On 25th April, the Nuclear Threat Initiative published a paper that says that separated plutonium is a sensitive material that presents both proliferation and nuclear security risks. However, unlike highly enriched uranium (HEU), separated plutonium has not received sufficient attention as a security risk. 8 countries hold more than 375 metric tonnes of separated plutonium, which is produced by reprocessing irradiated nuclear fuel. The paper recommends minimising stocks and specific actions in production, storage, and use of the material, including developing a code of conduct. It says that even small quantities of plutonium could be of interest to terrorists if they see opportunities for acquiring plutonium in a number of locations or for use in a radiological dispersal device (RDD).
On 25th April, a Notice to Exporters from the UK Export Control Joint Unit reported that HMRC has prosecuted UK company, Carbosynth Limited, for unlicensed exports of controlled chemicals. Carbosynth made unlicensed exports of ‘dual use’ chemicals – R-(-)-3-quinicludinol, 2(diethyamino) ethanethiol an benzillic acid. They also exported military list chemicals 1, 2, 4, butanetriol and decaborane. The chemicals were exported variously to Japan, India, South Korea, Israel, USA, Germany and Canada.
On 25th April, HMRC published Customs Information Paper 5 about the withdrawal of the importers transitional arrangement for the earlier sale provision on 31st December 2017. From that date all importers and their agents may no longer declare an earlier sale as the basis for the customs value. Previously, where there was a series of sales before the importation of the goods, any sale in the supply chain prior to the last sale which led to the introduction of the goods into the customs territory could potentially be used as the basis of the customs value.
The Times of India on 25th April reported that Mohammad Farooq, aka Farooq Shaikh, one of the city’s biggest hawala operators, was arrested in a money laundering case involving hisStelkon Infratel Pvt Ltd company, which was part of Farooq’s network of 160 shell companies and run from a one-room office. It is said that Farooq was on the radar of various probe agencies since 2014 and is believed to be associated with underworld elements.
All Africa on 24th April carried an article claiming that every year, an estimated $133 billion of fuels are illegally stolen, adulterated, or defrauded from legitimate petroleum companies. Roughly 30% of Nigeria’s refined fuel products are smuggled into neighboring states and pipeline fuel theft in Mexico is at record levels. It also reports that the Philippines loses $750 million annually in tax revenue from fuel adulteration and smuggling and that the value of the illegal fuel trade in SE Asia ranges from $2 to $10 billion a year. Research is said to shows connections between oil theft and drug cartels in Mexico; insurgents and human traffickers in Thailand; human smugglers in Libya; terrorists in Ireland; militant groups in Nigeria; rebel movements in Mozambique, and ISIS.