8th May 2018
THE WOMAN TAKING QATAR TO TASK OVER ITS FUNDING OF AL-QAEDA
Homeland security Today on 1st May carried an article saying that a Dutch lawyer is threatening legal action against Qatar, state officials and organisations residing in the country for its support of the Nusra Front, the Al Qaeda-linked affiliate that has been involved in several high-profile kidnaps and possible crimes against humanity in Syria. Liesbeth Zegveld, an attorney for Prakken d’Oliveira Human Rights Lawyers in the Dutch capital, is demanding compensation for dozens of victims of the Nusra Front now residing in the Netherlands.
57 CONNECTED WITH WHITE SUPREMACIST GANGS CHARGED IN KIDNAPPING AND DRUG CONSPIRACIES IN US
Homeland Security Today reported on 1st May that 57 individuals connected to various white supremacist gangs have been charged in a case led by the Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Investigations Division. According to the indictment, the defendants were members of, associated with, or performed drug transactions with, various white supremacists organizations or individuals including the “Aryan Circle,” the “Aryan Brotherhood of Texas” (ABT), the “Aryan Brotherhood,” the “Peckerwoods,” the “Soldiers of Aryan Culture,” and the “Dirty White Boys,” and they engaged in a conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and other illegal narcotics throughout North Texas and elsewhere.
AUSTRALIA BORDER FORCE 2018 CUSTOMS COMPLIANCE PRIORITIES – PRESSURE ON NON-AEO TRADERS
On 4th May, Hunt & Hunt published an article saying the following are the areas that will be given careful attention by the ABF: misclassification; undervaluation; non-declaration of goods; false claims for GST Preference import duty exemption; improper use of free trade agreements and concessions; and incorrect claims for duty refund. Importantly, the ABF has made clear that the focus will be trade that does not involve a Trusted Trader (Australia’s AEO programme). Where a trusted trader is not involved the ABF treats the trade as posing an unknown risk. As the number of trusted traders increases, the group of non-accredited traders becomes smaller and more likely to be the subject of regular ABF attention.
US TREASURY SANCTIONS DRUG TRAFFICKING AND MONEY LAUNDERING NETWORK LED BY FORMER SENIOR VENEZUELAN INTELLIGENCE OFFICIAL
On 7th May, the US Treasury announced that OFAC had identified Venezuelan national Pedro Luis Martin Olivares (Martin) as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. Additionally, OFAC designated Walter Alexander Del Nogal Marquez and Mario Antonio Rodriguez Espinoza for materially assisting in, or providing financial or technological support for or to, or providing goods or services in support of, the international narcotics trafficking activities of Martin. OFAC further designated 20 companies in Venezuela and Panama that are owned or controlled by these 3 individuals. Martin is a former Chief of Financial Intelligence for Venezuela’s National Directorate of Intelligence and Prevention Services (DISIP), which is now known as the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN).
IS COCAINE THE “NEW CANNABIS” FOR DRUG TRAFFICKING IN MOROCCO?
On 7th April, an article in ENACT Africa posed this question saying that increased cocaine trafficking to Morocco seems to target the same routes and consumers as cannabis flows. According to the UNODC, Morocco is ranked third in terms of cannabis resin seizures after Spain and Pakistan. Recently, however, the country has seen a drastic increase of the number of cocaine seizures coming from South America.
DRAFT PROPOSAL ON REFORM OF THE SPANISH MONEY LAUNDERING ACT
On 4th May, Herbert Smith Freehills published a briefing saying that the Spanish Council of Ministers is currently analysing a new preliminary draft law which would reform the Spanish Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (Prevention and Control) Act. It extends the number of individuals and organisations affected by the Act and increases security measures through the creation of new internal whistleblower mechanisms, reinforcement of public responsibility controls, and the equalisation of national and foreign public organisations. It also amends the sanctions regime for breach of the regulations, where maximum fines will be held at 5% of an entity’s net assets or 10% of a group’s consolidated business volume and reinforces the co-operation systems between European supervisors dedicated to combatting money laundering.
NIGERIA CUSTOMS DETAINS IMPORTER OVER 3 CONTAINER LOADS OF TRAMADOL
The New Telegraph on 8th May reported Nigeria Customs Service has detained one suspect in connection with importation of 40 and 20 feet containers loaded with Tramadol tablets allegedly smuggled from India. Tramadol, an opioid analgesic, is usually prescribed to treat moderate to moderately severe pain and is considered a safer alternative to other narcotic analgesics like hydrocodone, and methadone. It is among the controlled drugs abused by some youths across the country.
EXPORTING TO IRAN
On 8th May, the FCO and other UK Government agencies produced a updated version of a detailed guide for British businesses on developing their overseas trade and doing business in Iran. This was prepared before the announcement by President Trump on 8th May.
NO CUSTOMS UNION WILL CREATE “TIMBER TAX BOMBSHELL”, SAYS TIMBER TRADE
On 8th May, the Timber Trade Journal reported that the UK timber industry faces a potential “billion pound Brexit bill” if the UK leaves the EU Customs Union, according to the Timber Trade Federation (TTF). Some 90% of timber used in construction is imported from Europe, which British timber supplies are insufficient to replace. The TTF has launched an infographic to explain what it calls “The timber tax bombshell”.
FENTANYL: UK PREPARING FOR A FUTURE THREAT
Public Health England on 8th May reported on planning for the potent opioid arriving into the illicit drug market, saying that local areas should use these resources when preparing their response to incidents caused by fentanyl or other potent opioids. The guidance has been prepared in conjunction with the Local Government Association.
EXPLOSIVE DETECTION DOGS INTRODUCED IN BRITISH AIRPORTS TO SCREEN CARGO
The UK Department for Transport on 8th May reported that the dogs have undertaken a rigorous new training programme set out by the UK government to prepare them for cargo screening. Free running explosive detection dogs (FREDDs) working in close partnership with their human handlers are being used to check freight for a range of explosive materials. The dogs are being used alongside existing screening methods, offering a rapid and effective way of screening large volumes of air cargo.
CEO OF CREDIT UNION CHARGED WITH USING $3.5 MILLION TO BUY LOTTERY TICKETS
On 8th May, Calvin Ayre reported that the US DoJ has charged the head of New York’s oldest credit union with blowing over $3.5 million in stolen funds on lottery tickets. The US Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed charges of embezzlement, fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft against Kam Wong, 62, CEO and president of Municipal Credit Union.
FORMER ITALIAN MAYOR GETS 12 YEARS FOR MAFIA ASSOCIATION
OCCRP reported on 7th May that an Italian supreme court ruled that the former mayor of Siderno can be considered a member of the Calabrian mafia and sentenced him to 12 years in prison for mafia association. Alessandro Figliomeni “belongs to” and plays a “top managerial role” in the ‘Ndrangheta, the court said. The former Calabrian mayor was a candidate for Berlusconi’s People of Freedom Party.
FORMER HIGH-RANKING CHINA POLITICIAN GETS LIFE SENTENCE FOR TAKING BRIBES
The Jurist reported on 8th May reported that Sun Zhengcai, former member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of China and former Secretary of the Chongqing Municipal Committee, was sentenced to life in prison for taking bribes.
UNODC SUPPORTS THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ASSET RECOVERY INTER-AGENCY NETWORK IN WEST AND CENTRAL ASIA
On 8th May, the UN Office for Drugs and Crime reported that, with a view to facilitating the asset recovery process in West and Central Asia, UNODC’s Regional Programme for Afghanistan and Neighbouring Countries recently organised a meeting to discuss the establishment of such a tool in the region. The event took place in Astana, Kazakhstan in partnership with the Academy of Law Enforcement Agencies under the General Prosecutor’s Office of Kazakhstan.
FCPA ENFORCEMENT AT THE SEC
In the latest TRACE podcast, Kara Brockmeyer, former Chief of the SEC Enforcement Division’s FCPA Unit, describes the Unit’s role in the joint enforcement of the US anti-bribery law.
FORMER PAKISTAN PM NAWAZ SHARIF FACING PROBE FOR ALLEGEDLY LAUNDERING $4.9 BILLION TO INDIA
On 8th May, Baker McKenzie reported that Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s top anti-corruption body ordered a probe against the embattled former prime minister and others for allegedly laundering $4.9 billion to India, media reports said.
NEW YORK DEALER ADMITS TO BILKING PROMINENT COLLECTORS WITH ART INVESTMENT SCAM
On 7th May, Baker McKenzie reported that New York art dealer, Ezra Chowaiki, faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to wire fraud in an art investment scam. The dealer admitting to using blue-chip art to bilk clients of millions of dollars between 2015 and November 2017. Chowaiki entered a plea deal in federal court in Manhattan. As part of the deal, he agreed to forfeit $16.6 million and 25 artworks.
CATTLE ROBBERY THREATENS MADAGASCAR’S PEACE AND SECURITY
Defence Web on 8th May reported that cattle theft in Madagascar is becoming an increasingly violent crime, with bandits terrorising villages by stealing, killing victims and taking cattle owners hostage in bloody attacks. This it is a rising threat across Africa.
CHINESE COMPANY BREAKS RECORD WITH 1,374 DANCING DRONES
On 8th May, Defence Web reported that a Chinese drone company has broken the Guinness World Record for most drones flown simultaneously in a 13-minute flight that involved 1,374 drones spread over a kilometre. Chinese UAV company EHang Egret clinched the record by 156 drones from US technology firm Intel, which flew 1,218 drones in formation during the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February.
ICO PROMISES TO ‘REWARD’ COMPLIANCE IN NEW REGULATORY ACTION PLAN
Out-Law reported on 8th May that businesses committed to complying with data protection laws in the UK are less likely to face fines for breaching their legal obligations, the UK’s Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has said.
REPORT CONTAINING RECOMMENDATIONS TO SUPPORT MULTILATERAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS TERRORISM AND VIOLENT EXTREMISM
In May 2018, the Global Center on Cooperative Security produced a report, with the support of the governments of Norway, the Netherlands, and Switzerland, has produced an independent report containing recommendations to support multilateral efforts to address terrorism and violent extremism in advance of the 6th review of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy (GCTS) scheduled to occur on 26th and 27th June. The aim is to lay the ground work during the 6th review to ensure that the 7th review in 2020 and subsequent ones can more rigorously take stock of the progress made by member states and by the UN to further the implementation of the GCTS.
CHINESE INVESTOR IN ZIMBABWE BLACKLISTED BY AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK FOR FRAUD
The Zimbabwe Mail on 8th May reported that INTRATREK Zimbabwe’s plans to establish a 100-megawatt solar plant in Gwanda is in jeopardy after its technical partner, Shanghai-listed CHINT Electric (CHINT), was barred from accessing funds in Africa. The African Development Bank (AfDB) said it has blacklisted CHINT for 36 months after an investigation conducted by the institution’s office of Integrity and Anti-Corruption established that the Chinese engineering company had engaged “in a multitude of fraudulent practices”.