SWITZERLAND: INTRODUCTION OF A FORMAL AUTHORISATION REQUIREMENT FOR EXPORTS OF CHEMICALS TO SYRIA
On 5th June, MME Legal Tax Compliance reported that after questions were raised over what was said to be a legitimate export of isopropanol to Syria in 2014, on 1st June, the Federal Council adopted an amendment to the Ordinance on Sanctions against Syria to clarify and formalise the authorisation processes with regard to certain chemicals, materials and other goods.
COUNTERFEITING OF PRODUCTS NOW BIG INDUSTRY IN INDIA, SAYS BENGAL MINISTER
New Kerala.com on 6th June reported that counterfeiting of products have become a “big industry” in India that is impacting the consumers as well as the revenue earned by the governments, according to a senior West Bengal minister, urging the police and state agencies to be more vigilant to curb such practices. Products like tea and cigarette of all the big brands are being counterfeited, he claimed, and that that counterfeit products such as tea, cream etc were finding its way to the retail market in the guise of branded products owing to their low prices while products like ganja, cigarettes and fake notes were being smuggled in from neighbouring countries.
PHILIPPINES TO DEPORT BRITISH INVOLVED IN SWINDLING, MONEY LAUNDERING
The Inquirer on 6th June reported that Calvin John Ashworth, a 24-year-old British national who was reportedly involved in large-scale internet fraud and money laundering activities in the UK was caught hiding in the Philippines for nearly 3 years. He was arrested at the request of the NCA, it was reported. The Ainsworth brothers became fugitives after fleeing to the Philippines in September 2015, just after they were released on bail by a British court.
ARGENTINA CHARGES PABLO ESCOBAR’S WIDOW AND SON WITH MONEY LAUNDERING
Today Online on 6th June reported that an Argentine judge has charged the widow and son of the late Colombian drug trafficker Pablo Escobar with money laundering. Maria Isabel Santos Caballero and Juan Sebastian Marroquin Santos, who both live in Argentina, are accused of laundering money obtained through drug trafficking. They will remain free while the case proceeds although some of their assets were frozen.
SUSPECTED INTERNATIONAL MONEY LAUNDERER ARRESTED IN BRITISH COLUMBIA TO BE DEPORTED TO AUSTRALIA
The Vancouver Sun on 5th June reported that Dan Bai Shun Jin, 55, was found to be not admissible to be in Canada because he had outstanding warrants for passing about $1.4 million in bad cheques at several casinos in Las Vegas dating back to 2014. He did not declare those charges in entering Canada. The newspaper also said that Canadian authorities were concerned about multiple investigations in several countries, including Australia and the US alleging that Jin is likely to be involved in large scale illegal casino-based money laundering in Australia, the US, Macau and Singapore. Part of the Australian investigation centres around Jin gambling about $850 million at a casino in Melbourne between 2005 and 2013.
NORTH KOREA’S ILLEGAL WEAPONS TRADE – THE PROLIFERATION THREAT FROM PYONGYANG
On 6th June, Foreign Affairs [free registration] carried an article on North Korea’s export of conventional weapons, using supplies to Syria and Iran as examples. It says that relations go back to the 1960s, when both countries were part of the Soviet sphere of influence. North Korean pilots took part in the Six-Day War and Yom Kippur War, and North Korean special forces trained Syrian troops in guerrilla warfare. It points out that North Korea has been a major supplier of conventional weapons to Damascus, as well as ballistic missiles since the 1990s – shipped in parts and assembled locally. It also touches upon assistance in the Syrian chemical weapons programme. The article says that North korea has used sealed diplomatic shipments and foreign front companies to avoid interdiction. Iran is a major purchaser of North Korean conventional weapons. The article points out that Iran’s Ghadir-class submarine, for instance, appears to be an exact replica of a North Korean submarine called the Yeono.
TRACE PODCAST – PROBLEMS WITH US CAMPAIGN FINANCE
In a further TRACE podcast on 6th June, Senator Russ Feingold discusses McCain-Feingold, Citizens United and the vast, opaque sums involved in US politics today.
IRAN’S HEGEMONIC QUEST
Cipher Brief on 6th June published an article saying that the Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization is putting the IAEA on notice that Tehran is likely to begin producing centrifuges that are used to enrich uranium, saying that the move does not violate the JCPOA, which allows Tehran to build the parts needed to enrich uranium, but Iran is not allowed to put centrifuges into operation. To understand what this means, the article says, it’s important to note Iran’s hegemonic quest and how this move could be moving Tehran closer to its broader regional goals.
IRANIAN NUCLEAR CHIEF SAYS CENTRIFUGE FACILITY TO BE COMPLETED IN A MONTH
Rferl on 6th June also reported that Iran says a facility to build advanced centrifuges will be completed in a month at its Natanz nuclear center, as Tehran prepares to increase its uranium-enrichment capacity if a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world power collapses after the US exit.
EX-BOSS OF BAILED-OUT ANGLO IRISH BANK GUILTY OF FRAUD
France 24 and others reported on 6th June that David Drumm, 51, had been found guilty of conspiring to inflate deposits in the bank by € 7.2 billion in 2008, at the start of the crisis which would see Anglo Irish taken into government hands.
TANZANIA CHARGES TELECOMS EXECUTIVES WITH FRAUD IN TAX EVASION CRACKDOWN
Reuters on 6th June reported that 2 chief executives of mobile phone companies and 4 other suspects have been charged with fraud as part of a crackdown against tax evasion. The executives were from Halotel Tanzania, owned by Vietnam-based telecoms operator Viettel, and Zantel, acquired by Millicom International Cellular in 2015 from Etisalt of the UAE.
OLAF REPORTS CASES OF FRAUD AT BULGARIAN CUSTOMS OFFICES
The BTA Bulgarian News Agency on 6th June reported that the European Anti-fraud Office (OLAF) has published its 2017 Report, which describes cases of fraud at 2 Bulgarian customs offices. The apparent frauds involved transit operations initiated in various Member States, such as Poland, Hungary, Germany, France, Lithuania and Slovakia.
WHAT INDUSTRY LEADERS REALLY THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR CONTAINER TRANSPORT
On 6th June, BIFA reported on a comprehensive report into the global container transport industry authored by TT Club and McKinsey. The aim was to gain a qualitative insight into the perceptions and confidence of the people who have greatest experience in the industry and are best placed to predict the sector’s future. These included Board Members of TT Club, but importantly other supply chain professionals, financial intermediaries, law firms, and disruptors and innovators.
EU AMENDS VARIOUS ENTRIES ON IRAN SANCTIONS LISTS
EU Regulation 2018/827/EU mad amendment to various entries on its Iran sanctions lists and which take effect from 7th June. See also Council Decision 2018/833/CFSP.
VENEZUELA FREES CHEVRON EXECUTIVES HELD SINCE APRIL
Reuters on 6th June reported that Venezuela has released 2 local executives of US oil major Chevron Corp jailed since mid-April during a corruption probe in the oil sector, authorities and sources said.
CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION LAUNCHED INTO SAMOAN TOP CIVIL SERVANT
Radio New Zealand on 6th June reported that police in Samoa have launched an investigation following a complaint alleging corrupt practises by the chief executive of a state entity.
UK BARS INDIAN BANK FROM TAKING DEPOSITS OVER COMPLIANCE FAILURES
On 6th June, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FCA said it had barred the UK branch of an Indian bank, Canara Bank, which is based in Bangalore,
from taking deposits from new customers due to long-running failures in its AML compliance programme following repeated warnings. The bank was also fined £890,000 by the FCA.
4 LEADERS OF AN INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE SMUGGLING NETWORK GIVEN COMBINED JAIL SENTENCES TOTALLING MORE THAN 1,400 YEARS IN GREECE
An NCA news release on 6th June reported that the investigation followed the rescue of 112 migrants in a joint operation involving the Hellenic Police, Hellenic Coastguard and NCA in March 2017. The men, women and children from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Iran were found living in squalid conditions in caves and farm buildings in southern Crete.
TRIAL AGAINST 34 “THIEVES-IN-LAW” GANG MEMBERS STARTS IN FRANCE
OCCRP on 6th June reported that dozens of Georgian gang members and 4 mafia bosses with ties to major Caucasus gangs faced charges of being involved in an organized crime group, money laundering and criminal conspiracy. The 30 men and 4 women on trail are alleged members of the Tbilisi clan that operated around Strasbourg under the guidance of Kakhaber “Kakha” Shushanashvili and his brother Lasha. The gang mostly made money by stealing luxury items such as watches, cosmetics, perfumes, glasses, computers and phones in shops and shopping centers across Alsace, Germany and Switzerland.
SMUGGLED DENTAL TOOLS SEIZED BY CUSTOMS AND BORDER OFFICERS AT BULGARIAN BORDER CHECKPOINT
Bulgarian Customs on 6th June reported that 1792 pieces of contraband dental instruments were seized during a check by customs and border officers at Malko Tarnovo border checkpoint. Undeclared medical devices, said to be bought in Turkey, were found in hand luggage of a passenger in a bus with a Bulgarian registration.
THE CAMEROON ANGLOPHONE CRISIS
On 6th June, a House of Commons Library briefing paper updated the position in Cameroon. Relations between the largely Anglophone regions of Cameroon and the country’s dominant Francophone elite have long been fraught. Over the past 3 years, tensions have escalated seriously and since October 2017 violent conflict has erupted between armed separatist groups and the security forces, with both sides being accused of committing human rights abuses.
INDIA TO FURTHER S-400 MISSILE ACQUISITION TALKS WITH RUSSIA DESPITE US SANCTIONS
Janes.com on 6th June reported that India has declared its intention to disregard recent US sanctions against Russia and further the acquisition of 5 Russian S-400 Triumf self-propelled surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems.
CHEMICAL WEAPONS WATCHDOG TO HOLD EMERGENCY MEETING ON RISING NUMBER OF CHEMICAL ATTACKS
Defence Web on 6th June reported that Members of the world’s chemical weapons watchdog see an alarming rise in the use of the banned weapons and will hold an emergency meeting this month on the subject, with an emergency meeting of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on June 26th/27th.
HUNDREDS OF SUSPECTED STEEL SMUGGLERS ARRESTED IN CHINA DURING MAJOR CUSTOMS CRACKDOWN
Insight Crime on 6th June reported that Customs officials in China have detained 245 people on suspicion of being members of a scrap steel smuggling ring that is said to have illegally sold more than 2.4 million metric tons of metal to buyers across SE Asia. A network of fraudsters are said to have been shipping large quantities of scrap metal out of the country without paying a 40% export duty. The high tariff was put in place to encourage businesses to recycle scrap steel as opposed to selling it overseas. According to the article, shipments of scrap steel originating from China rose from close to nothing in 2016 to around 2.2 million tons last year after the government launched a crackdown on illegal plants using scrap to make poor-quality steel, citing customs data.