THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – FEBRUARY 3

3rd February 2018

EU REGULATIONS CONFIRM 3 NAMES ADDED TO SOUTH SUDAN SANCTIONS

On 3rd February, EU Regulation 2018/164/EU confirmed the below.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.031.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:031:TOC

See also EU Council Decision 2018/168/CFSP –

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.031.01.0086.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:031:TOC

The European Council has added 3 persons involved in serious human rights violations to the list of those submitted to a travel ban and an asset freeze in view of the situation in South Sudan.  It is the first time that the EU decides to sanction persons in view of the situation in South Sudan in addition to those sanctioned by the UN. The decision brings the total number of persons under restrictive measures in view of the situation in South Sudan to 9, as 6 persons were already listed by the UN.  The 3 new names are – Paul Malong, Malek Reuben Riak and Michael Makuei Leuth

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/02/02/south-sudan-eu-adds-3-persons-involved-in-serious-human-rights-violation-to-sanctions-list/

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/minister-for-africa-welcomes-new-eu-sanctions-against-south-sudan

EU AMENDS DETAILS OF LYNN S VESSEL UNDER LIBYAN SANCTIONS

On 3rd February, EU Regulation 2018/166/EU amended the details of the vessel, Lynn S.

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.031.01.0082.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:031:TOC

See also EU Council decision 2018/167/CFSP –

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/AUTO/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2018.031.01.0084.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:031:TOC

UN EXPORTS SAY NORTH KOREA BROUGHT IN $200 MILLION IN 9 MONTHS DESPITE SANCTIONS

The New York Post and CBS News report that North Korea is flouting UN sanctions on oil and gas, engaging in prohibited ballistic missile co-operation with Syria and Myanmar, and illegally exporting commodities that brought in nearly $200 million in just 9 months last year, according to UN experts, and it continues to engage in “widespread conventional arms deals and cyber operations to steal military secrets”.  Experts said North Korea also exported $125 million of iron ore to China last year in violation of sanctions.  US ambassador Nikki Haley said sanctions now ban well over 90% of North Korea’s exports reported in 2016.

In the CBS article, the Chair of the UN Panel of Exports that produced the report on sanctions busting, is said to have shown the “60 Minutes” team a series of photos of rocket debris.  Investigators could trace where the parts came from.  Some parts had a manufacturer’s logo and serial numbers on them, allowing investigators to trace the origin and supply chain. And one component, called a pressure transmitter, was sourced to a well-known company in the West, a “major transatlantic defence contractor” manufactured in the UK by a company whose name is a household name in the US.

Amongst the claims are that North Korean technicians continue to operate at Syrian missile & chemical weapon facilities in Barzah, Adra and Hama, according to intel provided for the UN’s report.  2 North Korea-linked shipments of items to Syria had enough material to build a “large-scale” industrial chemical weapons facility.  UN investigators also cite evidence North Korea is helping Syria develop a chemical weapons programmes, pointing to shipped items that can be used for a program and technician visits.  In fresh revelations, the UN report cites evidence Myanmar is buying ballistic missiles systems & conventional weapons from North Korea:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/un-experts-say-north-korea-brought-in-200m-despite-sanctions/?src=ilaw

RUSSIAN OLIGARCHS IN UK TOLD TO EXPLAIN LUXURY LIFESTYLES

On 3rd February the BBC reported that the security minister has said that Russian oligarchs suspected of corruption will be forced to explain their luxury lifestyles in the UK. The article is linked to the introduction of Unexplained Wealth Orders by the Criminal Finances Act 2017 and the “McMafia” series currently running on BBC TV- so I think you can take it that the authorities will not actually be going out quizzing wealthy Russians…

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42926819?src=ilaw

US FEDERAL RESERVE RESTRICTS WELLS FARGO’S GROWTH IN UNPRECEDENTED PUNISHMENT AFTER FRAUD SCANDAL 

The New York Daily News reports that the US Federal Reserve imposed an unusually harsh punishment on Wells Fargo for the “widespread consumer abuses” uncovered in the bank’s fraud scandal. It will not be allowed to grow beyond the $1.95 trillion in assets it had at the end of last year “until it sufficiently improves its governance and controls”.  In 2016, Wells Fargo forked over a hefty $185 million settlement after employees opened 3.5 million unauthorized bank accounts and credit cards without their customers’ consent.  Employees, pressured by internal sales targets, used fake email addresses and forged signatures in the widespread practice known as “sandbagging”; the bank also sold auto insurance to customers who did not need it and admitted its mortgage bankers unfairly charged customers fees to lock in interest rates; it also overcharged their corporate clients on foreign exchanges and levied unusually high transaction fees, according to a Wall Street Journal report in November.

www.nydailynews.com/news/national/federal-reserve-restricts-wells-fargo-growth-demands-board-mem-article-1.3796272?src=ilaw

UK AUTHORITIES LEAVE NAB TEAM FROM PAKISTAN HIGH AND DRY

The News in Pakistan reports that the country’s National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team that recently visited London failed to make a breakthrough in its quest for obtaining actionable evidence in relation to the ongoing cases against Nawaz Sharif and his children.  The newspaper says that the UK’s Central Authority (UKCA) International Criminality Unit and NCA had not shared any new information with the NAB, and that “no other organ of the state has provided any information against Hasan and Hussain Nawaz Sharif which could helpful for the NAB in its case”.  Former PM, Nawaz Sharif, his sons Hassan and Hussain Nawaz, his daughter Maryum Nawaz and his son-in-law MNA Captain (R) Safdar have been accused in the reference filed by the NAB but all of them deny any wrongdoing and stress that these cases are politically motivated.

https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/276294-uk-authorities-leave-nab-team-high-and-dry?src=ilaw

US INVESTORS SEEK APPROVAL FOR LARGE PAY-OUT IN PETROBRAS CORRUPTION SCANDAL

According to Oil Price, PwC’s Brazilian subsidiary disclosed in a Manhattan court that $3 billion in settlements regarding an ongoing corruption scandal in Brazil need to be approved by the country’s parliament, including a $50 million settlement with the ordeal’s main auditor, PwC, according to a new report by Reuters.  Investors in Petrobras are due to receive $2.95 billion to settle a class action lawsuit targeting the state-run company for losses in share value after the corruption probe exposed the depths of official mismanagement.  If a $285 million deal in the US is approved, it would the largest pay-out to US investors from a foreign company in history, Reuters reports, though the total pay-out is smaller than analysts expected.

https://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/US-Investors-Seek-Approval-For-Large-Payout-In-Petrobras-Corruption-Scandal.html?src=ilaw

WHY DOES CHINA SUDDENLY WANT TO CRACK DOWN ON GANGS?

Epoch Times posed this question on 2nd February.  By initiating a campaign to clean up criminal gangs, it is said. The phrase is used to describe efforts to stamp out anything that could cause social unrest or dissent against the authorities.  Criminal gangs and their violent activities could cause public disturbance, so the regime’s purported crackdown can act as a deterrence.  It is claimed that gangs and police in China often form an alliance to benefit each other: gangs bribe the police to get them off the hook, while police and corrupt officials can have gang members do their bidding.

https://www.theepochtimes.com/why-does-china-suddenly-want-to-crack-down-on-gangs_2431052.html?src=ilaw

POLICE CAN’T FIND OWNER OF $800,000 SEIZED AT TORONTO’S PEARSON AIRPORT

Global News in Canada reports that the cash, $797,790 in total, was seized last spring at the airport and has been determined to likely be proceeds of crime.  Under the Police Services Act, the money is to be transferred to the local police services board.  The cash was seized on April 19th 2017, after a bag checked by a woman flying from Toronto to Vancouver was deemed suspicious and searched. Police say the woman was allowed to remain on the flight and was interviewed by Vancouver police, but denied any knowledge of the bag’s contents and has made no move to claim it.

https://globalnews.ca/news/4003249/police-owner-toronto-pearson-airport/?src=ilaw

US JUDGE ORDERS RUSSIAN-OWNED COMPANY TO PAY $6 MILLION

Reuters on 3rd February reported that a US judge has ordered a Russian-owned corporation, Prevezon Holdings Ltd, to pay a $5.9 million settlement it reached last year with US prosecutors over allegations that it laundered proceeds of a $230 million tax fraud.  The company is owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, and argued that the deal did not require it to pay until authorities in the Netherlands released certain assets they had frozen there.  The case dates back to 2013 and the fraud was first uncovered by Sergei Magnitsky, an accountant with Hermitage Capital who subsequently died in a Russian prison (and after whom the Magnitsky laws penalising those allegedly involved in human rights abuses are named).

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-prevezon/u-s-judge-orders-russian-owned-company-to-pay-6-million-settlement-idUSKBN1FM2FJ?src=ilaw

MULTI-BILLION AIRCRAFT LEASING SECTOR PAYS JUST €40 MILLION IN TAX IN IRELAND

On 3rd February the Irish Independent reported that, according to provisional figures, the approximately 2,600 aircraft leasing companies in Ireland paid only around €40 million in taxes last year, an average amount of €15,384.  A recent Central Bank study into the industry here showed that revenues rose from €9.4 billion in 2014 to €11.8 billion in 2015.  Ireland is home to 9 of the 10 largest aircraft leasing firms in the world and some of the big players based in Ireland include Aercap, SMBC, Pembroke Capital, Awas Capital, GECAS and Avolon.  There are more than 4,000 aircraft under Irish management and together Irish-based lessors account for more than $125 billion in aircraft assets.

https://www.independent.ie/business/irish/multibillion-aircraft-leasing-sector-pays-just-40m-in-tax-36562460.html

CONVICTED FRAUDSTER BARRY HUGHES HANDS OVER £53,000 IN ASSETS

The Daily Record in Scotland reports that convicted fraudster Barry Hughes has handed over £53,000 in assets following receiving a confiscation order last February for £53,412 of realisable assets.  These included a £5,600 Vertu Constellation mobile phone, Rolex Daytona watches valued at £6,170 and £6,310, and Cartier watches worth £2200 and £3,250.  But prosecutors can still pursue Hughes for the rest of the £2.9 million – reduced from almost £5.4 million on appeal last August – agreed to be his “benefit figure” from crime.  Hughes featured on a BBC TV programme telling how crooks and businessmen allegedly exploit weaknesses in the bankruptcy system to keep hold of their cash; he had declared himself bankrupt in 2014 owing £10 million and claiming he had no assets, but the BBC expose said he had been seen driving luxury cars worth £500,000.

https://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/scottish-news/convicted-fraudster-barry-hughes-hands-11961862

US COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION CHARGES MY BIG COIN PAY, INC. AND ITS FOUNDERS WITH FRAUD AND MISAPPROPRIATION OF CUSTOMER FUNDS IN VIRTUAL CURRENCY SCHEME

Shearman & Sterling on 2nd February reports the filing of an enforcement action charging Nevada-based firm My Big Coin Pay, Inc. and its founders with operating a scheme through which they fraudulently offered the sale of a virtual currency, known as “My Big Coin”. This enforcement action follows 2 CFTC enforcement actions against other fraudulent virtual currency schemes within the preceding week.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/us-commodity-futures-trading-commission-95727/

THE ABC OF INVESTING IN ICO

On 2nd February, US law firm Pepper Hamilton produced this guide to Initial Coin Offerings.  It is an ABC of questions to ask to protect yourself.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/the-abcs-of-investing-in-icos-30027/

MALTA SUSPENDS MAFIA-LINKED PHOENIX ONLINE GAMBLING LICENCE

Malta’s gaming regulator has suspended the licence of an online gambling operator linked to an Italian anti-mafia police action.

https://calvinayre.com/2018/02/02/business/malta-suspends-phoenix-online-gambling-license/

PANAMA REGULATOR TAKES CONTROL OF BROKERAGE FIRM WEBSITE

Kenneth Rijock in his blog reports that the Superintendency of Securities (SMV) has intervened in Panama Wall Street SA, a Panama City brokerage firm whose foreign clients have reportedly sustained major losses, and where securities fraud is alleged to have occurred. The SMV actually took over the firm’s website, and posted its Notice of Intervention there.  The company is said to be controlled by a Dutch national, Jochem Bernard Buse, and it has been linked to the American expat, Gary James Lundgren, who was recently banned for life from securities trading by FINRA.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/

US ARMS EXPORT RESTRICTIONS ON SOUTH SUDAN

On 2nd February the US State Department issued a news release that announces that it is implementing restrictions on the export of defence articles and defence services into South Sudan due to the continuing violence. The Department also encourage IGAD and the African Union to consider sanctions measures against those who undermine the peace process. The US is seeking support for a UN Security Council embargo on all arms flows into South Sudan and we urge all Security Council members to join the US in supporting this action. The message must be clear, it says – the US, the region, and the international community will not stand idly by as innocent South Sudanese civilians are murdered.

https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2018/02/277849.htm

ATTORNEY GETS 7 YEARS FOR LAUNDERING $2 MILLION

Law 360 on 2nd February reported that a former Venable LLP and Arent Fox LLP patent attorney, Raymond Ho, has been sentenced to 7 years in prison after he pled guilty to laundering more than $2.1 million as part of a “catfishing” scheme uncovered by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement during which agents posed as human and illegal arms traffickers.

https://www.law360.com/articles/1008642/ex-venable-atty-gets-7-years-for-laundering-2m

VOLUNTEER JAILED FOR STEALING £35,000 FROM SALES OF POPPIES IN JERSEY
On 3rd February the Jersey Evening Post reported that a volunteer – a former honorary policeman, community volunteer and charity fundraiser has been jailed for stealing £35,000 from sales of poppies
https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2018/02/03/volunteer-jailed-for-stealing-35000-from-sales-of-poppies/#exrWKqHk6VD6EY3W.99

ARKANSAS STATE SENATOR PLEADS GUILTY TO WIRE FRAUD, MONEY LAUNDERING AND BANK FRAUD

On 30th January, Baker McKenzie reported that Arkansas state Senator Jake Files has pleaded guilty to wire fraud, money laundering and bank fraud in connection with a $46,500 grant he fraudulently obtained for use on a local sports complex.

www.riskandcompliancehub.com/arkansas-state-senator-pleads-guilty-to-wire-fraud-money-laundering-and-bank-fraud/

US WARNS OF ASSAD’S EVOLVING CHEMICAL WEAPONS MUNITIONS

Janes.com on 2nd February reported that forces loyal to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad are developing new munitions to deliver chemical weapons, US officials told journalists on 1st February.  The officials said Assad’s forces had continued to make occasional and relatively small-scale use of chemical weapons since the 4th April 2017 sarin attack on Khan Shaykhun that prompted the US to bomb Al-Shayrat Air Base. Recent attacks had involved both sarin and chlorine, they said.

http://www.janes.com/article/77559/us-warns-of-assad-s-evolving-cw-munitions

US WARNS COUNTRIES AGAINST AIDING TERRORISTS EYEING NUCLEAR WEAPONS

The Pakistan Observer, amongst others, reports that the US has warned countries against supporting non-state actors and terrorist groups trying to obtain or employ nuclear weapons.  “The US will hold accountable any state or non-state actor that supports terrorist efforts to obtain or employ a nuclear weapon,” Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs, Tom Shannon, told reporters at a Pentagon news conference where the Trump administration rolled out its 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR).  Neither Shannon nor the NPR report, running into 100 pages, identified any country which could be seen aiding terrorist groups in this regard.  Shannon said that nuclear terrorism remained a major threat in the 21st century and countries need to work to mitigate it.

https://pakobserver.net/us-warns-countries-aiding-terrorists-eyeing-nuclear-weapons/

GAO: FOREIGN ARMS SALES WAIVERS COST THE US BILLIONS

Defense News on 2nd February reports that over the past 6 fiscal years foreign military sale (FMS) waivers for non-recurring costs approved by the Department of Defense totalled nearly $16 billion, according to a Government Accountability Office report.  Although the US sold $32 billion of weapons through FMS last year, one area where these inefficiencies are most apparent is the waiver review process for non-recurring costs.  Under the Arms Export Control Act, DoD is required to recover non-recurring costs (like one-time programme expenditures for production testing lines) from foreign buyers. However, these costs can be waived under certain circumstances.

https://www.defensenews.com/pentagon/2018/02/02/gao-foreign-arms-sales-waivers-cost-us-billions/

MALTA GOVERNMENT SAYS NO REASON FOR ITS FIU TO SUSPECT CRIMINAL ACTIVITY IN REPORTS LEAKED BY MURDERED JOURNALIST

The Malta Independent on 3rd February reported that the Government of Malta has come to the “logical conclusion” that the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) did not find “reasonable grounds to suspect criminal activity” when referring to leaked reports in the media.  The statement came in a 44-page report replying to a rule of law report penned by MEPs earlier this year.  A delegation of MEPs were investigating the rule of law in Malta after journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia was brutally murdered in a car bomb on 16th October.  In the wake of the allegations made by the victim, multiple FIAU reports were leaked to the press detailing alleged wrongdoing involving illicit payments.

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2018-02-03/local-news/Government-concludes-FIAU-found-no-reasonable-grounds-to-suspect-criminal-activity-6736184409

WHY ONGOING MONITORING IS IMPORTANT IN COMPLIANCE INVOLVING AUTOMATION AND HIGHER-RISK MARKETS

In an article dated 5th February concerning the use of advanced technology in compliance, the Red Flag Group in the US says that while there is no doubt that the advancements in technology are changing the way we do business, technology has a big influence on our daily activities, and automation has also undoubtedly helped reduce overdependence on human resource and its related overhead costs.  It asks how compliance officers can use automation to help them, and says that ongoing due diligence monitoring remains necessary.

https://insights.redflaggroup.com/articles/why-ongoing-monitoring-is-important-in-underdeveloped-high-risk-markets

BERMUDA AML/CFT AWARENESS CAMPAIGN

Payments Compliance on 2nd February referred to the “Just Good Business” campaign launched on 31st January by Bermuda to raise awareness of AML/CFT requirements and standards, to ask for participation by its citizens, with a mutual evaluation review to FATF standards due by the CFATF during 2018.

https://paymentscompliance.com/premium-content/research_report/bermuda-government-launches-just-good-business-campaign

See the campaign launch at –

https://www.gov.bm/articles/just-good-business-campaign

AUSTRALIA IS TIED UP IN AN INVESTIGATION INTO ILLEGAL FUND MOVEMENTS WITH CRYPTO LINKS TOTALLING $480 MILLION
Business Insider on 2nd February reports that South Korean authorities are investigating the illegal transfer of funds to Australia involving cryptocurrency transactions totalling hundreds of millions of dollars.  The Korean Customs Service (KCS) said it was investigating illegal foreign currency transactions totalling 637.5 billion Korean won (around $A740 million).  The majority of that amount related to the exchange of funds between South Korean and Australian bank accounts, according to Korean authorities.

https://www.businessinsider.com.au/cryptocurrency-investigation-illegal-money-transfers-australia-and-south-korea-2018-2#xyCGlRUeIZCHXjhQ.99

3 MONEY LAUNDERERS WHO USED THEIR PROCEEDS TO FUND JET-SET LIFESTYLES WITH 5-STAR HOTEL STAYS AND PORSCHES ARE JAILED FOR A TOTAL OF 7 YEARS IN WALES
The Daily Mail on 2nd February reported that 3 people have been convicted of money laundering after an investigation found that they had used their ill-gotten gains to fund a luxury jet-set lifestyle.  Ebrahim Ege, 33 and Amer Aslam, 35, from Cardiff and Emma Cummings, 30, from Penarth, were convicted following a money laundering investigation across the south Wales region.  They were convicted at Newport Crown Court, had lived extravagant lifestyles with luxury cars and regular trips to destinations like Dubai and Abu Dhabi, often staying at 5-star resorts.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5348077/Welsh-crooks-jailed-luxury-money-laundering-lifestyle.html#ixzz564ULx9vl

US BAR ASSOCIATION OPPOSES AML BILL REQUIRING SAR FROM LAWYERS

On 2nd February, the ABA Journal reports that American Bar Association President Hilarie Bass is expressing concerns that an AML Bill would undermine the attorney-client privilege and impose “burdensome and intrusive regulations” on small businesses and their lawyers. The ABA opposes provisions that would regulate many lawyers and law firms as financial institutions under the Bank Secrecy Act when they help clients to establish small corporations and limited liability companies.

See also the ABA news release at –

https://www.americanbar.org/news/abanews/aba-news-archives/2018/02/aba_sends_letterto.html

and letter to Senate members at –

https://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/uncategorized/GAO/1feb2018-abalettertosjcopposings1454.authcheckdam.pdf

www.abajournal.com/news/article/aba_opposes_anti_money_laundering_bill_requiring_suspicious_activity_report

WHY ILLICIT FOREIGN CASINO CASH OFTEN GOES STRAIGHT INTO VANCOUVER HOUSING

On 2nd February, the Vancouver Sun published an article about “dismaying” stories that Postmedia investigative reporter Sam Cooper has been producing about the laundering of hundreds of millions of dollars of East Asian cash through Metro Vancouver casinos and the funnelling of much of it into the city’s pricey real estate.

http://vancouversun.com/opinion/columnists/douglas-todd-why-illicit-foreign-casino-cash-often-goes-straight-into-vancouver-housing

CONTINUED CONCERN ON KENYA

Unrest and alleged human rights abuses continue in Kenya as Defence Web reports that authorities had arrested an opposition lawyer and defied a court order to lift a ban on 3 private TV stations that had covered the symbolic presidential inauguration of opposition leader, Raila Odinga.  The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva said it was concerned at the government’s “attempts to interfere with the rights to freedom of expression”.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=50596:kenya-arrests-lawyer-keeps-tv-stations-shut-after-odinga-inauguration&catid=54:Governance&Itemid=118

INDIA “TO NAIL” PAKISTAN ON TERROR-FUNDING AT FATF MEETING THIS MONTH

The Statesman in India reports that India is “set to turn the heat on” Pakistan on the issue of terror-funding at the plenary of FATF in Paris from 18th February.  It says that, according to informed sources, New Delhi was in touch with key powers like the US and Russia to enlist their support in cornering Pakistan and putting pressure on it to take steps to check terror-funding.  The week-long meeting in Paris meeting will review Islamabad’s attempts to make its legal regime and law-enforcing machinery more effective to check flow of funds to terrorist networks.  It reports that, at the Buenos Aires plenary in November last year, India, backed by the US and Russia, had succeeded in asking Pakistan to submit a compliance report at the coming Paris meeting on action taken by Islamabad against terror groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD).  For the first time, Pakistan’s Central Bank, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP), was asked specifically to report on its work in shutting off the finances to these terror groups.

https://www.thestatesman.com/india/india-nail-pakistan-terror-funding-fatf-meet-month-1502579003.html?src=ilaw

“DO BRITISH COURTS REALLY NEED TO PROTECT THE WORLD’S MOST CORRUPT INDUSTRY?”

On 3rd February, the Middle East Monitor carried an article which refers to a UK court sentencing 5 protesters arrested last summer for demonstrating near the arms expo in London’s ExCel exhibition centre, the Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI).  The judges rejected the defendants’ claim that they were exercising their right to freedom of speech and assembly before finding them guilty of “Obstruction of a Highway”.   However, says the article, nothing is as it looks like when it comes to the arms industry.  The case against the 43 activists, which is ongoing, is part of a long-running battle between rights groups and sections of the British establishment which, it seems, would prefer arms’ sales to continue unopposed.

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180203-do-british-courts-really-need-to-protect-the-worlds-most-corrupt-industry/?src=ilaw

BELGIAN COURT: PAYMENT OPERATORS SHOULDN’T TRANSMIT PAYMENT DATA TO TAX AUTHORITY

The Brussels Times on 3rd February reports that Antwerp criminal court rejected the request put forth by the Special Taxation Inspectorate (ISI) that wanted to have a glimpse at all foreign credit card payments in Belgium.  ISI wants to determine which Belgians use their black money coming from fiscal paradises such as Luxembourg, Switzerland or Monaco, to make purchases in Belgium.  The transaction data could constitute an important weapon in the battle against tax evasion.  Tax authorities had asked the payment operators to provide them with all data from all foreign payment cards that had been used in Belgium in 2015 and 2016. The companies had not responded to this request, which led to an assignation before a court of justice.

http://www.brusselstimes.com/belgium/10221/payment-operators-shouldn-t-transmit-payment-data-to-isi?src=ilaw

DRUG TRADE FLOURISHES IN AFGHANISTAN AS TALIBAN’S REACH GROWS

Axios reports on 3rd February that opium poppy production is at an all-time high in Afghanistan, increasing 87% — from 4,800 to 9,000 tons — over the past year, according to a US government report. This is providing a crucial revenue stream for the Taliban, which has been gaining territory in the 16th year since the US invasion.

https://www.axios.com/as-taliban-controlled-land-in-afgha-1517522220-6e465d59-c130-4de7-bda3-7804598658e8.html?src=ilaw

SPAIN EXTRADITES RUSSIAN CITIZEN ACCUSED OF CYBERCRIMES TO US

On 3rd February, Rferl reports that Spain has extradited to the US a Pyotr Levashov, a Russian citizen who is accused by US authorities of running massive cybercrime campaigns, including the use of ransomware, scam e-mail distributions, and fraudulent stock promotions. Spain’s National Police said officers handed him over to US marshals on February 2nd.  He was arrested in April while vacationing with his family in Barcelona.

https://www.rferl.org/a/spain-extradites-russian-citizen-cybercrimes-united-states/29016020.html?src=ilaw

POLISH MAN FIGHTING EXTRADITION FROM IRELAND CITING THE ALLEGED CORRUPTION OF HIS OWN COUNTRY’S LEGAL SYSTEM

The Journal on 3rd February reports that the Irish High Court is set to rule on a unique extradition case in the coming weeks regarding a Polish man who is wanted in his own country in connection with alleged drug trafficking offences.  Artur Celmer has been living in Ireland for 10 years. He has now been in custody for the past 9 months pending 3 separate extradition orders served against him by his home country.

http://www.thejournal.ie/artur-celmer-extradition-high-court-3829922-Feb2018/?src=ilaw

PROCEEDS OF CRIME TO PAY FOR EXTENSION TO JERSEY PRISON
A ministerial decision to use £6.5 million from the Criminal Offences Confiscation Fund to pay for the new prison building was signed off by Infrastructure Minister Eddie Noel.  The Fund is a pool of money taken from people convicted for crimes such as drug trafficking or financial fraud. The amount of money collected can greatly vary from year to year.  The largest annual sum in recent years was £29 million collected in 2011, which was largely due to £26 million being confiscated from Indian businessman Raj Arjandas Bhojwani, who tried to launder $43 million through Jersey bank accounts, but by contrast only £26,000 was collected in 2009.  The article details some recent grants made from the Fund.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2018/02/02/proceeds-of-crime-to-pay-for-extension-to-the-prison/#jAXWbcSGD6GJSDJE.99

HONG KONG HAS TO BANK ON BETTER ATM SECURITY

Customs Today on 3rd February reports that a surge estimated at HK$20 billion a month in suspicious ATM withdrawals in Hong Kong is attributed to a crackdown on money laundering in Macau. Authorities there drove out organised ATM withdrawal gangs by upgrading security. The operations have apparently stayed in business simply by moving into Hong Kong.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/hong-kong-has-to-bank-on-better-atm-security/

THE UK SPACE INDUSTRY BILL 2017-2019

On 2nd February the House of Commons Library issued a briefing on this Bill which, inter alia, creates a framework for the regulation of spaceflight activities in the UK in line with the UK’s international obligations; establishes a system of licencing for UK space activities; creates a framework to establish a launch site in the UK, including creating powers for the Secretary of State to make orders over land; creates a framework for liability, indemnities and insurance for UK space activities; and creates new offences and applies existing UK criminal law to space activities.

http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8197

MEXICAN STATE ALLEGES EX-GOVERNOR BOUGHT HOUSTON-AREA HOMES WITH STOLEN MONEY

On 2nd February, Baker McKenzie reports that the Mexican state of Veracruz filed civil lawsuits this week alleging that dozens of Houston-area properties were bought with millions of dollars stolen by the state’s now-jailed former governor.  Javier Duarte de Ochoa has been charged by Mexican authorities with diverting nearly $3 billion from the coffers of the oil-rich state into various shell companies and properties around the world.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/mexican-state-alleges-ex-governor-bought-houston-area-homes-with-stolen-money/

EFTA

On 2nd February the House of Commons Library issued a briefing providing information on the European Free Trade Area in advance of a Westminster hall debate on 8th February.

http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CDP-2018-0031

NORTH KOREA IS DODGING SANCTIONS WITH FISH AND FRONT FIRMS IN MOZAMBIQUE

CNN on 3rd February carried a report which says that fishing is big business in Mozambique – it’s one of the country’s most lucrative industries, and North Korea wants a slice of that much-needed cash, and boats are easy to move and conceal.  Joint fishing ventures are just one area of illicit trade the 2 countries are engaged in.  In a months-long investigation, CNN uncovered a secret web of front companies, military co-operation and elite-forces training deals between North Korea and Mozambique, all in violation of international sanctions, according to UN investigators – and sealed with illegal contracts worth millions of dollars. The money is funnelled through regionally-based North Korean diplomats to Pyongyang.

http://edition.cnn.com/2018/02/03/africa/north-korea-mozambique-sanctions-intl/index.html

CONTINUED NORTH KOREAN-SYRIA WEAPONS CONNECTIONS

Ian Talley of the Wall Street Journal in his Twitter account states that North Korean technicians continue to operate at Syrian missile & chemical weapon facilities in Barzah, Adra and Hama, according to intelligence provided for the UN’s latest report.

https://twitter.com/IanTalley

PRE-RADICALISATION CRIMINAL ACTIVITY IS STRONGEST PREDICTOR OF POST-RADICALISATION VIOLENT EXTREMISM

A study published by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to terrorism (START) in the US on 25th January states that individuals who engaged in non-violent or violent crime prior to radicalizing were 1.85 times more likely to engage in acts of violent extremism after radicalizing than were extremists without criminal histories, according to new analysis of START’s “Profiles of Radicalization in the United States” dataset.  A new research brief includes an analysis of the likelihood of pre-radicalization criminality for US extremists, a look at the pre-radicalisation criminal behaviours that are most prevalent amongst extremists with criminal histories, and information on the average age of earliest criminal activity for non-violent and violent extremists.

www.start.umd.edu/news/pre-radicalization-criminal-activity-strongest-predictor-post-radicalization-violent-extremism

Other material from START includes a Factsheet analysing US deaths in terrorist attacks 1995-2016, both inside and outside the USA –

http://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_AmericanTerrorismDeaths_FactSheet_Nov2017.pdf

And a Background Report: “Ideological Motivations of Terrorism in the United States, 1970—2016” –

http://www.start.umd.edu/pubs/START_IdeologicalMotivationsOfTerrorismInUS_Nov2017.pdf

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Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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