On 17th April, Baker McKenzie published a Legal Alert saying that Russian lawmakers have proposed a draft Bill – “On Measures (Countermeasures) in Response to Unfriendly Actions of the USA and (or) other Foreign States” – which if adopted could result in severe repercussions for almost all economic activity by foreign companies in Russia. The countermeasures are drafted broadly, their focus and actual content would be implemented by Presidential decrees. The Alert says that the State Duma is expected to consider the Draft on April 24th and it has a very high chance of being approved and introduced within the next few weeks.
A Reuters special report on 17th April says that a Chinese telecommunications equipment company has sold Iran’s largest telecom firm a powerful surveillance system capable of monitoring landline, mobile and Internet communications. The system was part of a $130.6 million contract for networking equipment supplied by ZTE Corp to the Telecommunication Co of Iran (TCI). The report says that the ZTE-TCI deal, signed in December 2010, illustrates how despite tightening global sanctions, Iran still manages to obtain sophisticated technology, including systems that can be used to crackdown on dissidents.
On 13th April, Noerr published a briefing saying that the implementation of US sanctions measures in Russia can turn out to be rather complex, as Russian authorities and courts have found at numerous occasions that compliance with Western sanctions violates all sorts of mandatory provisions under Russian law.
On 13th April, ENSafrica, said to be South Africa’s largest law firm, published an article about its 4th bi-annual anti-bribery and corruption survey completed by respondents across Africa (with the majority in South Africa). A key feature of this survey was to assess whether organisations were familiar with the new ISO 37001 anti-bribery management standard (ABMS). The International Organization for Standardisation (ISO) released ISO 37001 ABMS in October 2016. It is designed to support organisations in their fight against bribery and to promote an ethical business culture by establishing, implementing and maintaining an anti-bribery compliance programme. Whilst 91% of respondents believed that adopting the new global ABMS would improve their compliance programmes, and 36% of respondents confirmed that they would be seeking ISO certification for their ABMS (and 31% had already started implementing the ABMS, or would be doing so in future), only 5% of respondents indicated that their ABMS had already been ISO certified. Furthermore, 68% of respondents had not implemented any process in respect of ISO 37001.
The article explains that, like relevant US and UK guidance and the World Bank Global Integrity Compliance Program Guidelines, the ABMS addresses tone at the top, due diligence, training, gifts and hospitality, books and records, and risk assessments. It speaks in terms of compliance programmes that are “reasonable”, “appropriate” and “proportionate”. It says that, although the standard closely resembles existing ABC compliance guidance in some respects, for the first time it sets out an internationally agreed-upon set of procedures.
For ISO 37001, see –
The Oil & Gas Journal on 16th April carried an article saying that at a recent conference in Washington speakers agreed that while stopping crude oil and product thefts may not seem to be a high priority in fighting global maritime crime, but they need to be addressed more aggressively because they can finance narcotic smuggling, human trafficking, and other destructive criminal enterprises. They said the problem extends beyond pirates boarding tankers and holding the cargo and crew for ransom. Local fishermen now sell food for stolen fuel, thieves move products bought under a government subsidy in one country into another for sale at market prices, and influential individuals fraudulently obtain offshore oil licences for resale to producers at much higher prices. The forum was hosted by the Atlantic Council, and discussed its report: Oil on the Water: Illicit Hydrocarbon Activity in the Maritime Domain.
In the report the authors identify several types of hydrocarbons crime, including small-scale smuggling of subsidised fuel across borders, the hijacking of oil tankers to steal or ransom their cargo, and government corruption in the issuance of drilling licenses. The effects of oil theft are severe, as states lose critical revenues and suffer from government corruption. In many cases, oil theft is also linked with other crimes, most notably drug and human trafficking. To more effectively combat hydrocarbons crime, the authors make a number of recommendations regarding issues such as law enforcement agencies and approaches, legal frameworks, and the effective use of technology. The report is available at –