3rd May 2018
FRENCH ‘DARK WEB’ DRUG DEFENDANT LOSES EVIDENCE CHALLENGE OVER US BORDER INSPECTION
Daily Business Review from Law.com on 2nd May reported that a judge reaffirmed that entrants to the US can be subjected to questioning and broad searches of their belongings without breaching any constitutional rights. A federal judge in Florida has rejected a motion to suppress electronic evidence in a criminal case against Gal Vallerius, a French national who entered the US last year and is accused of being a moderator on a “dark web” drug marketplace. The decision reaffirms previous decisions holding that entrants to the US can be subjected to questioning and broad searches of their belongings prior to clearing customs.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE WARNS AGAINST REVERSAL OF PROGRESS IN FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
On 3rd May, a news release from the Council expressed concerns that new legislative initiatives in certain European countries in 2017 reversed reforms previously undertaken to strengthen the prevention of corruption or started reforms that may result in breaches of the Council of Europe´s anti-corruption standards. Although there was overall progress in introducing new measures to fight corruption in respect of MPs, judges and prosecutors, their practical implementation remained slower than desirable. The news release announced the latest annual report from GRECO (Group of States Against Corruption of the Council of Europe).
The report is available at –
MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER NAJIB RAZAK CAN BANK ON REGIONAL SUPPORT FOR RE-ELECTION DESPITE CORRUPTION SCANDAL
Radio Australia on 4th May reported that despite allegations that hundreds of millions of dollars of state money ended up in his personal bank account, and arrests of people who bring it up, support for Malaysia’s Prime Minister remains strong in regional areas. The US DoJ says $4.65 billion was misappropriated from Malaysia’s state investment fund, 1MDB. Much ended up in the personal bank account of Mr Najib but the Prime Minister later claimed that cash was the gift of an unnamed Saudi billionaire.
EU PUSHES MOLDOVA TO STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
New Europe on 3rd May reported that the fight against corruption, reforms in the electoral system, and the development of economic co-operation were at the centre of the 4th EU-Moldova Association in Brussels. In 2015, Moldova was hit with money laundering and banking fraud scandals that involved high-level members of the government, which triggered mass street protests and plunged the national currency, the leu, to record lows and caused inflation to climb to double digits. In response, the EU froze aid to the Moldovan government.
NORFOLK BROTHERS ALAN AND RUSSELL TAYLOR JAILED OVER £17 MILLION FRAUD
On 3rd May, the BBC reported that 2 brothers who scammed more than 200 people out of almost £17 million have been jailed. Alan Taylor, 38, and Russell Taylor, 37, used the money to fund “lavish” lifestyles. They persuaded clients to invest with their firm, gaining access to their funds, which were then invested in high-risk schemes, police said. The financial advisers pocketed any profit but passed on losses to their customers. The brothers used their company Taylor and Taylor Associates to persuade clients to invest, but then transferred the money to another company they owned, Vantage Investment Group Ltd, and placed it in a high-risk finance scheme.
OFFICIAL SOUGHT ‘BIG PAYDAY’ IN BRIBE SCAM, US JURY TOLD
On 3rd May, Bloomberg reported that Gary Tanner, a former senior director at Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, got a $9.7 million kickback from Andrew Davenport, the former head of Philidor Rx Services LLC, after Valeant was manipulated into paying $133 million for an option to buy the mail-order pharmacy, a federal prosecutor said at the start of their fraud and money laundering trial.
UK OVERSEAS TERRITORIES HOPE TO DERAIL BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP PLANS
Tax News on 3rd May reported that British Overseas Territories (comprising 14 overseas territories, including Bermuda, the BVI, and the Cayman Islands), have condemned a UK Government proposal to compel the jurisdictions to publicly disclose the beneficial ownership of legal entities established in their territories. Amendments were also proposed in respect of Jersey, Guernsey, and the Isle of Man but were withdrawn.
PANAMA CANCELS MIGRATORY PERMITS TO FOREIGNERS FOR FRAUD
Prensa Latina on 3rd May reported that the Panamanian National Immigration Service (SNM) cancelled over 500 temporary and permanent residence permits for foreigners, after detecting the use of false documentation in the immigration procedures.
VENEZUELA HAS BEEN ADDED TO THE LIST OF DESTINATIONS FOR WHICH THE UK OPEN GENERAL TRANSHIPMENT LICENCE (OGTL) IS NOT VALID
On 3rd May, the UK export Control Joint Unit released Notice to Exporters 2018/12 announcing that the open general transhipment licence has been updated following Venezuela sanctions. This follows an inadvertent omission when updating a number of licences in response to the introduction of Venezuela sanctions.
BAN FOR SOLICITOR WHO AIDED DRUG DEALERS AND FRAUDSTERS
The Law Society Gazette on 3rd May reported that Neil Richard Bolton, a solicitor who fixed property deals for drug dealers and mortgage fraudsters has been banned after being jailed for 9 months on money laundering charges. Bolton was employed by a Stockport firm for 13 years until dismissal in 2014. He dealt with many conveyancing transactions for several criminals subsequently convicted for serious offences including drug dealing, mortgage frauds and tax evasion in a way that facilitated mortgage frauds through the dishonest acquisition of properties by the clients; and to have failed to meet his obligations around issuing client care letters and file maintenance.
MALTA BILLS TO REGULATE, PROMOTE BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY
Tax News on 3rd May reported that Malta is considering 3 Bills that would regulate the use of distributed ledger technology (blockchain) by regulated entities.
NEW DRAFT MODERN SLAVERY BILL UNDER DISCUSSION FOR HONG KONG
Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner on 3rd May published an article saying that a new draft Bill in expected as part of a broader discussions on human trafficking. It would criminalise all forms of human trafficking and bring Hong Kong into line with the UK and US in making corporates liable for ensuring responsible business practices in their supply chains.
UPDATE ON THE MALTA KILLING OF DAPHNE CARUNA GALIZIA
OCCRP on 3rd May provided an article updating details of the case and saying that the car bomb that killed Maltese her last year was detonated from a boat in the Grand Harbor near Valletta, but the motives remained unclear. The involvement of Maltese parties in a fuel smuggling operation that included Libyan traffickers and Sicilian organised crime is being investigated.
EU PRIOR SURVEILLANCE IMPORT LICENSING REGIME
On 27th April, the UK Department for International Trade published Notice to Importers 2902 which sets out the EU revised prior surveillance import licensing arrangements covering imports into free circulation within the EU of aluminium and steel products of certain description detailed in an Annex to the Notice. An import licence is or may be required for aluminium entries made on or after 12th May.
TAX ACTIVISTS SLAM US REPORTING EXEMPTION FOR DEFENCE COMPANIES
On 3rd May, Defence Web reported that tax activists have criticised a US government move to exempt large defence contractors from a financial disclosure rule meant to fight international tax dodging, saying the need for a national security exemption was unproven. The new rule requires US-based multinational corporations with revenues exceeding $850 million to report revenue annually on a country-by-country basis.
COMMUNICATIONS DATA RETENTION LAWS CAN APPLY TO CRIMES THAT ARE NOT ‘SERIOUS’, SAYS EU COURT ADVISER
On 3rd May, Out-Law reported that an Advocate General of the CJEU has advised the court that EU law permits communications data laws to be enforced by the police and other authorities even when they crimes they are investigating are not ‘serious’, providing there is no serious interference with privacy rights. Communications data laws generally require electronic communication service providers to retain details pertinent to communications, excluding their contents, such as details of the routing and duration of phone calls, and the location of those making and receiving emails, to help the police detect and investigate certain crimes. The court is not obliged to follow the guidance.