FATF GUIDANCE ON COUNTER PROLIFERATION FINANCING

On 1st March, FATF published its guidance intend to prevent non-state actors from taking part in proliferation-related activities and implementing the country-specific approach against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Islamic Republic of Iran.  This Guidance updates 2 earlier guidance Papers:

  • The Implementation of Financial Provisions of United Nations Security Council Resolutions to Counter the Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (2013); and
  • Best Practices Paper to Recommendation 2 Information Sharing and Exchange Related to the Financing of Proliferation Among Relevant Authorities at the Domestic Level (2012).

www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/financingofproliferation/documents/guidance-counter-proliferation-financing.html

OFAC REISSUES NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS REGULATIONS AND FAQ

On 1st March, OFAC announced the amendment and reissuance in its entirety of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations in order to implement Executive Orders EO 13687, EO 13722, and EO 13810, and to reference the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016 and the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017.  It also released updated FAQ, which are available at –

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/faq_other.aspx#nk

The Regulations and the FAQ emphasize that all US persons must comply with OFAC regulations, including all US citizens and permanent resident aliens regardless of where they are located, all individuals and entities within the US, and all US-incorporated entities and their foreign branches.  Furthermore, all transactions within the US, including all financial transactions that transit the US financial system, must comply with OFAC regulations.

Basic information on OFAC and its sanctions is available at –

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Sanctions/Pages/faq_general.aspx#basic

OECD CONSULTATION: PREVENTING ABUSE OF RESIDENCE BY INVESTMENT SCHEMES TO CIRCUMVENT THE CRS

From 19th February to 19th March, the OECD is running a consultation process because more and more jurisdictions are offering “residence by investment” (RBI) or “citizenship by investment” (CBI) schemes.  These are schemes that allow foreign individuals to obtain citizenship or temporary or permanent residence rights in exchange for local investments or against a flat fee.  The document says that individuals may be interested in these schemes for a number of legitimate reasons, including greater mobility thanks to visa-free travel, better education and job opportunities for children, or the right to live in a country with political stability.  At the same time, they can also offer a backdoor to money-launderers and for tax evasion.  In this regard, information released in the market place and obtained through the OECD’s CRS public disclosure facility, highlights the abuse of RBI and CBI schemes to circumvent reporting under the Common Reporting Standard (CRS).  Therefore, the OECD is looking into this matter as part of its CRS loophole strategy.

http://www.oecd.org/tax/exchange-of-tax-information/consultation-document-preventing-abuse-of-residence-by-investment-schemes.pdf

US COMMODITY FUTURES TRADING COMMISSION ISSUES FIRST CUSTOMER ADVISORY ON VIRTUAL CURRENCY “PUMP-AND-DUMP” SCHEMES

On 28th February, Shearman & Sterling published an article which said that the CFTC in the US has issued its first customer advisory regarding pump-and-dump schemes in virtual currency markets.  The CFTC warned customers to exercise extreme caution when investing in virtual currency listings promoted on social media, reportedly backed by famous high-tech business leaders and investors or accompanied by posts creating false urgency or telling investors to purchase right away.  CFTC stated it has received multiple complaints from customers who have suffered losses due to virtual currency pump-and-dump schemes; and warned that virtual currencies should only be purchased after they have been thoroughly researched and that customers should avoid purchasing virtual currencies based on sudden price spikes.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/us-commodity-futures-trading-commission-15939/

See the CFTC news release at –

http://www.cftc.gov/PressRoom/PressReleases/pr7697-18

GERMAN REGULATOR PUBLISHES STATEMENT ON ICO AND TOKEN REGULATION

On 28th February, Latham & Watkins reported that BaFin, the German Federal financial services supervisory authority, has joined global regulators in releasing guidance for German ICO issuers and advisors. In conclusion, the firm says that, in line with BaFin’s supervisory practice so far, the BaFin statement makes clear that ICO are generally feasible in Germany provided that they comply with existing regulatory requirements.  However, uncertainties remain regarding the exact classification of a given token design as a specific financial instrument.  Therefore, careful structuring of the ICO is imperative to avoid undesired regulatory implications.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/bafin-publishes-statement-on-ico-and-39599/

UK EXPORT CONTROL TRAINING BULLETIN FOR 2018

eco

On 1st March, the UK Department for International Trade published the latest schedule for courses, seminars and workshops to help exporters understand their obligations under export control legislation, March to December 2018.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/684189/Export_control_training_bulletin__March_to_December_2018.pdf

PERU AND ARGENTINA: NEW BRIBERY REGIMES PUT COMPANIES AT RISK

On 27th February, Jones Day reported that in reaction to fallout from the recent Odebrecht scandal, and aided by shifting political winds, Peru and Argentina have enacted significant corporate anti-corruption legislation. Both countries have implemented laws establishing a corporate anti-corruption regime, expanding the existing framework of individual criminal liability to criminal liability for the corporations themselves.  The white paper produced by the firm This Jones Day White Paper summarises the key provisions of the new anti-corruption statutes — covering application and jurisdiction, penalties, and corporate compliance standards — as well as certain developments and characteristics that companies with a presence in these countries should consider as they prepare for enforcement.

http://www.jonesday.com/Peru-and-Argentina–New-Bribe-Regimes-Put-Companies-at-Risk-02-27-2018/?RSS=true

ALAND ISLAND GAMING COMPANY FINED €50,000 FOR MONEY LAUNDERING DEFICIENCIES

YLE in Finland on 28th February reported that Åland-based betting company Paf has been fined €50,000 for failing to investigate the origins of a client’s money.  One of the company’s clients had placed bets with Paf for years using money she had defrauded, and it was held that it had acted negligently by not looking into where the money originated from even though it was known to the company that the client was employed as a bookkeeper. Paf first noticed the woman’s excessive gambling habit in May 2011 and contacted her.  Only in January 2012 did Paf alerted authorities about its suspicion of money laundering, but nevertheless allowed the woman to continue betting.  In October 2012 the woman’s account was closed by the customer herself.  She has been convicted of fraud and embezzlement.

https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/gaming_company_fined_50000_euros_for_money_laundering/10096292

RUSSIAN MP VLADISLAV REZNIK ON TRIAL IN SPAIN OVER ALLEGED £44 MILLION MONEY LAUNDERING RING

On 28th February, The Times reported that a Russian MP has gone on trial with 18 other suspects accused of laundering €50 million in Spain for a mafia gang.  Vladislav Reznik, a politician and businessman who lives in Russia, attended the trial in Madrid voluntarily because he said that he wanted to prove his innocence. Spanish prosecutors claim that he has links to Gennady Petrov and Alexander Malyshev, the alleged gang bosses, who are on the run.

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/russian-mp-vladislav-reznik-on-trial-in-spain-over-alleged-44m-money-laundering-ring-9m3jkdb0m

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS DEFICIENCIES HIGHLIGHTED BY FATF

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO TO INTRODUCE LEGISLATION TO ADDRESS DEFICIENCIES HIGHLIGHTED BY FATF

Looptt.com reported on 28th February that, following a year of monitoring by FATF, primarily of low levels of implementation of AML/CFT mechanisms and technical gaps existing in January 2015, FATF at its recent plenary considered the progress made in addressing these deficiencies in the year to June 2017.  While noting the tremendous progress made and Government’s high-level political commitment to continue this work, FATF procedures required the publication of the agreed measures to address remaining deficiencies.  The government says that the further steps required are the approval of the Counter Terrorism Strategy by the National Security Council, the issuance of a Case Prioritisation Policy, and advancing legislation in a number of areas.  Confident of dealing with the remaining shortcomings, new legislation being introduced or implemented includes removing restrictions on mutual legal assistance, improved information sharing with and by the FIU, and allowing for money laundering offences to be tried either as summary or indictable offences.  Access to beneficial ownership information is also included in legislation, together with a civil asset recovery regime and a framework for counter-proliferation financing.  The country is expected to be able to report significant progress at the FATF plenary in October.

http://www.looptt.com/content/govt-bring-legislation-address-fatf-deficiencies