BBC Radio’s “File on 4” examines the threat from prescription drugs and medicines in the UK. While Fentanyl is currently in the spotlight in the US and the UK, it is tranquilisers and other sedatives often used by heroin users to dull withdrawal symptoms which are contributing to many more deaths. Nowhere is the problem more acute than in Scotland where benzodiazepines contributed to nearly half of all drug deaths. Many of the pills known as “street valium” or “blues” are made in back street laboratories run by organised crime gangs. Users gamble with their lives as the ingredients and strength of the tablets are often unknown. File on 4 has discovered that organised crime gangs have also become involved in diverting significant numbers of highly addictive medicines from the legitimate supply chain onto the black market.
This Order SI 2018/93 brings into operation on 31st January a revised code of practice providing guidance for prosecutors in England, Wales and Northern Ireland on the exercise of certain functions under POCA. The revised code is required because of amendments to POCA by the Criminal Finances Act 2017, and relates to the exercise of functions under Chapter 2 of Part 8 of the Act by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Director of the Serious Fraud Office and the Director of Public Prosecutions for Northern Ireland as well as officers of the Serious Fraud Office.
On 31st January, EurActiv reported that the UN Security Council had renewed its arms embargo on the Central African Republic and added incitement to hatred as well as attacks on aid workers as criteria for sanctions. It unanimously adopted a French-drafted Resolution that would pave the way to targeted sanctions against those fomenting anti-Muslim or anti-Christian violence in the strife-torn country. Resurgent armed groups in the Central African Republic (CAR) have resorted to hate speech to stoke tensions. Since the UN set up a sanctions regime in 2013, 11 individuals including former president Francois Bozize and 2 entities have been hit by a global travel ban and an assets freeze. Last year, the council added attacks on peacekeepers, recruiting child soldiers and sexual violence as criteria for sanctions. The new Resolution added attacks against aid workers as grounds for sanctions after at least 13 relief staff were killed in CAR last year, making it one of the most dangerous countries for humanitarian operations.
MONEYVAL at the Council of Europe on 30th January published its report on the AML/CFT systems of Ukraine, saying that new legal provisions are required to render more dissuasive sentences for the crimes, more resources are needed, and high-level cases are to be investigated and prosecuted more actively. Since the last evaluation in 2009, Ukraine has taken a number of welcome steps. Ukrainian authorities demonstrate a reasonably good understanding of ML/FT risks. However, understanding could be enhanced in such areas as cross-border risks and risks posed by the non-profit sector and legal persons. Besides, more robust statistics should back up the risk analysis. Ukraine faces considerable money laundering risks due to the corruption and illegal economic activities, including fictitious entrepreneurship, tax evasion and fraud. The sheer size of the shadow economy exacerbated by the widespread use of cash makes the country especially vulnerable. Money laundering is still essentially seen as a “secondary level” crime, an adjunct to a predicate offence. Whenever a sentence for money laundering is given, it is almost always less than for the predicate offence. The sanctions generally need to be more dissuasive in practice. As far as terrorism financing is concerned, Ukraine has introduced it as a separate offence and is putting a system in place for countering it. However, there are still technical deficiencies that need to be addressed to bring the framework in line with international standards. Ukraine is to report back to MONEYVAL at the first Plenary in 2019 about the implementation of its recommendations under enhanced follow-up procedures.
The report is at –