In Part 1 of a series, Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera on 24th April reported in a comprehensive article how illegal gambling used to provide funds for mafia bosses in hiding. Every game played on slot machines in the arcades of businessman Carlo Cattaneo guaranteed the boss of Cosa Nostra the money he needed to stay in hiding. The businessman had also set up a parallel illegal gambling system inside his arcades which even investigators found difficult to detect, since it used the same computers authorised by the state monopoly. He had his programmers install a small banner on the screen, which was apparently insignificant, but for those who knew how the mechanism worked, served as a gateway to offshore platforms. This meant zero taxation in Italy and money laundering opportunities.
OCCRP on 24th April reported that the Techint group operates steel and iron factories, manufactures gas and oil pipelines and builds energy plants. It has been controlled by a family dynasty, and has been a mainstay of both the Italian and Argentinian economies since WW2. The $25 billion group, which reportedly includes 450 operating companies and a 75,000-strong workforce in 45 countries, has never before faced questions about the probity of its worldwide financial operations. It is said that journalists claim to have uncovered a previously unknown web of offshore entities used by Techint associates to shuffle money through tax havens and to pay bribes to Brazilian state companies. Denying the allegations, Techint’s Swiss and Italian subsidiaries told L’Espresso that the company would prove its innocence in court.
Deutsche Welle on 24th April reported that French billionaire Vincent Bollore has been detained on suspicion of corruption when making deals to operate ports in Africa. A part of his conglomerate is alleged to have helped political campaigns to gain concessions. The 66-year-old, who is head of the Bollore Group, was questioned along with other employees of the company. French newspaper Le Monde said the investigation focused on port deals in the Togolese capital, Lome, and Conakry in Guinea. The multinational group is alleged to have used its communication and marketing subsidiary Havas to support election campaigns of Guinean President Alpha Conde and Togo President Faure Gnassingbe. In exchange, the subsidiary known as Bollore Africa Logistics is alleged to have won contracts to operate shipping terminals after the leaders were elected.
On 23rd April, OFAC issued a news release saying that General License 14 authorises US persons to engage in specified transactions related to winding down or maintaining business with United Company RUSAL PLC (RUSAL) and its subsidiaries until October 23rd 2018. The FAQ include a clarification that, in accordance with preexisting OFAC guidance, OFAC will not impose sanctions on foreign persons for engaging in the same activity involving RUSAL or its subsidiaries that General License 14 authorises US persons to engage in. OFAC is also issuing another new licence, Ukraine-/Russia-related General License 12A, which replaces and supersedes General License 12 in its entirety.
A further new paper from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) says that “additive manufacturing” (AM) machines are multipurpose manufacturing instruments that rely on the transfer of build-information in a digital form. AM is a rapidly developing technology with a growing range of applications, especially in the aerospace and defence industry. It is also generating concerns about its potential to create ways of weakening or circumventing dual-use and arms export controls. This SIPRI Paper examines –
- the state of the art in AM;
- its ability to produce military equipment and dual-use items;
- the application of export controls to AM and their implementation at the national level; and
- the challenges that implementation and compliance present for governments, companies and research institutes.
The conclusions summarise potential options and considerations when expanding controls on AM. Funding for the concept paper was provided by the US Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program.
A new paper from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) saying that Transfers of software and technology can play a crucial role in the proliferation of conventional arms and WMD. However, they can also take an intangible form or be transferred through intangible means that make them difficult to detect and monitor. This SIPRI paper examines –
- the different ways in which transfers of software and technology occur;
- the proliferation-related challenges they generate;
- the way controls are structured in the multilateral export control regimes and implemented in EU member states;
- the particular challenges that implementation and compliance present for EU governments, companies and research institutes.
The conclusions highlight steps that different stakeholders can take to improve the consistency and effectiveness of software and technology controls. Funding for the concept paper was provided by the US Department of State’s Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS) Program.
On 19th April, chartered secretaries’ association, ICSA, published an article saying that the outcome of a recent failure to prevent bribery case shows how seriously prosecutors are taking compliance. Corporations in the UK are facing pressure to not merely abstain from crime, but to actively prevent their staff committing it. Where once companies would not be culpable for the misbehaviour of staff, they are now being asked to have adequate measures in place to stop tax evasion and bribery, or face punishment. After the Home Office published an anti-corruption strategy in December, some campaigners called for this approach to be applied to other types of economic crime.