5th February 2018
UK BREXIT SECRETARY WELCOMES FREE PORT STUDY
Multimodal reports that the UK’s Brexit Secretary of State has welcomed a proposal for a study into the benefits of free port status for the Tees region – which contains Teesport. Free ports, though inside a country’s geographical boundary, are seen as outside the nation for customs purposes and remove customs duties. None currently remain in the UK, having been phased out several years ago due to lack of interest and use, and because alternative customs arrangements under applicable EU law existed that appeared to make them superfluous.
CHINA CONSTRUCTION BANK FINED FOR INADEQUATE AML/CFT CONTROLS IN SOUTH AFRICA
FT.com reports that South Africa has imposed fines on the China Construction Bank $6 million for lax AML/CFT controls.
MAJOR BANKS BAN USE OF CREDIT CARDS TO BUY CRYPTOCURRENCY
The Verge reports that 3 major banks in the US (Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase and Citigroup) have said that they won’t allow cryptocurrency purchases on their credit cards. Lloyds Banking Group in the UK have also done so. The move is said to be to protect customers from unnecessary exposure to losses.
HUGE CANADIAN MONEY LAUNDERING INVESTIGATION IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
The Times Colonist on 4th February carried an extensive and interesting article about the RCMP “E-Pirate” money-laundering investigation that delved into metropolitan Vancouver’s underworld of fentanyl labs, gun sales and violent “dial-a-dope” gangs (including the Red Scorpions). It says that an offshoot investigation, code-named “Prophet”, grew from extensive surveillance of the many alleged employees of E-Pirate’s primary target. Documents allege a network of organized criminals established a massive underground banking channel between Richmond and Mainland China, using VIP gamblers from Macau to buy chips, mostly at River Rock Casino, in order to launder hundreds of millions in drug cash. The operation allowed ultra-wealthy Chinese businessmen, some allegedly with ties to organised crime, to move money from China to Canada while evading China’s tight capital export controls. The articles says that Postmedia News has pieced together the story of Prophet through extensive investigation of property in British Columbia, lending and legal documents, including 2 major civil forfeiture claims, and interviews with law enforcement sources not authorized to be identified on the record.
PETER CONLON: INVESTIGATORS LOOKING FOR MISSING FUNDS IN MALTA, BELGIUM, ISLE OF MAN
On 5th February, in an article about the ongoing investigation into the alleged misappropriation of €3.8m for large charities by Irishman Peter Conlon in the Irish Independent, it is mentioned that it is understood investigators are looking into assets held by Peter Conlon in Malta, Belgium and the Isle of Man. Conlon is said to be in custody in Switzerland, having been arrested in December. The liquidator for his company, Pembroke Dynamic Internet Services, said that “it would appear that at least 800 charities may be affected by the liquidation of the company, which is connected to the Ammado Foundation”.
IRISH COURT OF APPEAL BROADENS AMBIT OF THE DOCTRINE OF CONTEMPT OF COURT
On 1st February, law firm Ronan Daly Jermyn published an article in which the firm said, in discussing Director of Public Prosecutions v Independent News and Media PLC, Claire Grady, Stephen Rae and Internet Interactions Limited, the Court explored the doctrine of contempt of court and indicated that a publication may be found to be in contempt of court even where the material published does not deal directly with the subject of the charges against an accused.
WHAT A COMPANY SHOULD DO WHEN CONFRONTED WITH A WARRANT?
In a briefing on 2nd February, Rahman Ravelli in the UK says that, if the police, HMRC, SFO, FCA or other agency arrive at a business premises with a search warrant, it is a challenge for any corporate. What, it asks, should a company do next? The briefing covers such elements as digital “seizures”, legally privileged material, and examining the terms of the warrant and challenging it.
MARINE FINANCE: BANKING HANDY GUIDE
On 2nd February, Brodies LLP produced a 5-page pdf guide to marine ﬁnance – a form of asset ﬁnance used in the maritime industry, particularly to ﬁnance the construction or purchase of ships. Funding can be provided for a single ship, for multiple ships and/or for ships under construction or already operational.
THE MAKING OF A “SUPER-SAR”: A CASE STUDY
On 1st February, White & Case produced a briefing about submitting a report to the NCA jointly with another regulated firm, i.e. a so-called “Super-SAR”. However, the firm cautions that the new regime is complicated and the drafting within the amended sections of POCA 2002 is not clear. The new information sharing scheme was introduced with the aim of improving the provision of SAR intelligence by providing consolidated information to the NCA. It remains to be seen how effective this will be in practice.
BRAZIL AND UK AUTHORITIES SIGN MOU TO STRENGTHEN EFFORTS AGAINST WHITE COLLAR CRIME
Mayer Brown on 1st February reports on the SFO and Brazil’s Office of the Prosecutor General (PGR) entering into a MoU to strengthen international co-operation and exchange of information between these agencies in fraud, corruption and other white-collar crime investigations and enforcement actions.
HEAD OF NIGERIA’S ANTI-CORRUPTION COURT CHARGED WITH BRIBERY
The Times of Israel on 5th February reported that a senior judge handling country’s graft cases accused of demanding kickback from suspect in return for lighter sentence. Danladi Umar was accused by the country’s anti-graft body EFCC of demanding $27,800 from a suspect “for a favour to be afterwards shown to him in relation to the pending charge,” according to court documentation.
BILLION-DOLLAR BUST: HOW AUSTRALIA HELPED TRAP THE WORLD’S MOST WANTED MONEY LAUNDERER
Radio Australia on 5th February carried an article outlining how more than $1 million was handed to a known criminal and hope to catch him laundering it, and the work of the little-known Australian Crime Commission attempting to track large sums leaving the country, with Altaf Khanani named as the launderer based in Dubai. A Gujarati who had originally settled in Karachi after the partition of India and Pakistan, and who was thought to launder money for a range of organisations, including Lebanese mafia syndicates in western Sydney, Hezbollah financiers, ice traffickers, and “bikies” gangs. He had been behind Khanani and Kalia International, or KKI, formed in the 80s and, by the late 90s, one of the largest currency traders in Pakistan, with a web of remittance agents across the world – in 2007 and 2008 alone, KKI’s official banking records showed the company handled $2.3 billion. It was said that Khanani was shifting huge volumes of hard currency across the border into war-ravaged Afghanistan, much of it going to heroin producers. Eventually he was lured to panama, where the DEA had him arrested.
PETROFAC UPDATES ON SFO INVESTIGATION
Proactive Investor reports that Petrofac Ltd has told the market that it continues to engage with the UK SFO in relation to an investigation launched last year. The investigation into suspected bribery, corruption, and/or money laundering – is wide-ranging in time and scope, and relates to the activities of the company, its subsidiaries and officers; and engagement with the SFO has involved the interview of company directors including the chairman and executive directors.
SINGAPORE SEEKS TO AMEND LAW AFTER ‘TOO LOW’ MEGACHURCH FRAUD SENTENCES
Reuters on 5th February reported that Singapore’s government is seeking to amend a law that led to shortened sentences for church leaders – including City Harvest Church’s co-founder Kong Hee, convicted of using funds to support his wife’s pop-singing career – convicted of misusing millions of dollars, in a case that has gripped the city-state where there is little tolerance for corruption.
RUSSIAN CENTRAL BANK NEARS CLOSURE OF INVESTIGATION INTO FRAUDULENT FOREX COMPANIES
Finance Feeds reports that the regulator will soon publish the results of its probe into a number of illegal forex dealers with no licences to offer forex services in Russia but are targeting Russian clients using foreign websites. The damage caused by their activities is said to exceed several billion roubles. It is said that Bank of Russia has managed to transfer 142 cases of illegal FX companies to the prosecutors’ office last year
AUSTRALIAN COSMETICS AND HEALTH COMPANY BEGINS IMPORTING CANNABIS PRODUCTS
Customs Today reports that natural medicine and cosmetics company Bod Australia has announced it will be importing cannabis extracts to use in its latest product. Under its permit issued by the Office of Drug Control, Bod will now begin importing cannabidiol (CBD) powder to create a new cannabis-based wafer which is absorbed under the tongue.
DUBAI ADVISER CONVICTED IN LANDMARK CRIMINAL CASE
International Adviser on 30th January reported that a financial adviser from the UK has been convicted of running a business in Dubai without a licence, in what is understood to be the first conviction of its kind in the UAE. Neil Grant, originally from Scotland, was convicted by the Dubai Criminal Court of not registering his company Prosperity Offshore Investment Consultants with the Insurance Authority.
STATUS AND TRENDS IN SPENT FUEL AND RADIOACTIVE WASTE MANAGEMENT
IAEA has this new report (at €39) available. Based on the outcome of a collaborative project undertaken by the IAEA OECD NEA and the European Commission it provides a global overview of the status of radioactive waste and spent fuel management concerning inventories programmes current practices technologies and trends. It includes an analysis of national arrangements and programmes for radioactive waste and spent fuel management an overview of current waste and spent fuel inventories and estimates of future amounts. International and national trends in these areas are also addressed.
GANGS AS TERRORISTS PROPOSAL “IS A SMOKE SCREEN” IN GUATEMALA
Insight Crime on 2nd February reports that in what it says appears to be a smokescreen to distract from efforts to undermine anti-corruption initiatives, Guatemala’s new interior minister asked Congress to reform the penal code in order to designate the country’s gang members as terrorists.
EL SALVADOR CONVICTS FIRST MAYOR FOR TIES TO GANGS
On 2nd February, Insight Crime reported that a former El Salvador mayor has become the country’s first mayor to be convicted of illicit association with gangs. José Elías Hernández, the former mayor of El Salvador’s Apopa municipality on the outskirts of the capital San Salvador, was convicted of illicit association with the Barrio 18 gang and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
UK POLICE OFFICERS COULD LOSE 28 DAYS A YEAR DUE TO SILOED DATA
Tech UK on 31st January reported that each UK police officer could potentially be losing up to 28 working days a year due to siloed data, according to new research. he study was conducted to explore how police forces are using data and what the barriers are to doing so more effectively. Front-line and senior employees from 34 regional police forces across the UK were surveyed. The white paper and news release are available at the following link –
OUTLOOK FOR ANTI-GRAFT INITIATIVES IN HONDURAS AND GUATEMALA
In a video available on its website, Insight Crime addressed the current status and outlook of anti-corruption initiatives taking place in Honduras and Guatemala.
ARRESTS AGAIN POINT TO PARAGUAY PRESIDENT’S CONTRABAND CIGARETTES
Insight Crime on 31st January reported that cigarettes manufactured by a firm belonging to the family of Paraguay’s president have once again been seized after being smuggled across the border into Brazil, firmly pointing, it says, towards the involvement of powerful Paraguayan elites in the booming business. The Tabacalera del Este company is owned by the family of Paraguay President Horacio Cartes. According to ABC Color, smugglers transport cheaper Paraguayan cigarettes across the border to Brazil with the intention of selling them at a marked-up price. With members of Brazil’s powerful PCC found to be distributing cigarettes manufactured by Tabacalera Del Este, there are substantial implications that criminal groups may be allied with political elites in Paraguay to benefit from the lucrative industry.
ISRAELI WEAPONS HOUSE RAFAEL HAS ASIAN NATIONS IN ITS SIGHTS
Flight Global on 5th February reported that India and Australia are among the Asia-Pacific nations that Israeli company Rafael has firmly in its sights with its current and in-development weapons and targeting systems.
UKRAINE NATIONAL POLICE ANNOUNCES CREATION OF NEW UNIT TO COMBAT ORGANISED CRIME
Interfax on 5th February reported that the National Police of Ukraine have agreed to create a new unit to combat organised crime, the completion of the formation is expected before the end of the year
GIBRALTAR COMMITTED TO COMPLIANCE POST-BREXIT
On 5th February, the Gibraltar Chronicle reported that Gibraltar will not embark on a “bonfire of regulations” as it prepares to leave the European Union, according to the Chief Minister who also said that the “digital generation” was ready for post-Brexit trade with the world. He made the comments while addressing a City forum of insurance professionals during a visit to London.
NORTH KOREAN FERRY NEEDS APPROVAL FROM SEOUL TO SAIL TO SOUTH
The Yonhap News Agency in South Korea tells the story of the 9,700-ton North Korean ferry Mangyongbong-92 which is set to carry a North Korean art troupe across the inter-Korean border for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics in South Korea, having been cleared of questions over whether it would violate international sanctions. However, it needs an exemption from South Korean sanctions in order to enter a South Korean port, while Seoul said it is ready to approve. The vessel’s South Korean trip runs counter to the South’s blanket ban, imposed in 2010, on inter-Korean exchanges and transactions, according to government officials, and imposed in retaliation for the North’s torpedoing of a South Korean Navy Corvette in March 2010.
ACCUSED VISA FRAUD ORGANIZER REACHES $84 MILLION SEC SETTLEMENT
The Daily Business Review reports that a Miami businessman has reached an $84 million settlement with the SEC after he was accused of organizing an EB-5 visa fraud by recruiting investment in development at Vermont’s Jay Peak ski resort. The agreement covers $50 million in investor funds that Jay Peak-owner Ariel Quiros was accused of misdirecting to his personal use and $30 million held back from 2 Jay Peak construction projects, which jeopardised visa eligibility for as many at 700 investors from 74 countries. Under the EB-5 programme, foreign investors are entitled to US visas for them and their immediate family when they put $500,000 into rural areas like northern Vermont and $1 million in other areas where at least 10 new jobs are created. https://www.law.com/dailybusinessreview/sites/dailybusinessreview/2018/02/02/%E2%80%8Baccused-eb-5-visa-fraud-organizer-reaches-84-million-sec-settlement/?kw=Accused%20EB-5%20Visa%20Fraud%20Organizer%20Reaches%20%2484%20Million%20SEC%20Settlement&et=editorial&bu=Daily%20Business%20Review&cn=20180205&src=EMC-Email&pt=E-Review
HMRC MONEY LAUNDERING SUPERVISION: ENFORCEMENT MEASURES
On 5th February, HMRC issued updated guidance about its approach to enforcement of AML/CFT controls.
EX-FORMULA 1 BOSS BERNIE ECCLESTONE “QUESTIONED UNDER CAUTION BY HMRC”
The Daily Mail reported on 4th February that former Formula 1 racing chief Bernie Ecclestone has been questioned as authorities intensified scrutiny in a £1 billion probe, it has emerged. It says that the 87-year-old was reportedly quizzed under caution by HMRC at a police station in central London. He was allegedly quizzed over his £2.5 billion empire.
ANOTHER OIL TANKER MISSING IN GULF OF GUINEA
Defence Web reports that a second oil tanker has gone missing in the Gulf of Guinea, weeks after a tanker was hijacked off Nigeria and subsequently released, in a potential uptick in regional piracy. Contact with the Marine Express, managed by Hong Kong-based Anglo-Eastern, was lost on 2nd February, carrying 22 Indian crew and 13,500 tons of gasoline, and was last seen in Benin’s waters.
INDIAN BILLIONAIRE JEWELLER INVESTIGATED OVER BANK FRAUD
On 5th February, Reuters reported that Indian federal agents said that they had launched an investigation into billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi, one of the country’s richest men, over accusations that he and others defrauded a state bank of $44 million. The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) said it was acting on a complaint from the Punjab National Bank that Modi and others had conspired with bank officials to fraudulently obtain advances for making payments to overseas suppliers.
UK AMENDS LYNN S DETAILS UNDER LIBYAN SANCTIONS
On 5th February, HM Treasury issued a Notice advising of amendment of the details of the vessel, Lynn S, subject to Libyan sanctions.
SEARCHING FOR THE OWNER OF UNREGISTERED LAND
On 5th February the UK Gov blog carried an entry from HM Land Registry on obtaining information about unregistered land in England & Wales.
UK ADDS 3 NAMES TO SOUTH SUDAN SANCTIONS LIST
On 5th February, HM Treasury published a Notice advising that 3 new names had been added to its South Sudan sanctions list –
LEUTH, Michael, Makuei (Group ID: 13610); MALONG, Paul (Group ID: 13609); and RIAK, Malek, Reuben (Group ID: 13611).
£5 MILLION APPRENTICESHIP FRAUD RUN BY FORMER FOOTBALLERS
The Belfast Telegraph reported on 5th February that ex-footballers Mark Aizlewood and Paul Sugrue embezzled £5 million of public money reserved to train vulnerable young people. The pair, who have been found guilty of fraud, ran a company, Luis Michael Training Ltd (LMT), which claimed to provide apprenticeships in football coaching which they claimed included training, work experience and payment of £95 per week. In total, the scheme took £5 million of money from the government-run Skills Funding Agency, set up to train young people.
SAFEGUARDING BRITAIN’S NUCLEAR NON-PROLIFERATION OBLIGATIONS AFTER BREXIT
On 5th February, RUSI published an article about the Nuclear Safeguards Bill. The UK departure from the EU in March 2019 will have an impact on safeguards at civil nuclear facilities, and to provide the legal basis for a new safeguards system after Brexit the Nuclear Safeguards Bill is currently undergoing parliamentary scrutiny. The articles refers to empowerment of the Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) – an existing, independent statutory body – and the conclusion of a new safeguards agreement with the IAEA.
DARK WEB FENTYNYL SUPPLIER JAILED IN UK
An NCA news release on 5th February reported that Kyle Enos, 25, from Gwent, boasted he could arrange for a highly toxic synthetic opioid, fentynyl, to be shipped anywhere in the world the same day as receiving an order. He used the Dark Web to advertise his business of selling bespoke packages of fentanyl, and such was his customer service, he also promised that if any packages were seized by customs, he would refund them or “re-ship the order again completely free”. He has now been jailed for 8 years.
DATA-HACKING TOOL TAKEN OUT OF CIRCULATION
On 5th February, the NCA reported that a cyber-hacking tool that allowed criminals to take full control of victims’ machines is no longer available after an operation co-ordinated by the NCA. The Luminosity Link RAT (a Remote Access Trojan) enabled hackers to connect to a victim’s machine undetected. They could then disable anti-virus and anti-malware software, carry out commands such as monitoring and recording keystrokes, steal data and passwords, and watch victims via their webcams. The RAT cost as little as £30 and users needed little technical knowledge to deploy it. A small network of UK individuals supported the distribution and use of the RAT across 78 countries and sold it to more than 8,600 buyers via a website dedicated to hacking and the use of criminal malware.
See also Europol news release – International crackdown on anti-spyware malware
CRIMINALS SMUGGLING GOLD INTO JAPAN CONCEALED BARS IN AIRLINER TOILETS AS GANGS GROW MORE SOPHISTICATED IN THEIR TACTICS
Customs Today reports that Japanese authorities have warned international gold smuggling rings are becoming more sophisticated after cracking a scheme to conceal gold bars in aircraft toilets. Police in Nagoya have arrested 6 people in connection with the latest in a growing number of smuggling attempts. The men were accused of illegally importing 5 gold bars on a Japan Airlines flight from Taiwan to Nagoya’s Chubu Airport in July 2017.
VLADIMIR KOKOREV UPDATE
On 5th February, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported that Vladimir Kokorev (65), a Spanish entrepreneur of Russian-Jewish origins, who in 2015 was arrested and put in pre-trial detention together with his wife Yulia (67) and son Igor (35), had been released to house arrest. No charges have yet been laid. He and his family had been detained on the orders of Spanish Judge , and the family have spent over 2 years in prison on Canary Islands without a trial, a formal indictment, nor any evidence of wrongdoing and with the case declared “secret” by the Judge de Vega for 18 months while the family remained in prison.
HBOS FRAUD REVIEW BULKS UP TEAM AS IT AIMS TO FINISH PROBE
Law 360 on 5th February reports that an independent team reviewing Lloyds Banking Group PLC’s handling of a £245 million fraud and assess whether Lloyds adequately investigated fraud involving former employees at HBOS and reported it to the authorities at its subsidiary HBOS PLC has hired 5 barristers as it gears up to deliver its findings by the end of 2018.
UK HIRES 5 ADDITIONAL TREASURY LAWYERS TO PROSECUTE MAJOR CRIME
On 5th February, Law 360 reported that the UK Attorney General announced the appointment of 5 new members to the Treasury’s counsel team, where they will be responsible for prosecuting some of the most serious crimes in Britain. He said that veterans from the SFO have been added to the team, which handles major corruption cases and serious and organised crime in addition to high-profile murder and terrorism prosecutions.
DEFINING REMOTE CYBER WARFARE
On 5th February, VERTIC reported that the Remote Warfare Programme, part of the Oxford Research Group, has recently released a briefing paper which attends to cyberwar and investigates how cyber could fit into traditional understandings of military doctrine and strategy. It discusses the treatment of cyber in the military doctrines of the permanent members of the UN Security Council. It then examines the opportunities and barriers posed by the integration of cyber capabilities into national deterrence strategies.
ACCUSED UK COMPUTER HACKER WINS APPEAL AGAINST EXTRADITION TO US
Jurist on 5th February reported that accused computer hacker, British student Lauri Love, had won an appeal preventing his extradition to the US. He is accused of hacking into US government websites in 2013, along with other unnamed co-conspirators, and stealing huge amounts of data. He argued that as he suffers from Asperger’s, anxiety and depression the extradition would cause him to commit self-bodily harm and that there was no reason UK courts were not legally sufficient.
See also Corker Binning briefing at –
NEW UK LAW TO PROHIBIT BETTING ON EUROMILLIONS DRAWS TO COME INTO FORCE IN APRIL
On 5th February, Out-Law reminds one that new laws to prohibit gambling operators from accepting bets from consumers in Britain on the outcome of EuroMillions draws taking place outside of the UK will come into force on 6th April.
PAKISTAN CONTACTS POLAND TO DETECT SUSPECTS BEHIND SMUGGLING OF ACETIC ANHYDRIDE
Customs Today reports that Pakistan customs has approached the officials of Poland to seek assistance to trace out the actual culprits involved in the smuggling of dual purpose chemical acetic anhydride which is used to make heroine, explosives and bombs. The consignment was shipped from Poland under description of “summer fluid” which is used in manufacturing of shampoos, adding that irrelevant description was used to hoodwink the customs authorities in order to get the consignment cleared from port. The value of the consignment has been reported as $1.5 million. Acetic anhydride is importable only by authorised industrial consumers.
CHINESE NATIONAL AND 3 OTHERS PLEAD GUILTY IN APPLE COUNTERFEITING SCHEME
Gizmodo on 5th February reported that a Chinese national who was living in the US on a student visa pleaded guilty to charges of trafficking in counterfeit goods and conspiracy over a plot to sell Chinese-made Apple fakes to US customers. A DoJ news release claims 43-year-old Jianhua “Jeff” Li’s company, Dream Digitals, conspired with at least 3 others to smuggle over 40,000 Chinese-made “electronic devices and accessories, including iPads and iPhones, along with labels and packaging bearing counterfeit Apple trademarks.
HIGH COURT: LEGAL PRIVILEGE CAN APPLY TO INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS ON THE RIGHT SET OF FACTS
On 5th February, law news site Out-Law reported that the High Court has confirmed that legal privilege can apply to investigations on the right set of facts, restoring some certainty to a position that has been up for debate since May 2017. It says that the decision in Bilta & Ors v RBS & Anor also serves as a reminder that large companies seeking to launch an investigation should seek specialist legal advice at the earliest opportunity. The fact that RBS had instructed a specialist tax litigation team at the outset to lead the investigation was one of 3 factors that led to the judge finding in favour of the bank.
TOP 4 RISKS FOR BUSINESSES IN RUSSIA FOR 2018
In its Russia/CIS Riskwatch newsletter, Control risks identified the 4 top business risks for Russia in 2018 – terrorism; the expansion of US sanctions; the escalation of elite in-fighting to further erode corporate governance and increase investor risks; and popular protests (in what is an election year).
VENEZUELA: FORMER PDVSA EXECUTIVES ACCUSED OF SIPHONING OFF $60M
On 5th February, Baker McKenzie reported that 3 former directors of state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PDVSA) allegedly transferred $60 million to offshore accounts in Andorra between 2008 and 2014, El Pais reports. The newspaper claims that transactions were made under the names of ex-subsidiary director Luis Carlos Leon Perez; former PDVSA Director Eudomario Carruyo, and Francisco Antonio Jimenez, former president of Bariven – a PDVSA subsidiary.
ABILITY OF FOREIGN FIGHTERS TO ENTER EUROPE UNDETECTED INDICATES HEIGHTENED RISK OF MULTI-SITE MASS-CASUALTY ATTACKS IN 2018
Janes.com on 5th February reported that, according to the Guardian, Interpol had circulated a list of 50 Tunisian suspected Islamic State foreign fighters who had arrived recently in Italy, some of whom may be intending to travel on to other European countries. It goes on to say that suspected Islamic State fighters are thought to have arrived on small vessels, on a beach near Agrigento in Sicily. The Interpol list of suspects was originally sent to Italy’s interior ministry,
THE TRUE STORY OF HOW THE US COAST GUARD AND NAVY TOOK DOWN THE HEAD OF THE CUBAN MAFIA
The Task & Purpose website carries this story of how, in 2004, the US seized Jose Miguel Battle Senior and Junior. The article explains that Battle Jr ran La Corporación, a powerful criminal organisation in cahoots with the Italian mob that started in New York and New Jersey, then later expanded to Miami. The elder Battle, a CIA-trained Cuban exile, was a former police officer under deposed dictator Batista and was a part of 2506 Brigade that participated in the failed Bay of Pigs Invasion. Following his capture and subsequent release by Fidel Castro’s men, he entered organised crime and built a syndicate from illegal gambling operations known as bolitas, or little balls, which are essentially numbers games. The father died in custody, but the son was released on probation in Miami in 2017.
DIFFERING CRIMINAL PENALTIES FOR FAKE MEDICINES IN THE EU RAISE CONCERNS
On 5th February, In-Pharma carries an article concerned with a recent EU report on the divergent criminal penalties for production and sale of counterfeit medicines.
ICIJ ARTICLE ON THE RECENT US LIST OF RUSSIANS WHO MAY BE SUBJECT TO FUTURE SANCTIONS
On 5th February the ICIJ website carried an article about the list of wealthy Russians with close ties to the government of Vladimir Putin, and intended to help policymakers decide on a new round of sanctions against Russia for both the country’s meddling in the US presidential election and its annexation of Crimea. It said that, in response to questions from ICIJ about its oligarch list, the US Treasury responded with a press release stating that, while the list it released was drawn from publicly available sources, it was submitted to congress with “classified annexes” that contained additional information. The Panama Papers and Paradise Papers drew attention to Russian oligarchs’ connections to both American interests and tax havens around the world, underscoring the sensitivity for the Trump Administration of compiling an Oligarch sanctions list with any bite, the article says.
MONEY LAUNDERING: PHILIPPINE SENATOR SEEKS LEGISLATIVE PROBE OF DUTERTE’S TRANSACTIONS
On 5th February, KYC 360 reported that a Philippine senator and staunch critic of President Rodrigo Duterte filed a resolution seeking a legislative inquiry into whether Duterte and his eldest daughter had concealed assets amounting to almost $2 million.
IMPLEMENTING THE 2020 SULPHUR LIMIT
On 5th February, the International Maritime Organisation published an article about the 0.50% limit on sulphur in fuel oil on board ships (outside designated emission control areas) will come into effect on 1st January 2020, with a meeting being held at IMO HQ in London.
CHINA LAUNCHES THE POLAR SILK ROAD
On 2nd February, the Center for Strategic & International Studies published an article about a 28th January white paper from the State Council Information Office in China detailing the country’s official Arctic policy for the first time. The document plotted the course for future Chinese development goals in the region — including scientific, commercial, environmental preservation, and resource extraction efforts — and aligned Chinese Arctic interests with the Belt and Road Initiative. In 2017, the research vessel Xue Long became the first Chinese ship to navigate the 3 major Arctic shipping routes: The Northwest Passage, Northeast Passage, and Transpolar Sea Route.
ISLE OF MAN GUIDANCE IN RESPECT OF REGULATED ENTITIES UNDERTAKING CRIMINAL RECORDS CHECKS
On 5th February, the Isle of Man Financial Services Authority has updated its guidance in respect of regulated entities undertaking criminal records checks. The guidance is intended to provide additional clarity around how a regulated entity, or an applicant to become a regulated entity, may undertake criminal records checks on its controllers and key persons.
PROOF OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS USE IN SYRIA SHOULD BE MET WITH ‘MEANINGFUL RESPONSE,’ UN DISARMAMENT CHIEF
On 5th February, the UN News service reported that evidence of the use, or likely use, of banned chemical weapons in Syria should be met with a “meaningful response” within the UN Security Council, the UN disarmament affairs chief said, when briefing the Council on the work being undertaken by the UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Fact Finding Mission (FFM) to look into all allegations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
UNDERSTANDING RUSSIA’S APPETITE FOR URANIUM
On 5th February, the Intersection website carried an article saying that Russia is quietly competing with China for influence over global nuclear energy production, whether that means jostling for nuclear plant construction contracts, or securing access to uranium extraction in Central Asia. Russia is the third0-largest consumer of uranium, and the country aims to be a key driver of growth in uranium markets over the next few years. Amongst the matters mentioned are the China-Russia rivalry in Central Asia, the privatisation of Kazakhstan’s state-owned Kazattomprom, and the small number of players in uranium production with its limited market, and Beijing and Moscow’s status as the key drivers of demand growth, mean that competition for market share may well be contentious. The article mentioned that 39% of global supplies are mined in Kazakhstan, while another 4.8% is mined in Russia. Canada and Australia are also notable producers, responsible for 22% and 10%, respectively.
US TREASURY SANCTIONS INDIVIDUALS DESTABILISING THE EASTERN DRC
On 5th February, OFAC sanctioned 4 individuals who have engaged in destabilising activities responsible for prolonging the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and contributing to widespread poverty, chronic food insecurity, and population displacement.
- Muhindo Akili Mundos (Mundos)
- Gédéon Kyungu Mutanga (Gédéon)
- Guidon Shimiray Mwissa (Mwissa)
- Lucien Nzabamwita (Nzabamwita)
VLADIMIR’S VENEZUELA – LEVERAGING LOANS TO CARACAS, MOSCOW SNAPS UP OIL ASSETS
A Special Report from Reuters on 5th February is concerned with Venezuela’s unraveling socialist government which is increasingly turning to ally Russia for the cash and credit it needs to survive – and offering prized state-owned oil assets in return. It claims that Venezuela’s state-owned oil firm, Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), has been secretly negotiating since at least early this year with Russia’s biggest state-owned oil company, Rosneft, offering ownership interests in up to 9 of Venezuela’s most productive petroleum projects. Rosneft currently owns substantial portions of 5 existing PDVSA oil projects.
FAMILIES SETTLE WITH CHIQUITA OVER DEATHS OF AMERICANS IN COLOMBIA
On 5th February, the Daily Business Review reports that families of 6 Americans kidnapped and killed in Colombia during the 1990s by FARC settled before the scheduled start of jury selection in West Palm Beach federal court. The families were seeking potentially tens of millions of dollars in damages from the banana giant because of payments the company made to the group. Chiquita has admitted paying FARC about $220,000 but insists it did so only to protect its employees and interests from violence.