THE TRADE IN FAKE GOODS IN KENYA
On 28th May, The Nation in Kenya reported that the proliferation of counterfeit products has created fears within the business community that the illegal products, currently estimated to be controlling 40% of the national economy, could take over in the not-too-distant future. Some traders fear that counterfeiters increasing control will spill over to the political domain, and will enable them to dictate who holds certain positions in the government. The article refers not only to counterfeit alcohol and medicines, but also fertiliser, pesticide and herbicide.
US DOJ ANNOUNCES ACTIONS TO DISRUPT ADVANCED PERSISTENT THREAT 28 BOTNET OF INFECTED ROUTERS AND NETWORK STORAGE DEVICES
Imperial Valley News in the US reported that the DoJ announced an effort to disrupt a global botnet of hundreds of thousands of infected home and office (SOHO) routers and other networked devices under the control of a group of actors known as the “Sofacy Group” (also known as “apt28,” “sandworm,” “x-agent,” “pawn storm,” “fancy bear” and “sednit”). The group, which has been operating since at least in or about 2007, targets government, military, security organizations, and other targets of perceived intelligence value. In order to identify infected devices and facilitate their remediation, the US Attorney in Pennsylvania applied for and obtained court orders, authorizing the FBI to seize a domain that is part of the malware’s command-and-control infrastructure.
SWISS PROPOSAL TO IMPOSE HUMAN RIGHTS DUE DILIGENCE REQUIREMENTS REACHES THE NEXT STAGE OF THE LEGISLATIVE PROCESS
On 24th May, Hogan Lovells published an article providing an update on the initiative where a coalition of Swiss civil society organisations launched the Responsible Business Initiative (RBI), i.e. a proposal to amend the Swiss constitution to require mandatory human rights due diligence for companies based in Switzerland. While the RBI is still currently going through the Swiss legislative process, it seems to be heading towards a national referendum.
AUSTRALIA: PARALLEL IMPORTATION LAW IS SET TO CHANGE
On 24th May, K&L Gates published an article saying that proposed laws favouring the parallel importation of goods are currently being considered by the Australian Parliament. It explains that parallel importation refers to the importation and sale of goods by reference to a registered trade mark that were legally purchased in another jurisdiction. Parallel imports fall outside the trademark owner’s authorised distribution channel. In Australia, trade mark owners have been able to strategically use trade mark law to prevent parallel imports, by assigning registered Australian trade marks to local licensees, distributors or subsidiaries. The proposed new law will preclude trademark owners from relying on this mechanism.
MASSIVE CORRUPTION CASE GRIPS KENYA, PROSECUTION CHARGES SUSPECTS
Deutsche Welle on 28th May reported that Kenya’s Chief Prosecutor said he had enough evidence to press charges against 40 members of the National Youth Service (NYS) who were arrested in one of Kenya’s biggest corruption scandals. The National Youth Service (NYS) boss Richard Ndubai is among 39 others and 14 private citizens who were arrested over the reported looting of $100 million.
EU JUSTICE SCOREBOARD 2018 – Q&A
On 28th May, the EU published a news release containing a Q&A on the the 2018 EU Justice Scoreboard which gives a comparative overview of the independence, quality and efficiency of justice systems in EU Member States. Amongst the findings of the Scoreboard is that re analysis of the fight against money laundering new data shows that in about half of Member States first instance court proceedings take up to a year on average. In some Member States facing challenges they can take on average 2 or more years.
UNODC SUPPORTS LAUNCH OF ANTI-CORRUPTION PLATFORM IN WEST AFRICA
On 28th May, the UN Office for Drugs and Crime reported in a media release that as part of its Sahel Strategy to counter corruption, UNODC has supported the establishment of the Cell Norbert Zongo for Investigative Journalism in West Africa (CENOZO), bringing together over 50 journalists across West Africa under one umbrella. It says that Africa loses approximately $50 billion every year due to illicit financial flows. Article 13 of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) encourages investigative journalism to effectively fight corruption. In this regard, UNODC supported the initial training of journalists, as well as the development of CENOZO’s strategic plan and its initial constitutive documents.
HONG KONG’S PROBLEM WITH DATE RAPE DRUG GBL SENT BY MAIL FROM LITHUANIA
On 27th May, the South China Morning Post reported that some 131 kg of GBL, a clear and odourless industrial solvent, seized in the first 4 months this year – more than for all of 2017. A senior customs source said recent seizures of gamma-Butyrolactone (GBL) involved parcels from Lithuania, where the industrial solvent is legal, leading the authorities to believe drug traffickers were taking advantage of differences between the jurisdictions to smuggle it into Hong Kong. GBL, a psychoactive substance, is a popular party drug. Users experience feelings of euphoria and reduced inhibitions. Stronger doses can cause sleepiness, confusion and dizziness. GBL seized in Hong Kong was mainly found in transshipment packages meant for overseas destinations.
CRIMINALS CAPTURE $1.2 BILLION IN CRYPTOCURRENCY SINCE 2017
Banking Tech on 25th May reported that criminals stole about $1.2 billion in cryptocurrencies since the beginning of 2017, according to estimates from the Anti-Phishing Working Group (APWG). This alarming figure was part of APWG’s research on cryptocurrency and includes reported and unreported theft. Of the $1.2 billion, it is claimed that only about 20% or less has been recovered, noting that global law enforcement agencies have their hands full tracking down these criminals.
EU EXTENDS ITS SYRIA SANCTIONS TO JUNE 2019
The European Sanctions Blog on 28th May reported that the EU Council had agreed to extend the Syria sanctions regime to 1st June 2019.