, including I the UK by means of the Modern Slavery Act 2015.
THE US SUDAN SANCTIONS REVOCATION: THE KEY FEATURES TO NOTE
US law firm Crowell Moring has produced a briefing outlining the meaning of the revocation of US sanctions on Sudan that was announced on 6th October. It emphasises that export controls remain in place, and that there is also the possibility that sanctions may be re-imposed. Tellingly, it also cautions businesses in case any past dealings they may have had with Sudan before January 18th 2017 complied with the sanctions requirements, as there remains the possibility that OFAC may bring enforcement actions for older activity that predates the October changes.
There is also an outstanding claims and judgments against Sudan in US courts, including a recent judgment for $10.2 billion for harbouring terrorists responsible for the 1998 US embassy bombings, could seek to attach any of Sudan’s interests in property that enters into the US.
CULTURAL PROPERTY (ARMED CONFLICTS) ACT 2017 (COMMENCEMENT) REGS 2017
SI 2017 No 1087 bring fully into force in the UK the Cultural Property (Armed Conflicts) Act 2017 w.e.f. 12th December 2017. That Act incorporates into domestic law the offence created by Article 15 of the Second Protocol to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the event of Armed Conflict, makes provision in relation to cultural property which has been unlawfully exported from an occupied territory. It creates a new offence of dealing in such cultural property, and provides immunity from seizure or forfeiture of cultural property which is entitled to special protection because it is being transported to the United Kingdom, or through the United Kingdom to another destination, for safekeeping during a period of armed conflict. The Act provides for various powers and offences, including search and seizure.
On 14th November, the UK issued policy papers on the –
- Protection of cultural property in the event of armed conflict
- Dealing in unlawfully exported cultural property
IMPLEMENTATION BY UK OF 1954 HAGUE CONVENTION & PROTOCOLS
UK Government news release of 15th November
MASSIVE COCAINE SEIZURE IN COLOMBIA FROM URABENOS GANG
Insight Crime reports on the recent largest cocaine seizure in Colombia in over a decade, a blow to the Urabeños criminal group as part of the government’s crackdown on the group. More than 12 tonnes of cocaine, worth up to $360 million in the US was seized. It is said to be a part of Operation Agamemnon, launched in 2015 and targeting the group in its traditional areas. After FARC demobilised, the group is now the main group involved in the Colombian cocaine trade – production of cocaine having in the meantime having “exploded” to record levels.
LONDON LAW FIRM FACES HUGE CLAIMS AFTER RECORD FINE FOR ABUSE BY SOLICITOR
Legal Futures reports that US firm Locke Lord’s London office has already had to settle large to settle claims brought by investors who lost money in the dubious investment schemes a former solicitor partner ran through the firm – it is said that £21 million passed through the client account of the London office as part of the schemes. The firm has also been hit with a record £500,000 penalty by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority.
The Law Society Gazette says that the SDT tribunal had rejected an original proposed SRA £250,000 penalty as being too low.
BULGARIA’S RICHEST MAN AND ALLEGATION OF ILLEGALITY
News site OZY o 13th November ran a profile of Vasil “The Skull” Bozhkov, Bulgaria’s richest man, who made his money (like many Russian oligarchs) in the post-Communist fallout in the country. An entrepreneur said to be worth $1.5 billion, who started in currency exchange in 1990 before moving into casinos and now a holding company for more than 30 businesses. He opened a bank in 1994, Bulgarian Commercial Industrial Bank, which merged with Credit Bank of Multigroup. Former US ambassadors have referred to illegality and claimed that he was the country’s “most infamous gangster”.
Incidentally, Transparency International has labelled Bulgaria the most corrupt country in Europe.
“WE’RE USING SANCTIONS AS A CATALYST FOR CHANGE” – RUSSIA’S LAWYERS ON WINNING BACK INVESTORS
The Lawyer (free registration) on 13th November ran an article in which it was reported that Russian lawyers recognise that they are unlikely to disappear soon so instead are working to make the best of the situation. The article contends that businesses need to take the right approach to dealing with sanctions, noting that it is common for corporates to be treated more harshly for circumventing sanctions than for simply not complying. The article reflects views expressed at a recent conference in Kazan.
NEW REPORT: MAPPING THE DEVELOPMENT OF AUTONOMY IN WEAPON SYSTEMS
As the First Meeting of the Group of Governmental Experts on Lethal Autonomous Weapon Systems (LAWS) begins at the UN in Geneva, SIPRI has launched a new report, “Mapping the Development of Autonomy in Weapon Systems”, which aims to shed light on the current developments in autonomy in weapon systems and thereby provide important insights for informed international discussions.
The governance of LAWS has emerged in recent years as a major area of concern for the arms control community. The question of whether LAWS should be regulated is the focus of an intergovernmental expert discussion within the framework of the 1980 UN Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW).
The report, which details the findings of a 1-year mapping study undertaken by SIPRI, reveals that “autonomy” has many definitions and interpretations, and is already a reality of weapon systems development. Autonomy is currently used to support various capabilities in weapon systems, including mobility, targeting and intelligence. The report says that autonomy is generally understood to be the ability of a machine to perform an intended task without human intervention using interaction of its sensors and computer programming with the environment; and “loitering” weapons are the only “offensive” type of weapon system that is known to be capable of acquiring and engaging targets autonomously.
It was produced through the support of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden and the Federal Department for Foreign Affairs of Switzerland.
Based in Stockholm, SIPRI was established in 1966 and is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament
ANOTHER REPORT – “WHERE TO DRAW THE LINE” ON TECHNOLOGY & TRENDS IN INCREASED AUTONOMY IN WEAPON SYSTEMS
This briefing shows the trend towards increasing autonomy in weapon systems by identifying a number of systems which have the ability to select and attack targets with automated “critical” functions. These weapons include loitering munitions, unmanned bomber aircraft as well automated ground systems with varying levels of human control. The report is from PAX, a Dutch organisation which is a partnership between IKV (Interchurch Peace Council) and Pax Christi.
OWNERS OF LEICESTER CITY FOOTBALL CLUB ARE REPORTEDLY BEING SUED FOR £323 MILLION OVER MONEY OWED TO THE THAI GOVERNMENT.
The BBC reports a Reuters news story saying that King Power International and executives of state-owned Airports of Thailand (AOT) are being sued for £323 million, being accused of failing to pay the Thai government the money from the operation of a duty-free franchise it was awarded in 2006.
SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENCE EXPORTS IN 2016: 4 BILLION RAND (OVER $275 MILLION)
The South African Conventional Arms Control Committee (NCACC) authorised 2,913 export permits in 2016 with a value of over 4 billion rand. The exports include armoured vehicles and personnel carriers, mortar, heavy machine guns and heavier weapons, bombs, mortars and ammunition. There also missiles and electronic equipment.
EU FOREIGN MINISTERS APPROVE SANCTIONS ON VENEZUELA
On 13th November it was reported that EU foreign ministers had approved an arms embargo against Venezuela, and the legal framework for travel bans and asset freezes against those involved in human rights violations and non-respect for democracy or the rule of law; but held off listing any individuals for economic sanctions.
TAX CONTROVERSIES IN IRELAND
Law firm Matheson has published the section on the tax controversies in 2018 that it has contributed to a publication from the Law Business Research book on tax controversies.
THERESA MAY AND THE HOLY GRAIL
A bit of light relief
CONTINUED FALLOUT FROM THE 1MDB CASE IN SINGAPORE
Financial services regulation consultants, Bovill, article reports that Singapore continues to see a fallout from the 1MDB case with more enforcement actions against individuals involved in breaches related to the 1MDB case. On 1st November the regulator announced that it had issued 6-year prohibition orders against 2 individuals – to date, they report closure of 2 banks and fines for 8 more, 6 individuals prohibited with an intention to issue to 2 further individuals.
SMUGGLED, BEATEN & DRUGGED: THE ILLICIT GLOBAL APE SMUGGLING TRADE
The New York Times tracked international ape smugglers from Congolese rain forests to the back streets of Bangkok. This article details what it found.
SPANISH GOLDEN VISA RAISED OVER €2 BILLION IN 2016
Osborne Clarke reports that the Spanish “Golden Visa” scheme, which has existed since 2013, has become one of the most successful in the EU. Under the scheme, foreign citizens who make a significant capital investment can obtain a residence permit for a period of 2 years, which will be renewable every 5 years.
ROMANIA’S RULING PARTY LEADER FACES NEW CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION
The leader of Romania’s Social Democrats, Liviu Dragnea, is facing a new anti-corruption probe that could disrupt the ruling party as it pushes ahead with a controversial overhaul of the judiciary. He already has a 2-year suspended prison sentence for trying to rig a referendum and is under investigation in a separate case.
CANADIAN TAX-EVASION FIGHT – TRANSACTIONS INVOLVING ISRAELI BANK
CTV reports that the Canada Revenue Agency is seeking information from 3 Canadian banks about customer transactions linked to an Israeli financial institution as part of a federal crackdown on offshore tax evaders. Newly filed court records reveal the agency wants to see account records associated with Bank Hapoalim to determine whether Canadians are concealing income or assets.
US DOJ ANNOUNCES COMPENSATION PROCESS FOR WESTERN UNION FRAUD VICTIMS WITH FUNDS RECOVERED THROUGH ASSET FORFEITURE
The US has begun the compensation process to provide recovery for Western Union fraud victims from the $586 million civil forfeiture. Between 2004 and 2012, Western Union processed hundreds of thousands of transactions for Western Union agents and others involved in an international consumer fraud scheme. As part of the scheme, the perpetrators of fraud schemes contacted victims in the US and falsely posed as family members in need or promised prizes or job opportunities. Victims were then directed to send money through Western Union to purportedly help their relative or claim their prize. Various Western Union agents were complicit in these fraud schemes, often processing the fraud payments in return for a cut of the fraud proceeds.
ST LUCIA AIRPORT INVESTIGATION
Caribbean News Now reports that, following the public release of documents filed in US federal court in Florida outlining an investigation initiated by the previous administration in Saint Lucia into alleged corruption associated with the Hewanorra International Airport (HIA) Redevelopment Project in 2008/9, PM Allen Chastanet, who is also named in the documents, said that he has been unable to find the records in question in government files and will therefore launch an internal investigation.
WINE INVESTMENT SCAM SOLICITOR STRUCK OFF
The Law Society Gazette reports on the case of a solicitor whose venture into the vintage wine business resulted in prosecution and now being banned from the legal profession. Michael Lloyd Wilson was convicted of possession of criminal property in April 2016 and received a 3-year sentence. Wilson was an east London solicitor who ran Global Wine Investments Limited, which purportedly allowed the public to purchase expensive vintage wines as an investment. Most “investors” lost their money and saw no wine, with Wilson said to have taken around £100,000 in total.
PARADISE PAPERS LEAKS: STATEMENT BY CHAIR OF THE OECD’S FORUM ON TAX ADMINISTRATION
Hans Christian Holte, the new Chair of the Forum on Tax Administration has issued a press release commenting on the Paradise Papers leaks
The House of Commons Library has also issued a briefing paper o the Paradise Papers
FOR LOVE OR MONEY: A ‘NDRANGHETA DAUGHTER AND WEST AFRICA’S COCAINE TRAIL
OCCRP feature about Jole Figliomeni, the daughter of an ‘Ndrangheta leader, seemingly caught between 2 angry families after falling for the wrong guy and facing the arrest of her father, packed her bags and struck out on her own, moving to Ivory Coast. She then (later) became involved in drug smuggling using Ivory Coast as a hub.
SOUTH KOREAN MISSILES AND PROLIFERATION
An Arms Control Wonk podcast for a discussions of the agreement reached between the US and South Korea to revise the missile guidelines that have limited South Korea’s missile programmes since the 1970s; the origin of those limits, their evolution, and the impact of missile proliferation on the Korean Peninsula.
THE IRISH CRIMINAL JUSTICE (CORRUPTION OFFENCES) BILL 2017
A briefing by law firm LK Shields describes this Bill, introduced on 2nd November, as a long overdue consolidation of Ireland’s existing legislation relating to bribery and corruption, the Prevention of Corruption Acts 1889 to 2010. It also includes a number of new offences and penalties, many of which are intended to address the recommendations made by the Mahon Tribunal, as well as the requirements of certain international conventions and agreements.
WORK CONTINUES ON THE PLANNED OVERHAUL OF THE LIMITED PARTNERSHIP STRUCTURE IN IRELAND.
LK Shields on 27th October issued a briefing on the work to reform the structure of limited partnerships in Ireland and the heads of a new Bill to amend existing legislation.
TRACE PODCAST: MURDER IN MALTA
Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was killed by a car bomb while reporting on corruption in Malta. Roberto Montalto, her lawyer, describes her courage, her work and the loss of a Maltese institution.
SINGAPORE BARS ALL COMMERCIALLY TRADED GOODS FROM NORTH KOREA
On 8th November, Singapore is banning all commercially traded goods that are imported, exported, transhipped or brought in transit from or to DPRK through Singapore.
The ban also applies to non-commercial shipments where the goods are covered by UN sanctions.
BAHRAIN PIPELINE ATTACK AND THE ESCALATING SAUDI-LED REGIONAL CONFRONTATION WITH IRAN
On 10th November, there was an explosion on an oil pipeline in Bahrain. The explosion damaged the pipeline that carries oil exports between Bahrain and Saudi Arabia; oil flow was halted for several hours in both directions before being restarted. Janes.com reports that Bahrain has faced protests and low-level violence from its Shia community since 2011 (who make up around 75% of the population). Whilst the article says that it is likely that the pipeline attack was conducted by domestic Shia dissidents, but that there may be Iranian involvement, and/or it might lead to further tension in the region.
The RAND Corporation appears more concerned about the situation, with an article headlined – Saudi Arabia and Iran may be headed toward war
14th November 2017
NEW US CUBA SANCTIONS SIGNAL INCREASED COMMERCIAL CHALLENGES
US law firm Ropes & Gray briefing on the commercial effect of the revised US sanctions on Cuba, including increased export restrictions.
UK PARENT COMPANY LIABILITY TO PARTIES AFFECTED BY OPERATIONS OF A UK OR A FOREIGN SUBSIDIARY
In Liswaniso Lungowe & ors v Vedanta Resources Plc and Konkola Copper Mines Plc the Court of Appeal’s found that whether a parent company could owe tortious duties to third parties affected by a subsidiary’s operations (not just employees) was that it was “arguable”. The case involved a Zambian company which owned and operated the Nchanga copper mine in Zambia, and which had a UK holding company. A group of Zambian citizens started English proceedings against Vedanta and KCM, alleging personal injury, loss and damage due to alleged pollution and environmental damage caused by the copper mine.
Law firm Allen & Overy has produced a briefing on the outcome, ad comments that this result is in stark contrast to the High Court’s refusal, earlier this year, of jurisdiction over claims brought against Royal Dutch Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary, by claimants affected by oil pollution in the Niger delta (that decision being due for an appeal hearing later this month).
A Paper from the EU Institute for Security Studies includes a useful diagram that illustrates the overlapping connections between the various European states.
TRUST ASSETS AND PIERCING THE CORPORATEVEIL
In an article dated 9th November, Vannin Capital said that English Courts are developing ways to ensure that judgments are not thwarted by sophisticated and wily defendants using ostensibly bona fide offshore structures that could not properly be regarded as a “sham”. In a series of recent cases, the English courts have grappled with whether the scope of a (usually worldwide) freezing order extends to cover assets held in trust, and further whether there is jurisdiction to require someone who claims that he/she is no more than a beneficiary under a discretionary trust to disclose the trust assets, trust deeds and other details relating to the trust and those who control the trust even before a WFO is granted against those assets.
“Piercing the corporate veil” refers to the process of looking beyond the separate personality of a company in order to fix liability on the shareholders. The doctrine operates as a rare exception to the rule in Salomon v Salomon, on the premise that English law views legal relationships between legal persons on the fundamental assumption that their dealings are honest, but if they are not, “fraud unravels everything.
Full article available on Mondaq (free to register) –
EU REMOVES FARC FROM TERRORISM SANCTIONS LISTS
From 15th November, EU Council Decision 2017/2072/CFSP and 2017/2073/CFSP; and Regulations 2017/2061/EU and 2017/2064/EU refer.
See also https://europeansanctions.com/
EU AMENDS THE LIST OF “LUXURY GOODS” SUBJECT TO NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS
EU Regulation 2017/2062 amends Regulation 2017/1509 following a review of the list of luxury goods subject to an import and export ban.
European Sanctions Blog also points out the reduction in the threshold for cash remittances sent to North Korea from €15,000 to €5,000.
EU SANCTIONS ON VENEZUELA
EU Regulation 2017/2063/EU gives effect to sanctions on Venezuela that impose an embargo on the supply of military equipment, and equipment that might be used for internal repression – with a parallel ban on the financing, brokering etc of the same. The ban also applies to certain software and technology, including that used to intercept or monitor the Internet or telecommunications. Financial sanctions against individuals and entities are provided for, but no persons are designated to date. The measures have effect from 14th November.
See also EU Council Decision 2017/2074/CFSP.
FCA TO REGULATE BINARY OPTIONS FROM JANUARY
Web FG reports that the FCA will begin policing firms offering binary options from January 2018 and issued a warning to consumers about the risk of investing in such high-risk, speculative products. It says that binary options are a significant source of fraud in the UK, with 2,605 victims reported since 2012, who have lost £59.4 million on binary options scams.
BETTING AML CONTROL CONCERNS IN BERMUDA
The Royal Gazette in Bermuda reports that a lack of regulation for betting shops could raise red flags when the island’s AML measures are evaluated next year. It says that correspondence it has seen reveals that warnings about the absence of controls to prevent dirty-money transactions within the betting industry have been made to government.
MONEYVAL REPORT ON ANDORRA AML/CFT
The Moneyval organisation, which reviews countries’ AML/CFT systems on behalf of the Council of Europe has published its mutual evaluation report on Andorra. The report welcomed the reforms recently undertaken by the Andorran authorities to address the risks identified, but has called for a number of improvements, and calls for a clear political oversight to be put in place in order to monitor the implementation of the action plans adopted to mitigate those risks; also, as with other juridictions, the ratio between investigations and prosecutions, and subsequent convictions obtained appears to be modest.
INSOLVENCY PRACTITIONER SANCTIONS
This page from the Insolvency service in the UK brings together all current sanctions against insolvency practitioners as a result of professional misconduct. Details of the sanctions are provided by the Regulatory Bodies in an agreed format which gives a summary of the misconduct, the details of the sanction and how the Common Sanctions Guidance has been applied to the case. The information will be made available for 12 months and summarised as part of the Annual Review of Insolvency Practitioner Regulation.
PUPPY SMUGGLING FOR CHRISTMAS
DEFRA reported on 14th November that The Dogs Trust has warned that Eastern European gangs are smuggling thousands of puppies into Britain to cash in on Christmas demand. The charity has produced advice for puppy buyers to make sensible choices and avoid being tricked into buying puppies which have been illegally imported.
CONFISCATION ORDER FOR HORSERACING SCAM ARTIST
Joseph Birch used a horse racing business to cover his con. He has now been ordered to pay a £5.8 million confiscation order or face an additional 7 years imprisonment. The con man had claimed to be ex Royal Marines or special forces, a peer and a knight, and involved in an attempt to rescue Terry Waite. He used a bank in Liechtenstein and safety deposit boxes in Zurich, and impressed victims by saying of staying in Trump hotels.
FAKE PLAIN PACKAGING TOBACCO FOUND IN LONDON
Packaging News carries a Betterretailing.com report that the first counterfeit standardised plain packaging packs of tobacco in the UK have been found. Following a tip-off, investigators were sold a plain pack counterfeit of a premium brand by a London newsagent for £10.50. The retailer reportedly swapped a genuine pack with a fake pack, while processing the card transaction.
HOW THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT’S ATTEMPTS TO FIGHT CORRUPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING ARE ALREADY FAILING
Research site, Bellingcat, publishes article critical of the use and effectiveness of the recently-implemented UK beneficial ownership controls.
CANADIAN CANNABIS EXCISE DUTY
On November 10th, the Canadian federal department of finance issued long-awaited legislative and regulatory proposals for the taxation of cannabis.
CHILD TRAFFICKERS SNARED IN INTERPOL WEST AFRICA BORDER OPERATION
Nearly 40 people either being smuggled or trafficked for illicit labour were identified and rescued during an INTERPOL-coordinated operation to strengthen border controls in West Africa. Many of those rescued were unidentified minors who were being taken to work in illegal gold mines in Guinea. Others were individuals who had paid smugglers to get them to Europe via Libya. The 8-day Operation Adwenpa III in October involved more than 100 officers at 23 sites across key land border and airports in 8 countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
NEW YORK TOP OF US CIGARETTE SMUGGLING LEAGUE
Specialist news site TJI reports that New York has the highest inbound tobacco smuggling activity of all US states, with more than half of all cigarettes consumed in the state being derived from smuggled sources, according to a new Tax Foundation report. An estimated 56.8% of cigarettes smoked in the state of New York in 2015 were smuggled into the state and sold on the black or grey market.
FLORIDA MAN WAS “CREATING A WMD”
CBS News reports that authorities in Florida have arrested a man who was creating a weapon of mass destruction in his home. Police discovered explosive devices and about 200 containers of acids, unknown powders and other materials, including bodily fluids, inside the residence. The suspect was said to be one step away from creating the WMD, with chemicals similar to those used in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
IMMIGRATION ACT – STATUS CHECKS FOR BANK ACCOUNT CUSTOMERS
Osborne Clarke has issued a briefing on this subject, reminding readers in the UK that, from December 2014, the Immigration Act 2014 prohibited banks and buildings societies from opening a new current account for people who are in the UK but do not have UK immigration permission – known as “disqualified persons”. This was unless the bank or building society has carried out a status check that indicates the individual concerned is not a “disqualified person’”.
HOW CHINA’S ENVIRONMENTAL ENFORCEMENT IS DISRUPTING SUPPLY CHAINS
Control Risks has produced an article which reports that as many as 30,000 companies – primarily Chinese – being shut down in just one Shandong industrial hub, closures and suspensions during the latest 2 rounds of the central government-led environmental enforcement campaign. This has led to – in some cases public and high-profile – calls for help from multinational companies that have had their supply chains suddenly disrupted or their own factories shut down for months at a time. It also says that a new environmental tax – in force from January 2018 – and changing reporting structures for environmental authorities all herald further tightening of environmental rules and more routine scrutiny of corporate environmental performance.
UKRAINIAN ANTI-GRAFT PROSECUTOR INDICTS EX TAX SERVICE CHIEF
Ukrainian prosecutors have sent an indictment against, Roman Nasirov, former tax chief and close confidant of President Petro Poroshenko to court, claiming he abused his office and forged documents related to US$75 million in tax evasion.
IMPLEMENTATION OF 4TH MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE IN EUROPE – UPDATE
Eversheds Sutherland has published the latest update on developments and new requirements as the 4th ML Directive is implemented around Europe.
US PORTS CALL FOR URGENT ACTION OVER SEVERE SHORTAGE OF CUSTOMS INSPECTORS
Specialist website Loadstar reports on a serious shortage of customs inspectors is affecting operations at US ports and threatens to disrupt supply chains. The Association of American Port Authorities (AAPA) has called on the Customs & Border Protection agency (CBP) as well as Congress to secure adequate allocation of resources to the ports.
“KINAHAN LAUNDERER” JAILED IN IRELAND
RTE reports that a 49-year-old man said by the gardaí say was the main money launderer for the Kinahan crime gang in Ireland, has been sentenced to 4½ years in prison. David Dowling of Dublin was caught with €169,000 in cash in September of 2015. He was caught picking up a package which contained €69,610 in cash from a car during a meeting in a car park. During a follow-up search at his family home, gardaí seized a further €99,020 and a vacuum packing machine; €6,000 concealed in a towel in the bag and another €85,020 was found behind a curtain in the house. The money, the proceeds of drug dealing, was due to moved abroad.
MURDER AND MONEY LAUNDERING IN MALTA
Interesting Reuters article providing background to problems in Malta in the light of the recent car bombing of a journalist.
UKRAINE ANTI-CORRUPTION BUREAU LAUNCHES CASE AGAINST CORRUPTION PREVENTION AGENCY
On 14th November Reuters reported that Ukrainian investigators from NABU said they had opened a criminal case into suspected extortion by officials at a sister anti-corruption agency, the National Agency on Corruption Prevention (NAZK), based partly on information from a whistleblower who also implicated the president’s office. NAZK is a keystone of Western-backed reforms but has been criticized for making slow progress with its main task of verifying officials’ wealth declarations for evidence of ill-gotten gains.
HSBC SETTLES FRENCH TAX FRAUD CASE
Swissinfo reports that a payment of €300 million by the Swiss subsidiary of HSBC has settled its tax fraud dispute with the French authorities. Investigations by the French government revealed that many French taxpayers had hidden their assets with help from HSBC’s private bank.
HIGH COURT HOLDS THAT HMRC INFORMATION NOTICES DO NOT HAVE EXTRATERRITORIAL EFFECT
In R (Jimenez) v FTT & HMRC, a judicial review concerned the legality of an information notice issued to Mr Jimenez in Dubai. Charles J held that the original tax tribunal was wrong to conclude that an information notice (commonly used by HMRC to seek information and documents in tax and VAT cases) could be issued extra-territorially. Although Schedule 36 to the Finance Act 2008 was silent on the matter, the relevant principles of public international law meant that it should not be construed to have such an effect.
SEC CHARGES WELLS FARGO WITH FAILING TO FILE SAR
Dorsey & Whitney, a US law firm, reports that, as part of its ongoing programme to monitor whether broker-dealers in the US make timely filings of suspicious activity reports (SAR) with FinCEN, the SEC in its most recent case in this area focused on the failure of a firm to properly file continuous activity SAR.
Broker-dealers must file SAR with FinCEN when, for example, there are transactions or patterns of transactions involving at least $5,000 or more which the firm knows, suspects or has reason to suspect involve money from illegal activity, or that were conducted to disguise such funds or evade the requirements of the Bank Secrecy Act, or which have no apparent lawful purpose.
Changes in internal procedures at Wells Fargo resulted in it now meeting this requirement and, as a result, it has agreed to a number of undertakings and payment of a $3.5 million penalty.
15th November 2017
INTERMEDIARY WHO FACILITATED CORRUPT PAYMENTS TO A RUSSIAN NUCLEAR ENERGY OFFICIAL SENTENCED IN US FOR MONEY LAUNDERING CONSPIRACY
Boris Rubizhevsky, 67, a New Jersey businessman sentenced to a year and 1 day in prison for conspiracy to commit money laundering in connection with his role in arranging corrupt payments to influence the awarding of contracts with the Russian state-owned nuclear energy corporation. He was also ordered to forfeit $26,500. Rubizhevsky pleaded guilty on June 15th 2015 to conspiracy to commit money laundering. He acted as an intermediary in connection with corrupt payments to co-conspirator Vadim Mikerin, the former director of the Pan American Department of JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide.
FDA WARNING ON KRATOM “HERBAL” MEDICINE
The US Food and Drug Administration has warned of serious safety risks of herbal supplement kratom, a plant native to SE Asia, saying that the substance has effects similar to opioids’ and that regulators know of at least 36 deaths linked to it. The agency said there growing concerns about kratom, which has become more popular in recent years as people use it to treat pain, anxiety and depression, and being marketed as a “safe” treatment.
FACTSHEET: BIOLOGICAL THREAT REDUCTION
Factsheet from the World Organisation for Animal Health – animal disease agents, including those transmissible to humans, have the potential to escape by accident from laboratories or to be used as biological weapons because of their wide ranging economic, health and social impacts and their potential availability.
Key facts –
80% of pathogens that could be used for bioterrorism are of animal origin
60% of human infectious diseases evolve from human pathogens
75% or emerging human infectious diseases have an animal disease origin
An online facility launched on 10th November for sharing the large amount of data at the centre of the alleged corruption and money laundering scandal affecting South Africa. The leaks include hundreds of thousands of emails and other documents said to show how 3 businessman brothers, the Guptas, have “captured” political decision-making in South Africa, benefited from state contracts and allegedly laundered hundreds of millions offshore. The Guptas are friends of South African President Jacob Zuma and are in business with his son, Duduzane.
WHITE PAPER: ELECTRONIC SIGNATURE GUIDE FOR BANKS IN AUSTRALIA
Banking Technology website offers this white paper, saying “Get an introduction to the world of e-signatures through this comprehensive guide. Learn the top use cases, best practices and key requirements for Australian banks of all sizes”.
WHITE PAPER: E-SIGNATURE – A LEGAL PERSPECTIVE
In this free briefing, legal expert Lorna Brazell of Osborne Clarke LLP explains electronic signatures under the EU’s new Electronic ID and Trust Services Regulation
EU PARLIAMENT FACTSHEET: TRADE WITH RUSSIA CONTINUES DESPITE SANCTIONS
2-page briefing. Since 2014, trade between the EU and Russia has slumped due to the difficult context (an economic downturn in Russia, EU sanctions over Ukraine and Russian counter-sanctions, and long-standing trade barriers), but remains substantial. Trade started to recover in early 2017.
THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS: FREE ONLINE COURSE
Former US Secretary of Defense William J. Perry and a team of international experts explore the threat of nuclear terrorism in this 5-week long course, for which you can earn a signed Statement of Accomplishment.
Week 1: Who Are the Terrorists? What Do They Want?
Week 2: What Are the Historical and Contemporary Security Issues with Nuclear Weapons and Materials?
Week 3: Could a Terrorist Group Make a Nuclear Bomb? If a Terrorist Group Made an Improvised Nuclear Device, Could They Deliver It to One of Our Cities?
Week 4: What Would Be the Consequences of an Improvised Nuclear Device’s Detonation in a US City?
Week 5: What Has Been Done to Lower the Likelihood of a Nuclear Terror Event, or to Mitigate the Damage if We Experience One?
BELGIAN BENEFICIAL OWNER REGISTER
Law firm Peeters provides a short introduction to the new Belgian ultimate beneficial owner register.
HOW PHIL IVEY FUNDAMENTALLY CHANGED THE CONCEPT OF DISHONESTY IN ENGLISH CRIMINAL LAW
White & Case briefing on the gambling case involving the “Tiger Woods” of the casino gambling world that led to the change in what constitutes “dishonesty” under English law. What was the Ghosh test for proving criminal dishonesty, and what is the new test?
SUPREME COURT TO CONSIDER IRISH LAW ON BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION
On 14th November, law firm McCann Fitzgerald commented on a case before the Supreme Court in Ireland involving the Prevention of Corruption Act 1906. The appellant is arguing that it should be a fundamental proof to show that the person’s office or position actually encompassed the act complained of, and said that the interpretation adopted by the Court of Appeal appeared to considerably broaden the concept of corruption beyond the actual scope of a person’s office, or position, as defined by law or contract. Meanwhile, the Criminal Justice (Corruption Offences) Bill 2017 in going through the Irish parliament and contains a new offence of active and passive trading in influence.
VANUATU – THE FINAL DAYS OF A TAX HAVEN
Bloomberg feature on the Pacific country, independent from the UK and France since 1980, already facing sanctions from FATF, mentioned in the Paradise Papers, local bankers say that France’s central bank had ordered the institutions it regulates to steer clear of the country, and Commerzbank and Citibank have cut back their correspondent banking relationships.
INDIAN TERROR FUNDING CASE: SHABIR SHAH
A Delhi court has filed money laundering charges against Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah and alleged hawala dealer Mohammad Aslam Wani; the charges apparently relate to a 2005 case of alleged terror financing, and accusing him being in touch with Pakistan-based terrorist Hafiz Saeed. In August 2005 he allegedly received money seized from him through “hawala” channels from the Middle East, together with a cache of ammunition. In 2010, a Delhi court had cleared Wani of terror funding charges but had convicted him under the Arms Act.
DOZENS DETAINED IN POLISH BANK FRAUD INVESTIGATION
Radio Poland reports that a total of 71 suspects were detained in a co-ordinated series of swoops across Poland as law enforcers cracked down on a suspected massive fraud targeting SK Bank, which is said to have lost around €380 million, through various means including “dubious bank loans”.
FAKE CUSTOMS RECEIPTS AND MALAYSIAN CUSTOMS
Customs Today reports that several syndicates are forging the Customs Official Receipt (COR) and siphoning out revenue that is due to the customs department. The syndicates are said to be fronted by forwarding agents, and churned out fake receipts that are almost identical to the genuine ones. The department has now formed a special taskforce to track down these syndicates.
GERMAN PROSECUTORS RAID COMMERZBANK IN TAX EVASION PROBE
On 14th November, Customs Today reported that Germany’s Commerzbank was the target of a tax evasion probe in which several current and former managers are suspected of evading €40 million in taxes via so-called “dividend stripping”. Offices in Frankfurt and private homes had been searched, and the bank said it was co-operating. Dividend stripping, also known as “cum-ex” transactions, involved buying a stock just before losing rights to a dividend, then selling it, taking advantage of a now-closed legal loophole that allowed both buyer and seller to claim tax credits.
THE BASICS OF TRADEARK LAW EXPLAINED
Gowling WLG article providing basic information – in video and transcript
INTERNATIONAL VEHICLE THEFT AND TRAFFICKING RING BUSTED IN SPAIN
The ring was involved in the theft of at least 85 vehicles with which they could have earned more than €1.5 million in illegal profits. Spanish Guardia Civil, supported by the Bulgarian Police, Portuguese Police and Europol dismantled an international crime group dedicated to vehicle theft and the illicit trafficking of the vehicles from Spain to Europe. The operation resulted in the arrest of 19 individuals and the investigation of 5 other suspects, who are accused of belonging to a criminal organisation, vehicle theft, document fraud, and money laundering. The group had links in Portugal, Poland, Romania, France, Austria, Russia, Bulgaria and Belgium. 14 houses were searched in different Spanish and Portuguese provinces that resulted in the seizure of firearms plus devices to detect and block electromagnetic signals and GPS, and anti-theft security mechanisms, as well as tools to open vehicle doors. The investigation began in September 2016 when a Spanish citizen informed the Guardia Civil that he had received several speeding fines in places where he had not been with his vehicle
AFGHAN OPIUM PRODUCTION JUMPS TO RECORD LEVEL, UP 87%
Opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87% to a record level of 9,000 metric tons in 2017 compared with 2016 levels, according to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey figures.
FCA WARNING TO CONSUMERS RE INVESTING IN CRYPTOCURRENCIES CFD
News site Out-Law reports that everyday consumers have been advised not to invest in cryptocurrency contracts for difference (CFD)
EMCDDA–EUROPOL JOINT REPORT ON NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCE – CARFENTANIL
Methyl 1-(2-phenylethyl)-4-[phenyl(propanoyl)amino]piperidine-4-carboxylate (carfentanil), Carfentanil is sold and used as a substitute for illicit opioids and prescription opioids. It belongs to a group of synthetic opioids known as the fentanils, and is closely related to fentanyl. Carfentanil is under assessment within the UN system, and the health and social risks caused by the manufacture, trafficking and use of carfentanil, and the involvement of organised crime and possible consequences of control measures, could be thoroughly assessed through a risk assessment procedure. EMCDDA and Europol will continue to intensively monitor carfentanil in order to ensure that new information is provided to the Member States, the EMA, and the Commission via the information exchange of the European Union Early Warning System.
UK ANNOUNCES GLOBAL CONFERENCE TO CRACK DOWN ON WOLDLIFE CRIME
To take place in UK in October 2018.
2017 GLOBAL TERRORISM INDEX
The changing nature of terrorism: fewer victims but more countries affected is the headline of a Forbes article which reveals that the number of people dying from terrorism has fallen for the second year in a row, with 25,673 people losing their lives in 2016, 13% fewer than the year before and 22% less than the peak in 2014. The information comes from the 2017 Global Terrorism Index, released by the Sydney, Australia-based Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) on November 15th.
The report is at
NEW REPORT OUTLINES THE EXTENT OF THE COSTA RICA DRUG TRADE
Insight Crime details a report, highlighting how transnational (chiefly Mexican and Colombian) criminal groups have co-opted local individuals and industries to further their criminal enterprises. It also illustrates shipping containers that were reportedly modified by professional welders in order to create a hiding place to conceal cocaine.
VENEZUELA (EUROPEAN UNION FINANCIAL SANCTIONS) REGULATIONS 2017
SI 2017/2094 in the UK are the Venezuela (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2017 and make provision relating to the enforcement of Council Regulation (EU) 2017/2063 in the UK.
GREEK-SAUDI MUNITIONS DEAL ‘MIDDLEMAN’ A CONVICTED SMUGGLER
Greek news site, To Vima, reports that a man who is named as a middleman in a deal to sell munitions to Saudi Arabia, and apparently held a power of attorney (according to the Defence Minister) is a convicted smuggler.
Vasis Papadopoulos was fined €340,000 in 2004 (based on 3 times the tax etc evaded) after a 2003 investigation involving Greece, Serbia, Switzerland, the BVI and the Caribbean.
FORMER PAKISTAN BACK IN COURT ON CORRUPTION CHARGES
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif appeared in court in Islamabad on November 15th as his trial on corruption charges resumed.
HOW NIGERIAN SCAMMERS STOLE $11 MILLION FROM THE IRS IN ONE OF THE BIGGEST TAX FRAUDS IN US HISTORY
US news site, Money, reports on this case from Oregon. The co-conspirators obtained personal identifying information (PIN) of more than 259,000 people, and used it to acquire over 19,500 electronic filing PIN from the IRS, obtaining used pre-paid debit cards with the stolen identities to receive direct electronic tax refund deposits. They eventually filed over 10,000 fraudulent federal tax returns, attempting to obtain over $91 million in refunds, with actual losses amounting to over $11 million.
HM TREASURY ISSUES VENEZUELA SANCTIONS NOTICE
On 15th November, HM Treasury published a Notice re the sanctions imposed under EU Regulation 2017/2063 and involving a ban on the export of arms and equipment which might be used for internal repression, a ban on the export of surveillance equipment and the freezing of funds and economic resources of certain persons, entities and bodies responsible for serious human rights violations or abuses or the repression of civil society and democratic opposition and persons, entities and bodies whose actions, policies or activities otherwise undermine democracy or the rule of law in Venezuela, as well as persons, entities and bodies associated with them.
The Notice confirms that no persons have yet been designated under the Regulation.
NOTICE TO EXPORTERS: VENEZUELA
Also on 15th November, the UK Export Control Joint Unit issued Notice to Exporters 2017/25. This Notice details –
- the fact that the UK interprets the arms embargo as applying to all items on the UK Military List;
- the related prohibitions on the provision of technical assistance, financing and financial assistance, brokering services, and other related services
- the prohibitions on the provision of technical assistance, financing and financial assistance, brokering services, and other related services
- the supply of equipment, technology or software intended primarily for use in the monitoring or interception of internet or telephone communications on mobile or fixed networks, where a licence will be required
- the fact that there is total prohibition on the provision of telecommunication or internet monitoring or interception services to Venezuela’s government or associated bodies
The Notice also refers to the financial sanctions mentioned in the HM Treasury Notice.
HEARING FOR ALLEGED BITCOIN FRAUDSTER’S EXTRADITION FROM GREECE POSTPONED
IBT Times reports that the Greece’s Supreme Court postponed until December an extradition hearing for Russian cybercrime suspect Alexander Vinnik, wanted in the US on charges of laundering billions of dollars’ worth of bitcoin. The US is accusing Vinnik of laundering $4bn worth of bitcoin through BTC-e, one of the world’s largest digital currency exchanges, which he allegedly operated. Russia is also seeking his extradition, but for a much smaller ($11,500) fraud, and Greek courts have approved both extradition requests.
SPANISH INVESTIGATIONS SHOW HOW RUSSIAN MAFIA HAS/USES OFFICIAL CONNECTIONS
Fascinating feature in the India-based online magazine Scroll alleges close contact and co-operation between Russian criminals in Spain and “high-ranking” Government officials back in Russia, including even having security personnel putting the frighteners on a boatyard boss who was taking too long over a Russian’s new yacht.
PARALLEL CIVIL AND CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS INVOLVING THE SAME MATTERS
Where civil proceedings and criminal proceedings arising from the same facts proceed in parallel, there is a danger that one set of proceedings might affect the fair conduct of the other therefore the Courts may civil proceedings until related criminal proceedings have been determined, provided justice requires it. A briefing from One Essex Court about PCP Capital Partners LLP & Ors v Barclays Bank plc deals with a situation where a civil trial would have preceded criminal proceedings scheduled for a year later (in January 2019).
16th November 2017
GRACE MUGABE’S G40 FACTION
South Africa-based Defence Web provided the following as members of Mrs Mugabe’s G40 faction, against which the military coup was targeted –
- GRACE MUGABE – Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife and front-runner to succeed her husband.
- JONATHAN MOYO – former information minister
- SAVIOUR KASUKUWERE – former ZANU-PF Youth minister nicknamed “Tyson”, he ran Mugabe’s attempts to “indigenise” the economy, essentially forcing foreign investors to surrender large stakes in their businesses to locals
- IGNATIUS CHOMBO – former University lecturer, he was promoted in an cabinet reshuffle in October from the interior ministry to the finance portfolio
- AUGUSTINE CHIHURI – Commissioner General of the police, and accused by rights groups of presiding over vicious crackdowns on dissent and popular protest in the last 18 months
- KUDZAI CHIPANGA – 35-year-old youth leader organised nationwide youth rallies Grace Mugabe used to attack Mnangagwa and his allies
RENEWED FIGHTING IN SOUTH SUDAN
Defence Web reports on renewed conflict in South Sudan, commenting that the December-to-May dry season usually intensifies clashes because travel is easier on the impoverished country’s unpaved roads. It also reported that its war began in late 2013 between soldiers of President Salva Kiir, an ethnic Dinka, and his former vice president, Riek Machar, a Nuer, devastating the country’s swampy north-east; and a third of the country’s 12 million-strong population have fled. The rebels are disorganised with many new groups appearing over the previous last 18 months – whilst 4 parties had signed a peace deal in 2015 there now appeared to be more than 20.
For more information see –
US: NO BURMA/MYANMAR SANCTIONS YET
On 15th November, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he would not yet push for sanctions against Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis, but called for an investigation into the instability in the country.
AI IMPLEMENTATION IN AML AT HSBC SEES A CONSIDERABLE REDUCTION IN COMPLIANCE COSTS
Article in Finextra on 16th November claims that introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) into AML compliance controls has seen a 20% reduction in the number of interventions, and enabled the analysis of high volume and high frequency data without the need for additional staff.
OMAN’S SMUGGLERS AWAIT THE RETURN OF IRANIAN SANCTIONS
Maritime Executive article about the smugglers of the Musandam region of Oman (the bit that sticks out into the Straits of Hormuz in the Gulf, where only about 18 miles wide) which concludes that any prospective return of sanctions would give some here hope that better days for Musandam’s smugglers may yet lie ahead.
DEUTSCHE BANK RUSSIAN LAUNDERING CASE GOES QUIET
CNN reports that a DoJ investigation into the bank’s role in a $10 billion Russian money laundering scheme has gone dormant months after the bank settled with regulators, according to people with direct knowledge of the investigation. It reports that the bank has paid over $670 million in civil penalties to US and UK regulators this year relating to the Russian trades and disclosed in regulatory filings recently that it set aside an undisclosed amount to cover a potential settlement with the DoJ
NETWORK OF INDIAN HEALTH SUPPLEMENT SCAMMERS PREYING ON THE ELDERLY IN THE UK
The Mirror reports on companies based in India operating scams such as bottles of vitamins that cost 78p wholesale being sold via cold callers to vulnerable victims for nearer £30. A recent case brought by Hertfordshire Trading Standards allegedly involved 2,000 victims and £350,000.
WAKED APPEAL HEARING DATE SET
According to Kenneth Rijock, the hearing of the appeal against OFAC listing of the so-called Waked Money Laundering Organization, a group of legitimate Panamanian companies allegedly engaged in laundering narco-profits of Colombian & Mexican cartels is scheduled for 29th January.
PANA EU MONEY LAUNDERING NEWSLETTER: LATEST EDITION
On 15th November the PANA Committee of Inquiry into Money Laundering, Tax Avoidance and Tax Evasion published the 7th edition of its newsletter. This included highlights of its recent report to the EU Parliament, a report on the hearing into footballers’ image rights, a call for a financial supervisor in Switzerland, comment on examination of the Cyprus “Golden Visa” programme, a call for improved FIU co-operation and comment on the “Russian Laundromat”.
CANADA MOVES ON CORRUPTION AND HUMAN RIGHTS SANCTIONS
Baker McKenzie article on the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act in Canada. The Act gives Canada the ability to impose unilateral sanctions against “foreign nationals” who are involved in corruption or gross violations of human rights. Already listed are 52 foreign nationals from Russia, Venezuela and South Sudan that Canada has identified as being “responsible for, or complicit in, gross violations of internationally recognized human rights or acts of significant corruption.” The list is at –
The article is at –
For more information on Canadian sanctions see –
LITHUANIA ADOPTS MAGNITSKY LAW
The Lithuanian parliament has voted impose asset freezes and visa bans on Russian human rights abusers. The Bill, named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian anti-corruption whistleblower who was jailed and killed, is the fifth of its kind after similar laws in Canada, Estonia, the UK, and the US.
REGULATION OF INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT 2000: DRAFT CODES OF PRACTICE
The Home Office on 16th November opened consultation on revised codes of practice under RIPA 2000: 3 draft revised codes of practice –
- Covert surveillance and property interference
- Covert human intelligence sources (CHIS)
- Investigation of protected electronic information.
Consultation to 28th December.
MISUSE OF DRUGS ACT 1971 (AMENDMENT) (NO. 2) ORDER 2017
SI 2017/1114 brings methiopropamine or MPA related materials under permanent control as Class B drugs, they were previously covered by temporary orders.
AUSTRALIAN BANK OPENED COOK ISLAND ACCOUNT WITH NO I.D. CHECKS
Financial Review reports that the Paradise papers have shown that Westpac opened an $850,000 account for a secret company linked to a Kazakh multimillionaire politician without doing any identity checks.
NEWSPAPER SETS UP UK COMPANY USING DOWNING STREET ADDRESS AND MAFIA BOSS NAME
The Independent reports that Italian journalists have managed to set up a company in the name of a notorious mafia boss with its registered office at 10 Downing Street – to illustrate weaknesses in British law they say helps people set up shell companies to launder money across the globe. Reporters at Il Sole 24 Ore claimed that it took just 15 minutes and £12 to register the company with no real proof of who they were.
ACTION FRAUD TWITTER ACCOUNT CLONED
FT Adviser on 16th November reported that Action Fraud, which is the UK’s national fraud and cyber reporting centre and is run by City of London Police, has warned of a fake Twitter account pretending to Action Fraud’s own.
AUSTRALIA PROPOSES TO BAN IVORY TRADING
Australia has just tabled a Parliamentary motion to ban trading in rhino horn and ivory. Australia has increasingly become a transit region for the illegal trade of ivory and rhinoceros horn. Australian Customs and Border Protection Services reportedly seize 7,000 wildlife items each year, mostly in the post and passenger environments.
EUROPOL HOSTS EXPERT MEETING ON OUTLAW MOTORCYCLE GANGS
The number of outlaw motorcycle gang (OMCG) chapters in Europe still remains on a high and growing level. OMCG are well organised groups that usually operate transnationally. Europol brought together 45 high-level representatives from law enforcement agencies from 20 EU Member States, 5 third parties and international organisations at Europol’s headquarters in The Hague. This international and annual meeting of outlaw motorcycle gang experts took place on 9th/10th November for the 22nd time.
WAL-MART SAID TO ALLOCATED $283 MILLION FOR BRIBERY PENALTY
Wal-Mart is reported by Law.com to have has apparently agreed with the US DoJ and SEC.to pay $283 million to settle its FCPA case over alleged bribery in Mexico.
A REFORMED FRAUDSTER DISCUSSES WHAT CAME TOGETHER FOR HIM TO CREATE A PERFECT STORM
ICSA has published an article involving an interview with Walt Pavlo. He discusses organisational culture, pay inequality, blind trust in leadership, and how everything came together for him to create a perfect storm.
Walt Pavlo, Jr began working at MCI Communications, later part of WorldCom and then the US’ second largest telecoms business, in 1992 as a finance executive. As he rose within the company, the pressure to achieve impossible targets and hide mountains of bad corporate debt led to disillusionment with his job.
OVERVIEW OF CURRENT NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS
On 8th November law firm Clyde & Co published a handy summary of the current position of sanctions on North Korea
EUROPE’S LARGEST-EVER ILLEGAL TOBACCO HAUL
The Olive Press news site reported on 16th November that the Guardia Civil in Spain has uncovered Europe’s biggest-ever illegal tobacco haul. 6 people have been arrested after 250 tonnes of tobacco leaves with a street value of about €40 million was seized across 8 different addresses in Caceres and Badajoz.
TOP INDONESIAN POLITICIAN GOES MISSING
The Risk & Compliance Hub reports that investigations into a major multimillion-dollar corruption scandal have taken a surprise twist with one of the country’s most high-profile politicians, parliamentary speaker Setya Novanto, apparently fleeing to avoid a warrant for his arrest.
FORMER NUCLEAR RESEARCH FACILITY EMPLOYED CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING IN USA
The Risk & Compliance Hub reported on 16th November that Carla Sena, 55, a former procurement officer for Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), a US Department of Energy nuclear research and development facility, has been accused by federal prosecutors of orchestrating a scheme to obtain a $2.3 million contract through fraudulent means. The indictment involves 3 counts of wire fraud, 1 of major fraud against the US and 7 of money laundering.
UKRAINE UPDATES DUAL-USE CONTROL LIST
World ECR reports that the Ukraine’s government has updated its export control list in line with Australia Group recommendations. Australia Group is a multilateral forum which, ‘through the harmonisation of export controls seeks to ensure that exports do not contribute to the development of chemical or biological weapons’.
17th November 2017
MANAGING, REHABILITATING, AND REINTEGRATING TERRORISM OFFENDERS AND THE
GLOBAL TERRORISM INDEX 2017
The Global Center on Cooperative Security has published an essay which forms part of the Global Terrorism Index 2017 (which provides a comprehensive summary of the key global trends and patterns in terrorism over the last 17 years in covering the period from the beginning of 2000 to the end of 2016. The GTI is produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace) and was published on 15th November.
The GTI is at http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2017/11/Global-Terrorism-Index-2017.pdf
ILLICIT ARMS AND ORGANISED CRIME THREATEN AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT
South Africa-based Defence Web reported on the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa. It reports that transnational organised crime has become a global risk to peace and security, but the focus tends to be on priorities for the developed world rather than on Africa’s efforts, goals and challenges. A side event highlighted 2 critical issues for Africa –
- Africa and the African Union (AU) in controlling illicit arms flows; and
- the threat organised crime poses to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The side event was hosted by ENACT – a new EU-funded project launched this year that works to enhance Africa’s response to transnational organised crime.
The report goes on to say that illicit arms intensify conflicts and facilitate organised crime, and even when they don’t occur in tandem, arms trafficking abets crimes like drug trafficking, human trafficking, illegal mining, fishing, wildlife trade and oil theft, and that Africa faces a “rising tide of illicit arms flows”.
Information on the ENACT project is at –
WILL THE PARADISE PAPERS MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO AFRICAN COUNTRIES LOSING WEALTH TO TAX EVADERS?
ENACT, the EU project for Africa, published this article on 14th November highlighting, for example, the instance of Glencore paid $45 million to Israeli businessman Daniel Gertler in 2009 in order to obtain copper mining rights at a heavily discounted price in the DRC’s resource-rich Katanga region, and that the 2013 Africa Progress Panel estimated that the DRC lost $1.36 billion between 2010 and 2012 due to the undervaluing of mineral assets. But, it asks, does the naming and shaming of companies and individuals actually make a difference? Even if good legislation is in place, the political will of the elite and of law enforcement institutions (in the West as much as in Africa?) is crucial; but in countries such as the DRC political instability continues to favour those who exploit the weaknesses of the state.
CYBER AND ELECTRONIC WARFARE AN INCREASING GLOBAL CHALLENGE
Another report from Defence Web concerned an address given at the Aardvark Roost Electronic Warfare South Africa 2017 International Conference and Exhibition in South Africa in November. Defence analyst, Helmoed Romer Heitman, said that cyber and electronic attacks are increasingly factors in warfare, such as the sabotaging of Iran’s nuclear facilities and the attack on the Ukraine’s electricity grid. This, he said, begs the question of when is an electronic attack an act of war and how should a nation respond?
Electronic warfare is becoming very practical, for instance in the Ukraine, electronic artillery fuses are being jammed, rendering them useless, and even low-tech entities like the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in East and Central Africa have used electronic warfare: they were able to detect areas of high cellphone chatter, indicating a potential operation could be getting underway.
Remotely-operated vehicles are another technology that is gaining traction, with remotely controlled boats being increasingly used – for instance a Saudi Navy frigate was recently struck by a bomb on one off Yemen. Another growing threat is the proliferation of guided weapons.
MAN ACCUSED IN US IRAN SANCTIONS CASE REPORTED WORKING WITH PROSECUTORS
On 17th November RFE reported that Turkish-Iranian businessman Reza Zarrab (a wealthy gold trader with ties to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government), accused of helping Iran evade US sanctions is suspected of having done a deal to co-operate with US prosecutors. He was arrested in March 2016 and has been in custody ever since.
JP MORGAN PENALISED BY SWITZERLAND OVER AML FAILURES
Zero Hedge carries a report from Swiss daily Handelszeitung that the Swiss subsidiary of JPMorgan was sanctioned by the Swiss regulator, FINMA, over money laundering and “seriously violating supervision laws.” The Finma decision was issued on June 30th and should have been published the following week but JP Morgan tried to prevent the publication of the judgment. The Federal Administrative Court dismissed the appeal.
INVESTMENT FUND BOSSES TRYING TO STOP ANALYST WHO WAS JAILED AFTER BEING CONVICTED OF STEALING COMPUTER CODES WORTH MILLIONS FROM BEING DEPORTED.
Cambridge News reports that it is feared Ke Xu, a maths graduate dubbed the ‘billion dollar brain’, might offer secret trading algorithms he has memorised to rival foreign firms if allowed to leave the UK. A High Court judge is analysing arguments from lawyers representing 2 investment funds at a trial in London. Xu comes from China, ”dishonestly removed 55 confidential strategies” said to be worth more than £30 million with the aim of using them overseas. He fled to Hong Kong in August 2014, was arrested there and extradited to the UK and given a 4-year prison term in July 2015. The investment fund bosses said there should be no deportation until August 2018 at the earliest, when his conviction officially ends.
SFO CHARGES 2 IN UNAOIL BRIBERY PROBE
Saman Ahsani, 43, the son of the Unaoil founder and who lives in Monaco, is subject of an extradition request by the SFO. 2 former employees of the company were charged on 17th November with bribing Iraqi officials to win contracts for oil and gas services firm SBM Offshore.
MALTA TO RENEW CITZENSHIP-BY-INVESTMENT PROGRAMME
Low Tax reports that Malta’s Prime Minister has told delegates at the 11th Global Residence and Citizenship Conference in Hong Kong that his government intends to renew its citizenship by investment programme (the Individual Investor Programme) but that the second citizenship by investment programme will be even more exclusive so as to keep attracting “the right kind of people.”
BRITISH CHIEF JUDGE IN KOSOVO LAW MISSION RESIGNS ALLEGING CORRUPTION
The chief judge of the EU’s rule of law mission in Kosovo, Malcom Simmons, resigned on 16th November claiming frustrations with corruption. The mission, EULEX, exists to promote the rule of law in Kosovo, mentor lawyers and judges in that young nation’s justice system, and participate in trying sensitive cases, specifically war crimes. In response EULEX denied the allegations, announcing that Simmons himself has been under investigation for corruption.
NORTH KOREA BALLISTIC MISSILE SUBMARINE PROGRAMME
Reuters reports that satellite images taken this month of a North Korean naval shipyard indicate that DPRK is pursuing an “aggressive schedule” to build its first operational ballistic missile submarine, a new submarine, possibly the SINPO-C ballistic missile submarine – the follow-on to the current SINPO-class experimental ballistic missile submarine.
EXPORTING POWER REACTORS: NO WAY TO FIGHT PROLIFERATION
An article in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists seeks to refute the claim in an August 2017 report by former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz that federal subsidies to prop up the US nuclear power industry are vital to our national security, and that to have an effective nonproliferation policy the US need to be selling lots of reactors internationally. The conclusion is described as “dead wrong but, unfortunately…also influential”. It also describes the policy of the IAEA to encourage the use of nuclear power, especially in developing countries, as “unhelpful”.
ACTIONS OF THE AFRICAN UNION AGAINST COUPS D’ÉTAT
The EU Parliament Research think tank has produced a briefing on the activity of the AU in respect of, and reaction to, coups, concluding that there is a need to further improve the efficacy and consistency of the AU’s decisions and hone its normative tools.
CAUTION IN DEALINGS WITH VENEZUELA URGED
On 14th November, US law firm Watson Farley & Williams published a useful briefing dealing with the fine detail of the US financial sanctions on Venezuela, and particularly its oil company PdVSA. As the briefing says, “the sanctions are broadly designed to make it more difficult for the Government of Venezuela to raise funds internationally. Although the sanctions are limited in scope, parties wishing to deal directly or indirectly with the Government of Venezuela or PdVSA should exercise caution, as there are many nuances and uncertainties in the application of the sanctions”
DONALD TRUMP MADE MILLIONS FROM SELLING HIS NAME TO A PANAMA DEVELOPMENT USED TO LAUNDER DRUG MONEY – GLOBAL WITNESS INVESTIGATION
See also Newsweek, which says that Trump gave Ivanka Trump his first international hotel project in Panama as her “baby” but she ended up launching the venture with an accused Brazilian fraudster with connections to drug money launderers and Russian criminals. She helped a former car salesman from Brazil become the top broker for the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower, according Reuters. The businessman, Alexandre Ventura Nogueira, would later be arrested and charged with fraud and forgery. “I had some customers with questionable backgrounds,” Nogueira told NBC.
SEC’S ANNUAL REPORT CONFIRMS $50 MILLION PAID TO WHISTLEBLOWERS
Web Wire reports that in FY 2017, the SEC paid $50 million in rewards to 12 whistleblowers. Since 2012, the Commission has paid $160 million in whistleblower rewards. In its 2017 Financial Report the SEC “recognized a contingent liability“ of $221 million for ”liability for estimated whistleblower awards where the payment is considered probable.”
CREDIT CARD ISSUER SETTLES CHARGES OF BREACHES OF US CUBA SANCTIONS
BCC Corporate SA, a Belgium-based credit card issuer and corporate service company that issues various payment products, such as credit cards, to its European-based corporate customers settles potential liability for apparent violations of the US Cuban Assets Control Regulations. At the time BCCC was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Alpha Card Group, which in turn was owned 50% by American Express. AMEX has agreed to remit $204,277 to settle potential civil liability for 1,818 apparent violations of the Regulations. In 2009 to 2014, credit cards BCCC had issued to its corporate customers were used to make credit card purchases in Cuba
THE “AVANT GARDE” FLOATING ARMOURY CASE IN SRI LANKA: HEARINGS SET FOR FEBRUARY AND MARCH 2018
The “Avant Garde” was (it was reported as being sent for scrap in 2016) a floating armoury used by maritime anti-piracy security businesses operating in the Indian Ocean and Red Sea. The Sri Lankan Bribery Commission had filed 19 charges against politicians alleging a large financial loss to the government by permitting Avant Garde Maritime Services (Pvt) Limited to operate a floating armoury. It named 60 witnesses in the case. Much delayed, a magistrate has now fixed the case for trial on February 26th and March 26th 2018. The case, which has dragged on for many months, is said to involve the illegal supply of weaponry, including state-owned weaponry, corruption and money laundering.
For more information on the background (though not the whole story) see –
KINAHAM CARTEL ‘RUNNING OUT OF PEOPLE TO DO THEIR WORK’
The Irish Examiner reported on 17th November that gardaí say the Kinahan crime cartel is “running out of people to do their work” after an international operation resulted in 13 arrests in Ireland and the Netherlands (including 8 Irishmen) and the seizure of an estimated €10 million worth of drugs. Officers said international drug suppliers in Colombia, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium increasingly believe that doing business with the cartel is “too high-risk” because of the police heat they are attracting.
NOTICE TO EXPORTERS 2017/26: LICENCES UPDATED FOLLOWING VENEZUELA SANCTIONS
UK REVISES OPEN GENERAL TRADE CONTROL LICENCES (OGTCL) AND OPEN GENERAL EXPORT LICENCES (OGEL)
An OGTCL covers the transfer of certain goods between two other countries where someone in the UK (or the Isle of Man) is involved. OGEL are export licences that one can register to use, and do not need prior application.
OECD PEER REVIEWS ON THE EXCHANGE OF TAX INFORMATION: INCLUDES ISLE OF MAN & JERSEY
The OECD Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purpose has published a number of Second Round Peer review reports on the Exchange of Information on Request. These are for Jersey, Isle of Man, India, Denmark, Italy and Curacao. The Global Forum concluded that the Isle of Man continues to be Compliant with the international standard on transparency and exchange of information upon request. The second round peer review reveals the important progress made by Jersey in the implementation of the international standard, leading to the upgrade of its overall rating from Largely Compliant to Compliant with all elements determined to be in place and rated Compliant
ITALIAN ILLEGAL GAMBLING LINKS TO MALTA
Calvin Ayre gambling news site reports that Italy’s latest illegal gambling bust is once again tracing its tentacles back to Malta’s online gambling industry. Italian media revealed details of operation “Double Jack”, in multiple provinces to raid 30 different residences suspected of being connected to an illegal gambling operation that mixed land-based gaming machines with computer terminals connected to Malta-based online gambling servers.
FINCEN ISSUES $8 MILLION PENALTY ON CALIFORNIA CARD CLUB FOR WILLFUL VIOLATION OF AML CONTROLS
Artichoke Joe’s Casino said to have turned a blind eye to loan sharking, suspicious high-value chip transfers, and flagrant criminal activity for years
GAMBLING REGULATOR’S NEW STRATEGIC PRIORITIES REFLECT ITS TOUGHER APPROACH TO ENFORCEMENT
Law news site, Out-Law, on 16th November reported that the new strategic priorities that the UK Gambling Commission has outlined reflect the tougher approach to enforcement that it has adopted in recent times, an expert has said
PARADISE PAPERS UPDATE
ICIJ adds new data in the Offshore Leaks Database on close to 25,000 entities connected to the Paradise Papers investigation
18th November 2017
FLORIDA COMPANY TRANSFERRED MONEY FROM VENEZUELA
The owners of a Florida construction equipment exporter have been convicted of illegally transferring more than $100 million from businesses largely in Venezuela to U.S. and foreign bank accounts. Luis Diaz Jr., 75, and his son, Luis Javier Diaz, 50, were found guilty of operating an unlicensed money transmitting business and money laundering in a Manhattan federal court, some of the money being transferred into accounts belonging to Venezuelan government officials.
FORMER IMF HEAD TO STAND TRIAL IN SPAIN
Telesur reports that Spanish court has ordered former IMF head Rodrigo Rato, a former economy minister, to stand trial for fraud over the failed 2011 listing of Bankia, being accused of falsifying information about its finances to encourage investors. He will stand trial along with more than 30 other former Bankia executives for investor fraud, and for falsifying 2010 and 2011 accounts. Bankia had to be rescued in 2012, and tens of thousands of small investors lost everything.
IMF PAPER: CORRUPTION, TAXES AND COMPLIANCE TAX COMPLIANCE AND PERCEPTION OF CORRUPTION
Working Paper 17/255 paper revisits the effects of corruption on the state’s capacity to raise revenue, building on the existing empirical literature using new and more disaggregated data. Using comprehensive dataset for 147 countries spanning 1995-2014, compiled by the IMF. It finds that—consistent with the existing literature—corruption is negatively associated with overall tax revenue, and most of its components. This relationship is predominantly influenced by the way corruption interacts with tax compliance. The establishment of large taxpayer offices improves tax compliance by dampening the perception of corruption, thereby boosting revenue.
US LEGISLATURE MOVES TOWARDS REPEAL OF CONFLICT MINERALS REPORTING
White & Case reports that on November 15th, the US House of Representatives Financial Services Committee approved legislation that would repeal the conflict minerals which directed the SEC to adopt its conflict minerals disclosure rules and related certification and audit requirements. It goes on to say that the rule has faced numerous legal challenges over the years and, after a final judgment by a court that certain aspects of the requirements violate the First Amendment of the US Constitution, the SEC is now charged with resolving open issues concerning implementation of the rule, and it recently said it would not recommend enforcement action for the time being.
RUSSIA VETO FOR SYRIA CHEMICAL WEAPONS INVESTIGATION
The Russian Federation on 17th November vetoed a measure before the UN Security Council that would have extended the mandate of a UN panel investigating the use of chemical weapons in Syria for a further 30 days. Russia had previously tabled a draft resolution that it said was intended to fix what it saw as fundamental flaws in the structure of the organisation (OPCW) involved, and resisted any extension that did not address those issues. As a result of the veto, the mandate expired.
HM LAND REGISTRY HAS RELEASED DATA ON PROPERTY IN ENGLAND AND WALES OWNED BY UK AND OVERSEAS COMPANIES.
This latest move complements the introduction in 2016 of PSC registers at Companies House by means of which it is intended to be possible to establish who has ultimate control over UK companies.
Commercial and Corporate Ownership Data and Overseas Companies Ownership Data should allow you to:
- establish the land interests of companies. Information is free of charge, although users must register for a licence to access it. The data includes land held by local authorities, LLP, housing associations, and other unincorporated associations.
- obtain the company’s name, address and country of incorporation, together with the price paid for a property, and the date on which the company was registered as owner of the property.
It will be possible to ascertain whether the company owns the freehold interest in the property, or a leasehold interest, and an indicator of whether there are any additional proprietors. This information is already in the public domain, but not in a collated format. There is a fee for obtaining the individual title registers that contain the information.
SIPRI RESEARCH ON THE 21ST CENTURY MARITIME SILK ROAD
Research and think tank SIPRI, with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), will continue their co-operation on researching China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from a security perspective. In 2016–17, the first leg of the co-operation looked at the security implications of the Silk Road Economic Belt–the terrestrial component of the BRI–in Central and South Asia. The second leg examines the security implications of the BRI’s maritime component, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, in SE Asia, and the Indian Ocean Region.
CONFISCATION ORDER FOR SOLICITOR
A solicitor, Linda Box, formerly senior partner of Wakefield law firm Dixon Coles McGill, was jailed earlier this year for stealing more than £4 million – and maybe as much as £10 million over 15 years – from her clients and the Church of England has been ordered to pay back £1.9 million within 3 months, or face a further 8 years in prison.
SECOND EU STUDY ON CORRUPTION IN THE HEALTHCARE SECTOR
On October 7th the EU Commission published its updated study on corruption in the EU healthcare sector. In this article, Baker McKenzie suggests that companies in the healthcare industry should rethink their policies and procedures based on the results of this Europe-wide study. The study covered all EU Member States but focused on Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, and Romania.
Relevant finding for companies in the sector were that –
- bribery in medical service delivery remains one of the main challenges, especially in many Eastern and Southern European Member States;
- transparent procedures are key in addressing corruption in procurement processes; and
- attempts to address improper marketing increase at both EU and national level.
The study identified 6 typologies of corruption –
- bribery in medical service delivery;
- procurement corruption;
- improper marketing relations;
- misuse of (high) level positions;
- undue reimbursement claims; and
- fraud and embezzlement of medicines and medical devices.
The article is at https://globalcompliancenews.com/eu-study-corruption-healthcare-20171114/#_ftn4
The updated study is at https://ec.europa.eu/home-affairs/sites/homeaffairs/files/20170928_study_on_healthcare_corruption_en.pdf
BRITISH FOREX TRADERS FIGHTING CHARGES IN US COURTS
Former Forex traders Christopher Ashton, Rohan Ramchandani, and Richard Usher stand accused of Forex price manipulation, and are seeking to dismiss the indictment in courts in New York, having filed the papers on November 17th. The defendants in the case (USA v. Usher et al) are citizens and residents of the UK. They were currency traders for banks in London with customers in Europe. They are accused of using a chat room to discuss customer trades and risk positions, and agreed that they would “suppress and eliminate competition” in the global FX market through coordinating their bidding, offering, and trading. They waived extradition to go to the US and fight the charges.
US REPORTS HIGHLIGHTS CONCERNS ABOUT CHINESE INVESTMENT IN USA
The US-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s annual report to Congress finds several reasons to be concerned about Chinese foreign direct investment (FDI) in the US that has “increased dramatically in recent years.”
- Chinese FDI is targeting industries deemed strategic by the Chinese government, including information communications technology, agriculture, and biotechnology, leading to the transfer of valuable US assets, intellectual property, and technology to China; and US companies have to to disclose valuable technologies and source code to gain access to the Chinese market.
- some Chinese companies operating in strategic sectors are private only in name, with the Chinese government using an array of measures to influence private business decisions and achieve state goals.
- some Chinese companies are attempting to invest in sensitive US industries avoiding US regulatory procedures, including arranging investments through shell companies based outside China and conducting cyber espionage campaigns to financially weaken and then acquire US firms.
CHINESE ARMOURED VEHICLES HIGH-PROFILE IN ZIMBABWE COUP
Janes.com reports that the Zimbabwe National Army (ZNA) made extensive use of Chinese-made Type 89 armoured vehicles during the coup that ousted President Mugabe on 14th November. The vehicles appeared to be well-maintained, despite Zimbabwe’s economic problems over the last decade. None of the other types of armoured vehicles that the ZNA has in its inventory, which include EE-9 Cascavel armoured cars and EE-11 Urutu APC, were seen during the operation. Neither the UN Register of Conventional Arms nor the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute has any record of the delivery of Type 89s to Zimbabwe.
CONFERENCE ON THE PROTECTION OF NUCLEAR MATERIAL AND FACILITIES COMMENCES IN VIENNA
This conference opened at the IAEA in Vienna on 15th November, with more than 800 participants representing governments, regulatory bodies, nuclear facilities, academia, industry and civil society sharing experiences, challenges and lessons learned in order to strengthen protection of nuclear material and facilities against theft or sabotage. Running to 17th November it is held in co-operation with Interpol, the World Nuclear Transport Institute (WNTI) and the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS). On the agenda was the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material (CPPNM) and its Amendment, which requires states to protect nuclear facilities and nuclear material in domestic use, storage and transport. Conference participants were to share experiences on the implementation of the Nuclear Security Recommendations on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and Nuclear Facilities (NSS 13), which provide guidance on how to implement the technical part of the CPPNM amendment that entered into force in May 2016.
US-CHINA NUCLEAR SMUGGLING MEETING
The US and China convened their second nuclear smuggling consultation on November 9th in Shanghai “to reaffirm their joint commitment and continued resolve to counter the threat of nuclear terrorism”. It began with a tour highlighting the operations of the radiation detection system at the Port of Yangshan and a scenario-based policy discussion focused on US and Chinese response to a fictional smuggling scenario.
BURGLARS IN PAKISTAN FIND NORH KOREAN DIPLOMAT’S BOOZE STASH
On 9th November the Telegraph reported that burglars in Pakistan stumbled upon a secret stash of more than £114,000 worth of black market alcohol after breaking into a North Korean diplomat’s home in Islamabad. Neighbours told Reuters that a group of men kicked down the door of the house and spent 3 hours removing thousands of bottles of Scotch whisky, beer and French wine. They also ran off with 200 cases of wine, 60 cartons of beer, dozens of bottles of tequila, 2 diamonds and $3,000 in cash. It is believed that DPRK diplomats are involved in all sorts of illicit activities to raise cash, including bootlegging, and it was suggested that Pakistani officials may have turned a blind eye to it due to the good relations between the two countries.
MISSILE TECHNOLOGY CONTROL REGIME (MTCR) FAQ
The US State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation (ISN) provides the following helpful FAQ on the MTCR, which also forms part of the underpinning of EU and UK export control systems.
19th November 2017
GLOBAL MILITARY UAV MARKET WORTH $80 BILLION OVER NEXT DECADE
Defence Web reports that the global military unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) market will be worth an estimated $80 billion over the next decade, according to new research. The Teal Group has predicted that UAV production will increase from $4.2 billion annually in 2017 to $10.3 billion in 2026, totalling $80.5 billion in the next 10 years and military UAV research spending would add another $26 billion over the decade. UAV will be the most dynamic growth sector of the world aerospace industry this decade, more than tripling in the next decade, with almost 60 US, European, Asia-Pacific, and Israeli companies. The study provides forecasts for a wide range of UAV payloads, including Electro-Optic/Infrared Sensors (EO/IR), Synthetic Aperture Radars (SARs), SIGINT and EW Systems, and C4I Systems (as well as weaponry).
BINARY OPTION FRAUD EXPLAINED
Which magazine provides a useful guide to binary options. Binary options are one of the fastest growing financial products in the world, but in most cases they’re quite simply a fraud. UK investors have reported losses of more than £50 million to binary options scammers, according to the police, including £18 million in the first half of 2017 alone. The true number could be far higher – dozens of Which? members have been targeted, and the Which? Money Helpline is currently getting up to 15 calls a month from victims. https://www.which.co.uk/news/2017/11/binary-options-britains-biggest-investment-con/
LONDON ESTATE AGENT AND THE NIGERIAN OIL MINISTER
This is Money reports that a London estate agent who appeared on the Homes Under The Hammer on BBC has been named in an investigation into alleged corruption by a former Nigerian oil minister known as ‘The Madam’. Court documents filed in the US allege King’s Cross estate agency Daniel Ford helped to buy millions of pounds worth of properties for Diezani Alison-Madueke in London. Daniel Ford’s sole director is Adeyemi Edun, UK company records show. He has been seen on the TV series offering advice on buying and renovating flats. http://www.thisismoney.co.uk/money/news/article-5096287/TV-property-expert-named-Nigerian-bribery-probe.html#ixzz4ysPKUZVx
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL REPORT ON TERRORIST OUTRAGES AND ALLEGED “WAR CRIMES” BY PHILIPPINES MILITARY IN MINDANAO
The “Battle of Marawi” pitted the Philippine military against militants allied to Islamic State (IS) between May and October this year. Amnesty has released a report The ‘Battle of Marawi’: Death and destruction in the Philippines as the first detailed human rights analysis of the conflict, based on a research trip to Lanao del Sur, Mindanao in September. It documents how IS-allied militants targeted Christian civilians for the worst of the abuses, including at least 25 extrajudicial killings, mass hostage-taking, and extensive looting of civilian property. It also alleges excesses by the government forces. The conflict began in May with a firefight between Philippine government forces and an alliance of IS-aligned militants in Marawi – a city of 200,000 in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, in the southern Philippines. The militants, including the Maute group and the Abu Sayyaf group, who quickly took control of large areas of the city, prompting Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte to impose martial law and suspend the writ of habeas corpus on the entire island of Mindanao.
US ATTORNEY GENERALS CALL FOR REPEAL OF ACT LIMITING DEA POWERS
44 State Attorney Generals in the US have written a joint letter to Congress calling for repeal of the Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act 2016. The chief complaint appears to e that the new Act added language to existing law that redefined “imminent danger to the public health or safety” to mean a “substantial likelihood of an immediate threat of death, serious bodily harm, or abuse of a controlled substance.”
According to the DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge the language has created an exceedingly high burden that is nearly impossible to meet, and as a result, the DEA’s ability to immediately suspend a registrant and to also institute proceedings against a manufacturer or distributor whose unlawful behavior endangers public health or safety is severely diminished, which they deplore in the face of the so-called “opioid epidemic”. They argue that the Act effectively strips the DEA of a mission-critical tool, i.e. ability to issue an immediate suspension order against a drug manufacturer or distributor whose unlawful conduct poses an imminent danger to public health or safety.
The letter is online at –
PARADISE PAPERS: YACHTS AND GAMBLING LINKED TO TYPICAL FINNISH-OWNED MALTA BUSINESSES
Finnish news site article, asked some of the 350 Finns with registered businesses in the tax haven country of Malta to explain their business dealings there. Many respondents had difficulties remembering or explaining what their company is up to, but yachts and gambling are often involved…
SCOTLAND’S RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERING
The Sunday Post in Scotland on 19th November carried a feature, “Scotland’s £27bn laundry: Organised crime gangs in former Soviet Union use Scots firms to rinse dirty fortunes”. It reports (as already known or guessed at) businesses in Scotland have been used to launder up to £27 billion in dirty money belonging to organised crime gangs in the former Soviet Union. It claims to reveal 4,500 financial transactions have been questioned as Scots-registered firms are linked to massive fraud and tax evasion in Russia and Azerbaijan, according to new research.
NEWS SITE CLAIMS TURKISH BANKS AND BANKER TIED TO IRANIAN SANCTIONS EVASION, AND INVOLVING INDIA AND GREECE.
Turish Minute carries a report claiming that a former executive of Turkey’s state lender Halkbank was the key operative in assembling a team and setting up clandestine schemes on behalf of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in moving funds through Turkey. The allegations flow from investigations into Reza Zarrab’s network (he is currently on trial in the US) and also in the probe of Tevhid-Selam, the Turkish affiliate of the IRGC Quds Force. It claims that the revelations show he was also involved in orchestrating plans to move Iranian funds from Greece while running international banking operations for Halkbank. In wiretapped conversations he explained how he set up the businesses in Aktif Bank, another Turkish bank that came under scrutiny for involvement in Iranian funds transfer in violation of US financial sanctions, and counseled another on whether the IRGC could utilize other state banks such as Ziraat Bank and Vakif Bank in circumventing the US laws and regulations that blocked Halkbank from processing payments for third countries such as India in exchange of the purchase of Iranian oil. Wiretaps are also said to reveal how he set up a scheme for the IRGC in Greece by opening an account at the Halkbank branch in Athens while he was running foreign operations for the bank.
TRUMP PANAMA PROJECT LINKED TO MONEY LAUNDERING ALLEGATIONS AND RUSSIAN MAFIA
Reuters/NBC investigation into Trump’s first international project, the Trump Ocean Club in Panama, unveils a web of shady dealings. Fascinating…