11th April 2018
SUSPECTS CAUGHT SMUGGLING IVORY PRODUCTS INTO CHINA FROM ETHIOPIA
Brinkwire on 11th April reported that a suspect returning from Ethiopia has been caught trying to smuggle 18 pieces of ivory products weighing a total of 1.725 kg into China. It is the biggest ivory smuggling case this year seized at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport in southwest China’s Sichuan Province.
METAL DETECTORS TO COMBAT GOLD SMUGGLING AT CENTRAL JAPAN AIRPORT
Kyodo News reported on 10th April that Nagoya Customs said it has started using walk-through metal detectors at Chubu airport in Nagoya in the wake of a surge in gold smuggling. Smugglers try to evade the 8% tax levied on imports of gold worth over $1,870. About 90 units of the walk-through detectors are already in use at airports and ports around the country to save time and improve detection efficiency compared to handheld detectors. The installation of the devices came as the revised Japanese customs law took effect, doubling the maximum fine for smuggling gold. The amount of gold smuggled and seized in Japan more than doubled in 2017 to 6,236 kg, according to government data.
2 VIETNAMESE MEN SMUGGLED INTO IRELAND TO WORK IN CANNABIS GROWHOUSE ARE JAILED
The Journal on 10th April reported that 2 Vietnamese men who were smuggled into Ireland to work in a cannabis growhouse containing nearly €1.8 million worth of drugs have been jailed for 2½f years. One of the men travelled to Ireland thinking he would be working on a farm, while the other thought he would be working as a chef.
PAKISTAN HIRES UK-BASED LAWYER IN PUSH TO REOPEN PROBE AGAINST MQM FOUNDER
Geo TV on 10th April reported that Pakistan has hired services of a British lawyer in a fresh push to plead re-investigation in a money laundering case against the UK-based chief of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-London. The lawyer is expected to prove instrumental in gathering fresh evidence for Scotland Yard and the CPS. Scotland Yard had dropped its investigations into the case in October 2016.
US NEW DESIGNATIONS UNDER THE RUSSIA-RELATED SANCTIONS: 3 KEY TAKEAWAYS
On 9th April, Latham & Watkins reported on the new designations made on 6th April and highlighted 3 key takeaways – the new sanctions impose broad prohibitions on US entities, including their overseas branches, as well as US nationals and US lawful permanent residents, and anyone present in the US; certain otherwise-prohibited activities will be permitted for a limited time under a General License that authorises “maintenance” and “wind down” activities until June 5th; and new OFAC FAQ illustrate the impact of the sanctions and the significance of the new General Licenses. Notably, it notes that if one or more SDN do not individually or collectively own a 50% or more interest in a US company, that US company is not itself blocked. However, the US company must block all property and interests in property in which the blocked person has an interest, and while a US company under such circumstances may be able to continue operations, OFAC says that “any payments, dividends, or disbursement of profits to the blocked person” are prohibited and must be placed in a blocked account. OFAC also encourages US companies in this situation to contact OFAC to determine whether a licence is needed.
ILLEGALLY OBTAINED EVIDENCE IN IRELAND
On 6th April, Arthur Cox provided a short briefing on the status of illegally obtained evidence. Like the UK (and unlike some other countries, such as the US), there is no automatic presumption against the use of such evidence.
BBC INTERVIEW WITH SFO CHIEF
On 11th April, BBC Radio broadcast a “Hardtalk” interview with the outgoing director of the SFO, David Green. For 6 years he has been out to apprehend corporate criminals; but the interviewer asks has he ever been given the tools and the backing to do the job properly?
ONE YEAR AFTER THE ENACTMENT OF FRENCH SAPIN II LAW, IS YOUR COMPANY VIGILANT ENOUGH TO AVOID CIVIL LIABILITY FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES?
On 29th March, Hogan Lovells published an article that says that on 27th March France went one step further than other countries by adopting “hard” law on human rights with very broad legislation on the “duty of vigilance of the parent companies and main contractor companies” with a mandatory compliance plan. The statute is now into force and the first “vigilance plans” are being published as companies file their financial statements.
BELGIUM: LEGISLATION ON PAYMENTS IN CASH REVISED
On 23rd March, Peeters Advocaten published a briefing explaining that on 16th October 2017, new, more flexible rules on cash payments came into force, intended for the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing and the restriction on the use of cash. When the total price is equal to or higher than € 3,000, an amount can be collected in cash up to € 3,000. The rules now apply to all payments and cash donations, not only between merchants, but also between non-profit organisations, liberal professions and farmers, but there is still an exception for cash payments between consumers. In case of non-compliance there can be a fine of between € 250 and € 225,000, with a maximum of 10% of the amount unduly received or paid, and both creditor and the debtor are jointly and severally liable for the fine.
VERTIC RELEASES A NEW REPORT ON NUCLEAR SECURITY INFORMATION SHARING
On 10th April, the NGO VERTIC published a new paper which analyses some of the current proposals to strengthen reporting in nuclear security and in particular, the Consolidated National Nuclear Security Report (CNNSR), first proposed at the 2016 Nuclear Security Summit. “Information-sharing in Nuclear Security: Current initiatives, challenges, and the proposal for a Consolidated National Nuclear Security Report” says that, while reporting and information sharing on nuclear security have only played a limited role in the nuclear security field so far, these activities could significantly contribute to further reinforcing nuclear security worldwide.
NHS COUNTER FRAUD AUTHORITY SECURES FIRST CONVICTION
On 10th April, Local Government Lawyer reported that the NHS Counter Fraud Authority (NHSCFA) has secured its first conviction since its establishment as a new Special Health Authority in November 2017. Andrew Taylor, 55, a former locksmith employed by Guys and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, was last month found guilty and sentenced for defrauding the NHS of £598,000 and sentenced to 6 years’ imprisonment.
UN AMENDS 1 ENTRY ON ITS AFGHANISTAN SANCTIONS LIST
On 10th April, the UN advised that it had amended the entry for MOHAMMED OMAR GHULAM NABI, but seemingly only to correct the date on which he was first listed (in 2000). He was actually deceased as of April 2013.
REPORT THAT RUSSIA CONSIDERING CREATING 2 “TAX HAVENS”
On 10th April, Sputnik carried an article saying that Russian authorities are discussing the creation of 2 offshore financial centres (OFC) with special legal systems in the Kaliningrad Region and the Primorsky Territory to support business circles targeted by US sanctions, according to the Vedomosti newspaper. According to the newspaper, the tax havens may be located on the Oktyabrsky Island in Kaliningrad and the Russky Island near Vladivostok, with the relevant legislation is expected to be adopted during the Russian parliament’s spring session.
ROMANIA: COUNCIL OF EUROPE GROUP OF STATES AGAINST CORRUPTION DEEPLY CONCERNED ABOUT CERTAIN JUSTICE AND CRIMINAL LAW REFORMS
On 11th April, the Council of Europe’s GRECO expressed serious concern about certain aspects of the laws on the status of judges and prosecutors, on the judicial organisation and on the Superior Council of Magistracy recently adopted by Parliament as well as on draft amendments to the criminal legislation.
UK: LAW ENFORCEMENT CRACKDOWN ON DARK WEB
On 11th April, Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced a multimillion pound commitment to tackle those who use the anonymity of the online space for illegal activities.
3 INDIANS SENTENCED TO 517-YEAR JAIL TERM IN FRAUD CASE IN UAE
DNA on 11th April reported that 2 Indian men and a woman have been sentenced to 517 years each in jail by a Dubai court for swindling thousands of people in a multi-million-dollar fraud case involving Exential, a forex trading company in Dubai Media City. Investors lost over $200 million when Exential failed to pay out after promising 120% returns on a $25,000 investment. They were sentenced to 1 year in jail each in 513 cases and 2 years in jail for the remaining 2 cases.
MALTA: NEW AML/CFT STRATEGY LAUNCHED
Malta Today on 11th April reported that a new National AML/CFT strategy and plan is to be implemented over the next 3 years to “help secure Malta’s safety and maintain the stability and integrity of its economy”. An institutional framework has been set up to supervise, gather intelligence on, and take all necessary action against financial crimes, it is said. The strategy highlights 7 initiatives, broken down into approximately 50 actions, to be implemented over the next 3 years. Malta has already started implementation with the establishment of a National Coordination Committee, with its own permanent secretariat.
COURT RELEASES FROM REMAND BULGARIAN MAN WANTED BY US FOR VIOLATION OF SYRIA EMBARGO
BTA in Bulgaria on 11th April reported that a court in the north-eastern town of Dobrich released from remand a Bulgarian man who was arrested on a US request for a violation of the Syria embargo. Zhelyaz Andreev, 29, was arrested in Dobrich in connection to a Miami investigation against 11 people, including 5 Bulgarians, suspected of violating the trade embargo against Syria. Andreev is charged with smuggling goods from the US, submitting false or misleading export information, conspiracy to commit money laundering and false statements. He and several others of the accused worked for a Bulgarian office of AW-Tronics which took care of the sales and delivery of airplane parts and equipment to Syrian Arab Airlines. Between May 2013 and April 2016 Andreev worked in the sales department of AW-Tronics and his job was to offer aircraft parts to air companies and aircraft repair shops in various countries. The US DoJ says the equipment involved has civilian and military uses and the airline has “assisted the Syrian government’s violent crackdown on its people”.
SUDAN COULD NOT BENEFIT FROM REVOKING SANCTIONS, BECAUSE OF TERRORISM LIST
All Africa on 10th April reported that the Sudan State Minister for Finance has underlined that delay in lifting the name of Sudan from terror sponsoring list, has negatively impacted benefits expected from revocation of the economic sanctions.
UK EXPORT CONTROL TRAINING BULLETIN
On 11th April, the Department for International Trade provided details of courses, seminars and workshops to help exporters understand their obligations under export control legislation.
EXPORT CONTROL (BELARUS) AND (SYRIA AMENDMENT) ORDER 2011: POST IMPLEMENTATION REVIEW
On 11th April, the Department for International Trade in the UK published the post implementation review and regulatory policy committee report on the Order which provides for domestic implementation of an EU trade sanctions regime (the Belarus Regulation). The review was designed to check if it had achieved its original objectives; if the objectives were still valid; and the contents were still required or could be improved to reduce the burden on business and its overall costs. It found that there was no impact on businesses, as costs will only fall on businesses that are not compliant with the existing EU sanctions regime.
HMRC PROPOSES NEW MEASURES TO TACKLE HNWI TAX AVOIDANCE
On 11th April, Out-Law reported that new measures to tackle tax avoidance by UK-resident high net worth individuals (HNWI) who move profits offshore through the use of ‘profit fragmentation’ have been published for consultation by HMRC. This, it says, is usually by way of offshore trusts and companies which have “little or no substance”. The new legislation, which it intends to introduce from April 2019, would have a similar effect to diverted profits tax (DPT) introduced in 2015 which applies to large multinational businesses. Consultation by HMRC is open to 8th June.
OECD RELEASES 14 ADDITIONAL COUNTRY PROFILES CONTAINING KEY ASPECTS OF TRANSFER PRICING LEGISLATION
Accountancy Daily on 9th April reported that the OECD has published transfer pricing country profiles for 14 countries reflecting their current transfer pricing legislation and practices.
VIETNAM INVESTIGATES ICO FRAUD AFTER $660 MILLION IN LOSSES REPORTED
Coindesk on 11th April reported that as much as $660 million may have been lost as a result of the schemes – Ifan and Pincoin – though these figures could not be independently verified. According to a news agency, as many as 32,000 investors may have been affected.
HAULIER LOSES APPEAL AGAINST DISQUALIFICATION AFTER BEING CONVICTED OF FRAUD
Commercial Motor on 11th April reported that a haulier who had convictions for tax evasion and perverting the course of justice has lost his appeal against a decision to disqualify him for 5 years. David King, who most recently trading as Military World, argued that a deputy traffic commissioner failed to give adequate reasons for the length of the disqualification, made in November last year. Among the reasons for King’s disqualification was that he had in 2016 been convicted of fraudulently evaded VAT, for which he was sentenced to 2½ years imprisonment. King had previously been director of A+ Logistics which had its O-licence revoked in 2012 on the basis of repute and financial standing.
4 BRITONS ARRESTED IN MAGALUF FOR ‘USING FAKE BANKNOTES’ TO FUND PARTY LIFESTYLE
The Express on 11th April reported that police have arrested 4 Britons suspected of using fake banknotes to fund a party lifestyle in Magaluf. The men were held after police were alerted about counterfeit €20 notes being used in the Majorcan resort.
A NEW UK OPEN GENERAL EXPORT LICENCE PUBLISHED AND 26 OGEL UPDATED
On 11th April, the Department for International Trade published a news release saying that it has published a new open general export licence (OGEL) (information security items) – the purpose of this OGEL is to allow the export of ‘low risk’ information security items deploying encryption to a wide range of destinations – and 26 existing OGEL have been updated – to reflect new contact details of the ECJU and MOD. References to outdated government departments have been changed and, where appropriate, visual branding of the OGEL updated.
CORRUPT VIETNAMESE CUSTOMS OFFICER GETS 12 YEARS BEHIND BARS
On 11th April, VN Express reported that a court in Ho Chi Minh City has sentenced a customs officer to 12 years in prison for accepting bribes. Nguyen Tuong Duy, 50, was found guilty of taking $42,000 from businesses in the city. He was initially prosecuted for abuse of power, but the charge was upgraded to accepting bribes.
UNEXPLAINED WEALTH ORDERS: UK SAID TO BE WORKING ON 100 CASES
KYC 360 on 11th April reported that, in an Reuters interview published, NCA Director of Economic Crime, Donald Toon, said there are about 100 cases his agency is working on, and it is looking to secure 5 more in the next 3 months.
ILLEGAL IVORY TRADE AS TRANSNATIONAL ORGANISED CRIME? AN EMPIRICAL STUDY INTO IVORY TRADERS IN UGANDA
The British Journal of Criminology carries this study (available on subscription or for a one-off daily price) which examines illegal ivory trade in Uganda, which constitutes a major transport route through which ivory exits Africa. The analysis is based on empirical data collected among illegal ivory traders between 2012 and 2017.