FACTORS TO BE CONSIDERED WHEN CHALLENGING FREEZING ORDERS
On 23rd May, TLT LLP published an article saying that the recent case of State Bank of India & Others v Dr Vijay Mallya & Others in the High Court in London considered how various factors are to be assessed when considering whether to continue a freezing order, including the risk of dissipation of assets; delay on the part of the claimant in applying; and material non-disclosure. It also dealt with issues regarding the registration and enforcement of foreign judgments. TLT acted for the successful consortium of 13 Indian financial institutions in the case.
ARMENIA CENTRAL BANK PRESENTS REPORT ON FIGHTING MONEY LAUNDERING AND FINANCING OF TERRORISM
Armsbank on 30th May reported that the Financial Monitoring Center (FMC) of Armenia’s Central Bank has published a report. The FMC was established in 2005 as a separate unit in the structure of the Central Bank of Armenia. It is an administrative-type FIU, which acts as an intermediary between reporting entities and law enforcement authorities. The FMC said it had received 232,635 reports in 2017 on cash transactions exceeding the legal threshold (5 million drams), up from 206,065 reports in 2016. It also received 193,460 reports on non-cash transactions exceeding the legal threshold of 20 million drams (50 million drams for real estate transactions), up from 168,329 reports in 2016. The FMC also received 280 reports on suspicious transactions (256 reports in 2016). £1 equals around 641 drams. Overall, the center received 426,095 reports from financial and non-financial institutions, of which 414,204 from the local commercial banks.
NEW INFORMATION OBLIGATIONS APPLICABLE TO COMPANIES AND TRUSTS WHICH OPERATE IN COSTA RICA
Zurcher, Odio and Raven on 31st May published an article saying that on April 23rd the Executive Branch issued and published The Regulations of the Transparency and Final Beneficiaries Registry. The Regulations introduce new obligations related to the provision of information and which apply to most companies and other legal structures which operate in Costa Rica. They are part of Costa Rica´s actions to follow the recommendations issued by FATF and OECD, to control money laundering and fulfill the country’s commitments with other nations, in relation to the exchange of tax information.
CLEVELAND MAN’S LAWSUIT: “US CUSTOMS TOOK MY $58,000 LIFE SAVINGS”
Trib Live in the US on 31st May reported that a 64-year-old Cleveland man is suing US Customs and Border Protection after agents strip-searched him at an airport in October and took more than $58,000 in cash from him without charging him with any crime, according to a federal lawsuit. CBP says it suspects that the petitioner in the case, Rustem Kazazi, a retired officer with the Albanian police who relocated with his family to the United States in 2005, was involved in smuggling, drug trafficking or money laundering. Kazazi strongly denies those allegations and says that the agency is violating federal law by keeping his money without filing any formal complaint against him.
CYPRUS: WOMAN SENTENCED TO 8 YEARS FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
The Cyprus Mail on 31st May reported that Irina Koumbari, a 47-year-old woman was sentenced by Nicosia criminal court to 8 years in prison after being found guilty of theft by proxy and money laundering almost €2 million. She was found guilty of 9 charges, stole €1.97 million between February and November 2012 from a company to which she was offering administrative services. Koumbari’s company, according to the court ruling, was providing the services to another company, Erilin Holdings Ltd – specifically, director, shareholder and account management services.
CARGO CRIME WAVE HITS BRAZILIAN E-COMMERCE
PYMNTS.com on 31st May reported that Brazil is dealing with a dramatic rise in cargo robberies, with 22,000 thefts reported in 2 states alone last year – in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro which amount to about 60 heists per day, a figure that has almost doubled since 2012.
JAPAN INTRODUCES PLEA BARGAINING IN ORGANISED CRIME, BRIBERY CASES
The Mainichi in its 1st June edition reported that Japan has introduced a plea bargaining system for organised crime and bribery cases, hoping to spur co-operation in the investigation and prosecution of crimes. Prosecutors can now agree not to indict or to pursue lesser charges or lighter penalties if suspects or defendants provide evidence or depositions against alleged accomplices, according to the revised criminal procedure law. Under the Japanese system defendants will not be rewarded with reduced sentences for pleading guilty, unlike plea bargaining in the US and other countries.
MONEY LAUNDERING CASE AGAINST AIR ASIA OFFICIALS
The Business Standard in India reported that after the CBI, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) has now registered a case of money laundering against AirAsia officials and others for allegedly trying to manipulate the government policies through corrupt means to get international licence for its Indian venture AirAsia India, officials said.
MELBOURNE MAN ARRESTED OVER 10 TONNE ILLICIT TOBACCO HAUL
Australian Border Force on 25th May reported in a news release that it has arrested a Melbourne man over the alleged importation of around 10 tonnes of illicit tobacco into Australia, which represents an estimated $10 million in duty evaded.
VIETNAMESE AUTHORITIES HAVE BOOSTED INSPECTIONS OF SCRAP IMPORTS AND PLAN TO HALT SHIPMENTS TO KEY PORTS
Resource Recycling on 30th May reported that the changes are a result of a glut of scrap paper and plastic imports and numerous instances of customs violations. Because of China’s restrictions, Vietnam has become a larger destination for exports of US recyclables. Now, Vietnamese officials are restricting imports, similar to the actions taken by the Chinese government over the past year.
NEW ZEALAND RECYCLING CRISIS AFTER CHINA BAN: SITUATION “NOT SUSTAINABLE”
The New Zealand Herald on 31st May reported that New Zealand previously shipped millions of kilograms of waste to Chinese processing plants each year, but its just-introduced ban on 24 types of foreign waste has forced recyclers to look for buyers elsewhere, mainly SE Asia. Although exports to Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia have surged, stockpiles of some plastic have begun to appear around the country as certain types of products became harder to sell.
ILLICIT DRUG TRADE WORTH €2.7 BILLION A YEAR IN FRANCE
RFI on 30th May reported that the trade in illegal drugs contributes an estimated 0.1% of France’s GDP, earning €2.7 billion, according to the national statistical institute, Insee. The figures are based on the findings of a government agency poll and could be an underestimate.
THAI AUTHORITIES LAUNCH COORDINATED CRACKDOWN ON GARLIC SMUGGLERS AFTER DOMESTIC PRICES FALL
Illicit Trade on 31st May reported that military police in Thailand have been called in to crack down on organised garlic smugglers after local prices for the popular cooks’ ingredient plummeted. Customs officials, the country’s Commerce Ministry and the Thai military have teamed up to tackle a huge rise in the trafficking of garlic into Thailand from neighbouring countries, which has caused domestic price levels to slump significantly.
SOUTH AFRICA CLAMPS DOWN ON ILLICIT TRADE OF MARINE RESOURCES
Ricochet News on 30th May reported that the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) has reiterated its call to all communities to work together to curb poaching and the illegal trade of Marine Living Resources (MLR). This follows the arrest of more than 40 suspected poachers of marine living resources. The suspects were arrested recently by fisheries control officers from the department. 5 boats that had been used in alleged poaching activities were confiscated, as efforts intensified in curbing illegal harvesting of MLR.