OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 1

NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS (NGO): A GROWING FORCE IN GOVERNANCE

On 30th May, Minter Ellison in the US published an article which says that with the help of traditional and social media, NGO are becoming a growing force in governance.  Companies are advised to monitor NGO activities, and be prepared to respond strategically in order to limit potential costs to their business.  NGO are increasingly targeting companies, advocating on behalf of employees, consumers, supply chain workers, local communities or other corporate stakeholders (including ‘the environment’).  For example, NGO may campaign to improve social justice and equality, to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development, or to protect or promote human (including social and economic) rights.  Another name for these organisations is ‘civil society’, a term used to describe the various groups working in the interest of citizens but operating outside of the government and private sectors.

https://www.minterellison.com/articles/ngos-a-growing-force-in-governance

WHAT’S DRIVING NORTH KOREA’S TIES WITH SOUTH AND SOUTH-EAST ASIA?

World Politics Review on 31st May asked a professor at Georgetown University what has been the nature of North Korea’s relations historically with India and other Asian countries, excluding China, Japan and South Korea?

https://www.worldpoliticsreview.com/trend-lines/24807/what-s-driving-north-korea-s-ties-with-south-and-southeast-asia

CHINESE INTERFERENCE IN NEW ZEALAND AT ‘CRITICAL’ STAGE, SAYS CANADA SPY REPORT

The Guardian on 1st June reported that a report released by Canada’s spy agency has warned that New Zealand has been influenced at every level of society by the Chinese government, and that the situation has reached a “critical” stage.  The report states that New Zealand is viewed as “the soft underbelly” of its western big brothers such as the UK and US. The report claimed New Zealand’s business, political and intellectual elite had all been targeted by the Chinese Communist party, and that business tie-ups with companies, universities and research centres had been used to “influence activities and to provide access to military technology, commercial secrets and other strategic information”.  It says that a legislative change in 2011 has also made New Zealand “a hotspot for global money laundering”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/01/chinese-interference-in-new-zealand-at-critical-stage-says-canada-spy-report

US – ‘LAYERED DEFENSE’ NEEDED ON OCEAN, LAND SMUGGLING ROUTES AS THREATS MOUNT

On 1st June, Homeland Security Today reported that a SOUTHCOM (Army Southern Command) official stressed the importance of “real-world training” for partners throughout the Caribbean and Latin America in “countering illicit financial flows, the employment of biometrics, intelligence fusion, open-source analysis, border security, and maritime interdiction” as drugs, gangs and potentially terrorists explore all routes to the US.  

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/maritime-security/southcom-layered-defense-needed-on-ocean-land-smuggling-routes-as-threats-mount/

CAMOUFLAGED CASH: HOW ‘SECURITY VOTES’ FUEL CORRUPTION IN NIGERIA

Transparency International has published a report The introduction says that, ahead of the 2019 Presidential elections in Nigeria, Transparency International and the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) are calling on candidates to commit to scrapping the unaccountable and secretive “security vote” spending – one of the most durable forms of corruption in Nigeria—saying that they fail to provide real security for citizens.  It explains that ‘security votes’ are opaque corruption-prone security funding mechanisms widely used by Nigerian officials. A relic of military rule, these funds are provided to certain federal, state and local government officials to disburse at their discretion. In theory, they are reserved for covering unforeseen security needs. Transacted mostly in cash, security vote spending is not subject to legislative oversight or independent audit because of its ostensibly sensitive nature.  Although officials often spend some of these funds on security, they also channel them into political activities or embezzle them outright. Transparency International estimates that these secretive, unaccounted-for, cash expenditures add up to over $670 million annually and says that rather than phasing out the use of corruption-prone security votes, the current administration has expanded their use in both scope and scale.

http://ti-defence.org/publications/camouflaged-cash-how-security-votes-fuel-corruption-in-nigeria/

US DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY UNVEILS STRATEGY TO GUIDE CYBERSECURITY EFFORTS

On 15th May, Homeland Security Today reported that DHS had released a strategy outlining the department’s approach to identifying and managing national cybersecurity risk and which details a department-wide approach to address the evolving threats to our nation’s cyber and critical infrastructure security.  The strategy sets forth a 5-part approach to manage national cyber risk aimed at ensuring the availability of critical national functions and fostering efficiency, innovation, trustworthy communication, and economic prosperity in ways consistent with national values and that protect privacy and civil liberties.

https://www.hstoday.us/federal-pages/dhs/department-of-homeland-security-unveils-strategy-to-guide-cybersecurity-efforts/

ROMANIA BREAKS UP ALLEGED €25 MILLION ILLEGAL LOGGING RING

On 1st June, EurActiv reported that Romania’s security forces have mounted a series of raids to break up an alleged €25 million illegal logging ring, in what is believed to be the largest operation of its kind yet seen in Europe.  Officers from Romania’s Directorate for Investigation of Organised Crime and Terrorism (DIICOT) swooped on 23 addresses – including factories owned by the Austrian timber group Schweighofer Holzindustrie. The crackdown in the Carpathians followed an EIA report in 2015 which found evidence of illegally sourced wood entering Schweighofer’s supply chain.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy-environment/news/romania-breaks-up-alleged-e25m-illegal-logging-ring/

US TREASURY INCREASES THE PRESSURE ON IRANIAN AIRLINES   

On 1st June, the Washington Institute provided a detailed article on the numerous individual aircraft and front companies were added to the Treasury sanctions list, but naming even more of them could boost US efforts to pressure Iran and close the IRGC’s Syrian air bridge.  The sanctioned businesses include Mahan Air, Caspian Airlines, Meraj Air, Dena Airways, Pouya Air, and Blue Airways. The latter is just a front company with no fleet.

http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/policy-analysis/view/treasury-increases-the-pressure-on-iranian-airlines?src=ilaw

IRISH FORMER PROPERTY INVESTOR WHO ‘ROBBED PETER TO PAY PAUL’ JAILED FOR SERIES OF THEFTS AND FRAUDS

The Irish Examiner on 1st June reported Jonathan Chubb, 38, pleaded guilty to 34 counts of theft, 2 of providing a false reference, 4 of deception, 6 of possession of a forged driving licence and one count of money laundering on dates between March 2013 and July 2015.

https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/–846534.html?src=ilaw

MINE MOGUL’S NEW ZIMBABWE PLAY

On 1st June, the Zimbabwe Independent carried a Mail & Guardian story alleging that a mining concern, Sable Mining, and the man behind it, Andrew Groves, which were formerly linked to questionable payments in Liberia has resurfaced as Consolidated Growth Holdings (CGH) in Zimbabwe through a deal with Contango Holdings Plc, a cash shell floated on the London Stock Exchange.  It is claimed that CGH has an 80% interest in the Lubu coal project through Monaf Investments (Pvt) Ltd and a 49% shareholding in Liberation Mining (Pvt) Ltd, the company that holds the mining licence for the Lubimbi coal project.

https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2018/06/01/dodgy-mine-moguls-new-zim-play/?src=ilaw

THE INDUSTRIALISATION OF CYBERCRIME LONE-WOLF HACKERS YIELD TO MATURE BUSINESSES

The June edition of IMF’s Finance & Development magazine carries an article saying long gone are the legendary lone-wolf hackers of the late 1980s.  Cybercrime is now a mature industry operating on principles much like those of legitimate businesses in pursuit of profit.  Combating the proliferation of cybercrime means disrupting a business model that employs easy-to-use tools to generate high profits with low risk.  It argues that international co-operation in combating and prosecuting cybercrime lags well behind the global nature of the threat. The best way to tackle cybercrime is to attack its business model, which relies on the exceptional risk/reward ratio associated with ineffective prosecution.  In this context, the business risk of cybercrime must be raised significantly, but this is possible only with better international co-operation.

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/fandd/2018/06/global-cybercrime-industry-and-financial-sector/gaidosch.htm

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LICENSED TRANSACTIONS FOR POISONS AND EXPLOSIVES PRECURSORS IN UK: GUIDANCE FOR INTERNET RETAILERS

On 1st June, the Home Office published a news release suggests ways for internet retailers to comply with the licence verification requirements of the Control of Explosives Precursors Regulations 2014.  It details concentration levels, requirements for retailers, suggestions for compliance and the possible outcomes of non-compliance when selling hazardous materials online.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-on-licensed-transactions-for-internet-retailers-of-explosives-precursors

SAR AFTER THE CFA 2017

White & Case on 1st June published a briefing on the situation following changes made to suspicious activity reports by the Criminal Finances Act 2017.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/how-confidential-is-a-sar-14257/

SECURITY OFFICER HAS BEEN CONVICTED OF CONSPIRING TO SMUGGLE CLASS A DRUGS THROUGH HEATHROW AIRPORT

An NCA news release on 1st June reported that a security officer has been convicted of conspiring to smuggle Class A drugs through Heathrow Airport, after an NCA investigation.  Officers caught Farhan Iqbal, 31, in the toilets at Terminal 5 taking from a courier who had flown in from Colombia. The drugs had a street value of £480,000.

http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/1376-airport-security-officer-convicted-of-insider-threat-cocaine-conspiracy

VEHICLE CRIME INCREASINGLY LINKED TO OTHER CRIMINAL ACTIVITIES

Interpol on 1st June reported that in recent years, law enforcement agencies have seen a rapid evolution in the global vehicle crime landscape, as well as an increased convergence with other areas of organized crime.  Stolen vehicles are frequently trafficked in order to finance and carry out activities, ranging from drug trafficking, arms dealing, people smuggling and international terrorism. The event highlighted the need for increased cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the private sector in order to share information and technologies, modus operandi and case studies.

https://www.interpol.int/News-and-media/News/2018/N2018-052

VENEZUELA IS HALTING IMPORTS OF CRYPTOCURRENCY MINING EQUIPMENT

Crowdfund Insider on 31st May reported that Venezuelan customs officials have been blocking imports of cryptocurrency mining equipment arriving in the country by land and by sea since April.  GPU and ASIC rigs, related cards and processors, power packs and even mobile phones are reportedly being swept up in the ban.

https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2018/05/134268-venezuela-is-halting-imports-of-cryptocurrency-mining-equipment/

ISRAEL’S LABOR MINISTER TO FACE CHARGES FOR BRIBERY, FRAUD AND BREACH OF TRUST

Baker McKenzie on 1st June reported that Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Haim Katz will be charged with bribery, aggravated fraud and breach of trust pending a hearing, the State Prosecutor’s Office announced.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/israels-labor-minister-to-face-charges-for-bribery-fraud-and-breach-of-trust/

 

UK PROPERTY PROFESSIONALS & UNUSUAL MONEY LAUNDERING CASES

On 29th May, Bright Line Law published an article by Jonathan Fisher QC which discusses the circumstances of 6 unusual money laundering cases arising in the context of estate agents and the UK property market.  These included 3 cases involving PEP. It mentions that the NCA considers the number of suspicious activity reports made by estate agents to be “relatively low” and HMRC has been imposing substantial fines on estate agents for failing to comply with anti-money laundering legislation.  The most serious contravention will involve a failure to spot suspicious circumstances, and the message is clear. Property professionals must keep their eyes peeled not only for obvious signs of money laundering but also for more subtle indications.

https://www.brightlinelaw.co.uk/news/property-professionals-unusual-money-laundering-cases.html

 

UK AMENDS ITS NORTH KOREAN SANCTIONS LISTS

On 1st June, HM Treasury published a Notice saying that  5 entries have been amended and are still subject to an asset freeze and 1 entry has been added, after previously being delisted by EU Regulation 2018/285 – the  Director in the reinsurance department of Korea National Insurance Corporation (KNIC).

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/713239/2018.714_North_Korea.pdf

 

MULTIMILLIONAIRE TAX FRAUD FUGITIVE BACK IN BRITAIN

Asian Image on 1st June reported that Hussain Asad Chohan, 49, a multi-millionaire tax fraud fugitive has been brought back to Britain to serve a lengthy jail term after spending more than 11 years on the run.  He had been ordered to repay £53 million but evaded justice by fleeing to Pakistan in 2006, while standing trial at Birmingham Crown Court for his role in a tobacco-smuggling fraud. He was found living under a false name in Canada and is starting a 12-year prison sentence.

http://www.asianimage.co.uk/news/16264638.-/

 

JERSEY FRAUDSTER JETS AROUND THE WORLD – OWING OVER £60 MILLION

The Jersey Evening Post on 1st June reported that a convicted Jersey fraudster has been living a luxury lifestyle – taking private jets and first-class flights around the world – despite claiming he cannot access any of his accounts to pay back the £65 million he owes UK taxpayers.  It explains that, in 2002, Gerald Smith, the former chief executive of Jersey-registered ORB, was jailed for 8 years by a judge in a London Crown Court after being found guilty of fraudulently obtaining £35 million from a UK IT company. He was subsequently handed a £41 million confiscation order, which has now risen to £65 million because of interest.  Smith has so far paid back £4.8 million, and claims in court documents that he wants to pay off the rest but is unable to do so as his wealth is tied up in ongoing complex legal cases.

https://jerseyeveningpost.com/news/2018/06/01/fraudster-jets-around-the-world–owing-over-60m/

 

UK SUPREME COURT SPLIT ON CONFISCATION

Bartfields Forensic Accountants on 1st June reported that it is perhaps surprising and a little troubling to find in 2018 the UK Supreme Court split 3 – 2 on the application of confiscation legislation which is 15 years old.  The issue was a simple one – but its resolution involved consideration of some fundamental principles of statutory interpretation. When it came to confiscation the prosecution wished to proceed under Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 rather than Criminal Justice Act 1988 confiscation provisions – but should they be permitted to do so?  That was the issue the Supreme Court was tasked to determine. The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 confiscation provisions apply to offences committed after 23rd March 2003. The prosecution had sought to disregard for each defendant the offence committed before 24th March 2003, relying in each case on the benefit from only the 3 later offences and did not seek to invoke the ‘criminal lifestyle’ assumptions against the defendants.  The prosecution won the day and it is now undeniable that the prosecution may opt, in confiscation proceedings, to entirely disregard offences committed before 24th March 2003 in order to proceed under PoCA 2002.

http://www.accountingevidence.com/blog/2018/06/uk-supreme-court-split-on-confiscation/

 

THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT HAS SANCTIONED 14 VENEZUELANS

On 1st June, the European Sanctions Blog reported that Canada had imposed the sanctions In response to the illegitimate and anti-democratic presidential elections held in Venezuela on May 20th.

https://www.canada.ca/en/global-affairs/news/2018/05/canada-imposes-further-sanctions-on-maduro-regime-in-venezuela.html

http://www.international.gc.ca/sanctions/countries-pays/venezuela_regulations-venezuela_reglement.aspx?lang=eng

 

NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANISATIONS (NGO): A GROWING FORCE IN GOVERNANCE

On 30th May, Minter Ellison in the US published an article which says that with the help of traditional and social media, NGO are becoming a growing force in governance.  Companies are advised to monitor NGO activities, and be prepared to respond strategically in order to limit potential costs to their business.  NGO are increasingly targeting companies, advocating on behalf of employees, consumers, supply chain workers, local communities or other corporate stakeholders (including ‘the environment’).  For example, NGO may campaign to improve social justice and equality, to reduce poverty, promote sustainable development, or to protect or promote human (including social and economic) rights.  Another name for these organisations is ‘civil society’, a term used to describe the various groups working in the interest of citizens but operating outside of the government and private sectors.

https://www.minterellison.com/articles/ngos-a-growing-force-in-governance

 

UK PROPERTY PROFESSIONALS & UNUSUAL MONEY LAUNDERING CASES

On 29th May, Bright Line Law published an article by Jonathan Fisher QC which discusses the circumstances of 6 unusual money laundering cases arising in the context of estate agents and the UK property market.  These included 3 cases involving PEP. It mentions that the NCA considers the number of suspicious activity reports made by estate agents to be “relatively low” and HMRC has been imposing substantial fines on estate agents for failing to comply with anti-money laundering legislation.  The most serious contravention will involve a failure to spot suspicious circumstances, and the message is clear. Property professionals must keep their eyes peeled not only for obvious signs of money laundering but also for more subtle indications.

https://www.brightlinelaw.co.uk/news/property-professionals-unusual-money-laundering-cases.html