24th March 2018
IN US, MAN ALLEGEDLY EXPORTS FIREARM PARTS TO IRAQ
WFMZ in Pennsylvania/New Jersey reported on 23rd March that Ross Roggio, 49, of Roggio Consulting Company LLC is facing charges in connection with allegedly, from January 2013, being involved in a conspiracy to illegally export firearm parts, firearm manufacturing tools, and defence services from the US to Iraq contrary to the Arms Export Control Act and the International Emergency Economic Powers Act. Roggio allegedly purchased firearms parts and manufacturing tools and illegally exported the items to Iraq where they were used in the assembly of complete firearms in a firearms manufacturing plant operated in part by Roggio and provided false information about the end-user of the items.
FORMER AER LINGUS WORKER SENTENCED FOR SMUGGLING ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS
RTE on 23rd March reported that former Aer Lingus worker Peter Kernan, 57, who helped smuggle illegal immigrants into Ireland has been jailed for 4 years. His co-accused, Frederick Cham, 63, received a 4-year sentence last month. Kernan pleaded guilty to facilitating the entry of an illegal immigrant into Ireland at Dublin Airport in December 2016/January 2017. He also admitted 3 counts of handling the proceeds of crime totalling €40,366 at various locations between November 2014 and January 2017.
FSB RELEASES REPORTS INTO CORRESPONDENT BANKING
IBS Intelligence on 23rd March reported that the Financial Stability Board (FSB) has published 2 reports as part of its work to assess and address the decline in correspondent banking relationships. Firstly, a progress report on the FSB action plan to assess and address the decline in correspondent banking, and secondly, a stocktake on remittance service providers’ access to banking services, including recommendations to improve accessibility. These reports have been delivered to G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors. The progress report highlights actions taken to implement the FSB’s 4-point action plan on correspondent banking since the FSB’s July 2017 update, and makes 19 recommendations in 4 areas to address gaps and remaining barriers to remittance firms’ access to banking services by remittance service providers. The FSB, FATF, Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, IMF and World Bank will coordinate to monitor take-up of the recommendations and report back to the G20 in July 2019.
MALAYSIA: NO BAIL OR STAY FOR DIRECTORS WHO LAUNDERED $51 MILLION
The Malaysian Insight reported on 24th March that 4 ex-directors of gold investment firm Genneva Sdn Bhd have failed to obtain bail and a stay for their ei8ght-year jail sentence for money laundering and receiving over RM200 million ($51 million) in unlicensed deposits in 2008/2009.
CANADIAN ARRESTED ON MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES WITH TIES TO BELIZE
Breaking Belize News on 23rd March reported that a Canadian man, Ferhan Patel, 37, was arrested and charged in Detroit on charges of conspiring to operate an unlicensed money transmitting business and money laundering through a series of companies, one of which has ties to Belize. His older brother, Firoz, 43, is also being sought. The US DoJ alleges that Patel brothers are the founders and operators of Payza.com, AlertPay.com and Egopay.com and used them in an Internet-based unlicensed money service business that processed more than $250 million in transactions, and that Payza’s customers included Ponzi schemes, pyramid schemes and a child pornography site.
SOUTH AFRICA: SARB FINES FOREIGN EXCHANGE OUTLETS FOR POOR CONTROLS
On 23rd March, FIN24 reported that the South Africa Reserve Bank said it had fined 5 foreign exchange dealers – known as authorised dealers in foreign exchange with limited authority (ADLA) – for poor AML controls. Ayoba Foreign Exchange (Pty) Limited, Tourvest Financial Services (Pty) Limited trading as American Express Foreign Exchange Services, Imali Express (Pty) Limited, Forex World (Pty) Limited and Sikhona Forex were issued with penalties. The heaviest fine was imposed on American Express Foreign Exchange Services for failing to report cash transactions above threshold levels to the Financial Intelligence Centre.
CORRUPTION SCANDAL ‘MAY HAVE COST BRAZIL 8 TIMES MORE THAN THE £1.4 BILLION STOLEN’
On 24th March, Ekklesia reports that, Global Witness reveals the cost of the “Car Wash” scandal in Brazil may be 8 times higher than the £1.4 billion stolen. The NGO says that the looted funds could have paid for the salaries of a million nurses, saving countless lives, or funded a year’s education for over 17 million children. And the knock-on effect on the economy went far beyond this, helping to bring about Brazil’s worst recession since records began. The fallout from the scandal reduced Brazil’s GDP by 3.6% in 2015, 2016 and 2017, according to leading firm of Sao Paulo consultants GO Associados. That would imply a total loss of $13.8 billion in lost tax revenues. Petrobras’s share price has dropped by more than 25% – a paper loss of £14.1 billion. “Car Wash” revolved around Petrobras, the state-owned oil company. Instead of awarding huge contracts for construction projects, oil rigs, shipping and so on in the normal manner, the work was rotated around a cartel of companies in orderly fashion. Petrobras would over-pay the companies by at least 3%, the extra money kicked back to the directors responsible for awarding them the contracts.
IRAQ TO BEGIN SEIZING ASSETS OF SADDAM HUSSEIN AND COHORTS
Al-Monitor on 23rd March reported that the Iraqi Accountability and Justice Commission on March 5th said it has completed its list of the people whose assets are to be seized: 52 people who were senior officials during Saddam’s regime and 4,257 ex-ministers and officials of the Baath Party. The list includes deceased relatives. Therefore, Iraqi authorities have been given the green light to begin confiscation of assets of late. Some critics, however, say the process lends itself to corruption and raises questions about the timing of the decision and the value of the assets as well as their future use.
FORMER CEO OF ISRAELI SALES AND MARKETING COMPANY CHARGED FOR ROLE IN FRAUDULENT BINARY OPTIONS SCHEME
On 23rd March, the US DoJ published a news release announcing that Lee Elbaz, 36, the former CEO of the Israel-based company Yukom Communications, a purported sales and marketing company, had been charged for her alleged participation in a scheme to defraud investors in the US and across the world in financial instruments known as “binary options”. The indictment alleges that Yukom provided investor “retention” services for 2 websites – BinaryBook and BigOption – that were used to promote and market purported binary options, and that those binary options were fraudulently sold and marketed.
FOCUS SHIFTS TO SWITZERLAND IN SEARCH FOR IRISH CHARITY TECH FIRM CHIEF
The Irish Times on 24th March reported that liquidator may have to hire Swiss lawyers in bid to find Ammado boss, Peter Conlon, as part of the court-sanctioned investigation into the alleged embezzlement of charities by the Irish businessman. It says that the Swiss authorities will not disclose where Mr Conlon is being held since he was detained by police in Zurich in December following complaint about missing funds raised by his company. His detention was triggered by a complaint from the Red Cross about the failure of his Dublin-based online fundraising platform, Ammado, to pass on €1.6 million raised for the charity.
MOROCCAN ACCUSED OF DEFRAUDING BUSINESSES OUT OF $2.8 MILLION IS ARRESTED BY FBI IN NEW JERSEY AFTER 16 YEARS ON THE RUN
The Daily Mail on 23rd March reported that Steven Nacim, 50, a naturalised US citizen, fled to his native Morocco in 2002 after a federal warrant was issued for his arrest. He was allegedly a part of a Middle Eastern criminal enterprise operating out of New Jersey and specialising in wire fraud and bank fraud, and would allegedly pass bad cheques and send computer equipment to Morocco.
AN OLD LAW’S RENEWED CLOUT IMPOSES SERIOUS CONSEQUENCES ON US IMPORTERS AND PROCESSORS OF FOREIGN WOOD
On 23rd March, a briefing from Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is concerned with recent use of the Lacey Act against importers and processors of imported timber. Dating from 1900, the Act banned trafficking in illegal wildlife for more than 100 years, and then in 2008, Congress expanded its scope to penalise importing or possessing plants and their products — including timber and wood products — taken in violation of the laws or regulations of the country from which they are sourced. The briefing says that the first notable enforcement case involving timber was in 2011, when Gibson Guitar paid a $300,000 penalty related to illegally sourced hardwood from Madagascar and India. More recent cases are detailed, involving illegal wood, including “significant quantities” of illegally harvested Amazonian timber in one case.
UNEXPLAINED WEALTH ORDERS EXPLAINED
On 23rd March, law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner provided a briefing on this new weapon in UK law enforcement’s armoury.
CHINA FEBRUARY WASTE IMPORTS TUMBLE AMID CRACKDOWN
Customs Today on 24th March reported that China’s waste plastic imports dried up almost entirely in February and scrap metal imports fell by 38.5% year on year as the country enforced its clampdown on foreign waste, customs data showed. Waste plastics imports in January and February combined tumbled by 99.5% to just 10,000 tonnes, with the data recording a zero tonnage volume for imports last month and an import value of just $101,100. Waste paper imports in February, which included the week-long Lunar New Year holiday, fell by 47.8% to 1.27 million tonnes, while scrap metal imports were down 38.5% to 440,000 tonnes last month, the General Administration of Customs said. China last year notified the WTO it would stop accepting certain types of foreign solid waste in 2018 if they did not meet tighter impurity thresholds.
THE HUNT FOR DIRTY MONEY IN MIAMI REAL ESTATE IS WORKING — AND WILL CONTINUE
On 24th March, Baker McKenzie reported that the federal government says its hunt for dirty money in luxury real estate in South Florida and other high-priced housing markets is working — and the temporary initiative is being extended yet again. Since 2016, the US Treasury has required secretive shell companies buying luxury homes with cash in certain areas – beginning in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County, and since expanded to other areas in Florida, New York, California, Texas and Hawaii – to disclose their true owners to the government.
25th March 2018
US ADDS 7 PAKISTANI ENTITIES TO “SANCTIONS LIST”
The Hindustan Times in India on 25th March reported that the US had added 7 Pakistani companies to the list of foreign entities issued by the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security and which are subject to stringent export control measures. 3 were listed for “their involvement in the proliferation of unsafeguarded nuclear activities that are contrary to the national security and/or foreign policy interests of the United States”, 2 for procuring supplies for nuclear-related entities already on the list and 2 suspected to be fronts for listed entities. A further Pakistani entity is based in Singapore. In all there were 23 additions to the list, including 15 entities from South Sudan.
For the current list see –
AUSTRALIAN MILITARY LICENCES TO SAUDI ARABIA HAVE QUIETLY QUADRUPLED
New Matilda in Australia on 25th March reported that 16 licences for the export of military equipment to Saudi Arabia during 2016 and 2017, amid concerns about Saudi actions in Yemen.
CREDIT CARD COMPANY IN JAPAN BANS PURCHASES OF VIRTUAL MONEY
NHK World on 25th March reported that credit card companies in Japan are restricting the use of their cards to buy cryptocurrencies, following the disappearance of massive amount of NEM from the crypto exchange, Coincheck.
OIL SERVICES GIANT WOOD GROUP HANDS FILE ON CONTROVERSIAL MONACO FIRM UNAOIL TO INVESTIGATORS
This is Money on 24th March reported that the Wood Group, whose customers include BP and Shell, has completed an internal probe into its dealings with a controversial Monaco firm and handed its file to investigators. The inquiry, launched in May 2017, found payments were made through an old joint venture company to Monaco-based Unaoil, which has been under criminal investigation by the SFO since 2016 over suspected bribery, corruption and money laundering.
2% OF JERSEY FINANCE SECTOR BUSINESS OF RUSSIAN ORIGIN
The Jersey Evening Post on 25th March reported that nearly 2% of business in Jersey’s finance sector is of Russian origin and could be affected by proposed tough measures against powerful Russians accused of human rights abuses.
THE WAR REPORT: ARMED CONFLICTS IN 2017
The Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights has produced a report which says that, in 2017, 55 situations of armed violence amounted to armed conflicts according to the definitions under international humanitarian law and international criminal law. The vast majority were non-international armed conflicts, as in preceding years. The analysis highlights 2 salient features: the multiplication of armed non-state actors (ANSA) and unprecedented casualties linked to armed gang violence. It reports that the 55 armed conflicts occurred in 29 states and territories: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Cyprus, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Egypt, Eritrea, Georgia, India, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mexico, Moldova, Myanmar, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, the Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, Western Sahara and Yemen. It also details belligerent occupations that continue in parts of 10 states and territories: Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Eritrea, Georgia, Lebanon, Moldova, Palestine, Syria, Ukraine and Western Sahara.
MALTA GETS A 50-POINT, 3-YEAR PLAN TO STRENGTHEN ITS FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS
The Malta Independent on 25th March reported that the Malta government has received a 50-point plus plan, actionable over the next 3 years, on how to strengthen its financial institutions from a leading international consultancy firm that has carried out a national risk assessment. The plan covers the operations of entities such as the Malta Financial Services Authority, the Central Bank of Malta, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, the ministry itself, the Inland Revenue Department, and the Police Force. It further reported that the IMF Financial Sector Assessment Programme’s chair and deputy chair, were recently in Malta for consultations, and the Moneyval committee visited about a month-and-a-half ago and gave training to institutions such as the Malta Financial Services Authority, the Central Bank of Malta, the Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit, the Finance Ministry, the Inland Revenue Department, the Police Force and the Sanctions Board. The relatively new Asset Recovery Bureau, which deals with the freezing of assets from the proceeds of crime, also recently visited The Netherlands to view their best practices and to learn from them.
IRANIAN USE OF ST KITTS CBI PASSPORT
Kenneth Rijock on 25th march in his blog reported on why the 2014 FinCEN Advisory on St Kitts & Nexis CBI passports has not been cancelled, saying that one might want to read the Indictment in United States of America vs. Ali Sadr Hashemi Nejad, 18cr0224 (SDNY), which involves criminals evading sanctions in place against Iran, by moving $115 million through a number of international banks, using a massive Venezuelan housing project as a smokescreen, showed how an Iranian money launderer used his St Kitts & Nevis Citizenship by Investment passport to open an account in Dubai, claiming St Kitts nationality.
FUEL TRUCKS IN UN LIVERY REPORTEDLY SEEN AT A RAILWAY PLATFORM IN NOVOROSSIYSK
On 25th March, Inform Napalm website reported photos posted on Instagram by a railway enthusiast that appear to show fuel trucks with UN livery on railway wagons in Novorossiysk (which is home to the Russian Black Sea fleet); with speculation that the vehicles were en route to Syria, and pontificating if the limited UN-linked Russian presence in Syria justified such a number of trucks or if it were an indication of some new Russian disguised operation.
PODCAST: WHY RUSSIA “HACKS” ELECTIONS: A SPY’S-EYE VIEW
The Cipher Brief on 30th January published a podcast saying that Russia’s active measures to infiltrate and influence the US consciousness didn’t begin, nor end with the 2016 election. For years, John Sipher, a 28-year veteran of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, recruited Russian spies and led counter-intelligence operations against Moscow – and here he talks about what’s behind Russia’s aggressive stance.