SUDAN SAYS IT HAS CUT ALL DEFENCE TIES WITH NORTH KOREA
Today Online on 7th June reported that Sudan had said it had cut all defence ties with North Korea, in a rare admission that it used to have such ties in the first place. Sudan remains on the US list of state sponsors of terrorism – alongside Syria and Iran – which means a ban on weapons sales and restrictions on US aid.
NORTH KOREAN ELITES USING IPHONE X DESPITE SANCTIONS
The New Zealand Herald reported on 7th June that North Koreans have obtained iPhones, Microsoft operating systems and US-made server software despite increasingly strict US sanctions in recent years and used some of this technology to help launch cyber attacks on other nations, according to a recently released report by threat intelligence firm Recorded Future.
US STATE DEPARTMENT TO RELEASE NEW VISA RESTRICTIONS ON STUDENTS FROM CHINA
On 6th June, Jackson Lewis published a briefing saying that new restrictions on visas for citizens of China are expected as soon as June 11th. These restrictions, according to an AP report, would target students in high-tech fields such as robotics and aviation. The changes would be part of the Trump Administration’s national security strategy to protect US intellectual property and prevent espionage.
CONNECTICUT MAN CONFESSES TO TRAFFICKING IN ENDANGERED SPERM WHALE TEETH
Zloto News on 7th June reported that John “Jake” Bell, an artist who created works carved from bone admitted that he smuggled dozens of sperm whale teeth worth more than $26,000 into the US. Prosecutors say Bell shipped the teeth from the Ukraine to an associate in Connecticut, where they were collected by the co-conspirator who was convicted in 2010 and sentenced to 33 months in prison. The Endangered Species Act of 1973 prohibits sperm whale parts from being sold or imported without a permit.
MIGRANTS ARE FLYING FROM PARIS TO DUBLIN TO THEN ‘BE SMUGGLED INTO BRITAIN VIA IRISH BORDER’
The Irish Post on 6th June reported on a BBC investigation that revealed that people-smugglers are flying migrants to Dublin to then cross the Irish border and travel onto mainland Britain. It found that illegal immigrants from camps in Calais and Dunkirk are paying at least £10,000 for fake EU passports before being flown from Paris to the Irish capital. They then travel by car over the border into Northern Ireland, take a ferry from Belfast to Glasgow and drive the final leg to London to start a new life in Britain. A people-smuggler has described the so-called “Irish Route” as a “guaranteed way to get into the UK”, because a passport check in Dublin is the only time any ID documents have to be presented.
UNDER US PRESSURE, EIB BALKS AT EU PLAN TO WORK IN IRAN
On 5th June, Yahoo News claimed an exclusive with an article saying that the European Investment Bank has balked at an EU proposal to do business in Iran to help offset US sanctions and save the 2015 nuclear deal, EU sources told Reuters, under pressure from the US – where the bank raises much of its funds.
WITH NUCLEAR DEAL UNDER THREAT, IRAN SHOWS OFF CENTRIFUGES
The Washington Post on 7th June carried an article saying that the star of a live TV interview in Iran’s new nuclear workshop wasn’t the head of the country’s atomic agency, but 3 centrifuges labelled in English in the background, advanced devices Tehran is prohibited from using by the nuclear deal with world powers. Iran mothballed much of its centrifuges, the devices it uses to enrich uranium by rapidly spinning uranium hexafluoride gas. The new ones are said to be far more efficient than those mothballed.
EUROPE ASKS US FOR AN EXEMPTION FROM SANCTIONS ON IRAN
The New York Times on 6th June reported that in a letter to senior Trump administration officials, European foreign and finance leaders tacitly acknowledged that their efforts to preserve the West’s nuclear deal with Iran were failing. European leaders cited “security interests” in requesting that companies in Europe be granted an exemption from US sanctions that would be imposed as a result of President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the pact.
JERSEY: LOBSTER BARON’S MILLIONS CAUGHT IN THE NET
Baker & Partners on 5th June published an article about a recent court judgment that casts light on the Island’s conviction-based confiscation regime at a time when the States of Jersey is said to be busy sharpening the claws of Jersey’s investigatory and prosecutorial authorities in relation to its civil, non-conviction based, asset forfeiture framework. The judgment contains an interesting tale of a cross-border, multi-million dollar criminal conspiracy involving South African rock lobster, Patagonian toothfish, bribery and smuggling. The article says that the judgment highlights some of the difficulties facing the Jersey Court when seeking to balance the interests of an overseas jurisdiction in safeguarding and recovering the proceeds of crime and the interests of persons holding property not to have such property frozen without good cause.
PHILIPPINE POLICE ARREST NEARLY 500 PEOPLE INVOLVED IN ONLINE FRAUD
Premium Times on 7th June reported that Philippine police have arrested almost 500 people, including some foreigners, allegedly involved in an online multi-million investment fraud that had victimised people overseas, including in Australia, Russia and South Africa. The suspects were operating under the guise of a call centre in Clark Freeport, north of Manila, but actually defrauding victims for over 2 years. Israeli media reported those arrested included 8 Israelis, saying that 474 Filipinos and 8 Israelis were arrested in a raid on 3 buildings in the former US Air Force facility Clark Freeport.
EU LOSES €60 BILLION ANNUALLY TO COUNTERFEITS
EurActiv on 7th June carried an article saying that a study by the EU’s Intellectual Property Office showed that revenue losses generated by counterfeiting in Europe remain high. According to EUIPO and OECD estimates, counterfeit products represent 5% of imports in the EU or €85 billion per year. The article says that measures to tackle counterfeit imports are still weak compared to the size of the issue. According to figures published by the Commission in 2016, customs authorities seized around 41 million counterfeit goods. The total value of the equivalent authentic products is estimated at just above €672 million. One cause for concern since counterfeit drugs can be very dangerous for consumers. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every year 700,000 deaths are caused by the use of counterfeit drugs.
LEVEL OF CORRUPTION IN BELGIUM HAS DOUBLED IN 6 YEARS
The Brussels Times on 7th June reported that 20% of Belgian executives have been confronted with fraudulent practice during the last 2 years, according to a survey conducted by the EY consultancy agency. Out of the 55 countries, only Ukraine (36%) and Kenya (26%) did worse than Belgium. With this 20% ratio, Belgium stands far above the 11% average. Corruption is thus twice as high in Belgium as in Western Europe (10%).
JAIL SENTENCE HANDED OUT IN ONE OF TAHITI’S BIGGEST TAX FRAUD CASE
Radio New Zealand on 7th June reported that the criminal court in French Polynesia has given a 6-year jail sentence to Thierry Pageau, who has also been fined $US 1 million and banned from running a business for life for defrauding the authorities with fake transactions to benefit from a French tax refund law in a scheme that netted $20 million between 2005 and 2010.. A total of 13 people were tried over the fraud including a former minister, Clarenntz Vernaudon, who has been given a 3-year prison term of which 18 months are suspended. The report also notes that 2 months ago he received another suspended sentence for abuse of public funds. https://www.radionz.co.nz/news/pacific/359140/jail-sentence-handed-out-in-one-of-tahiti-s-biggest-tax-fraud-case
EU STARTS FORMAL PROBE OF MALTA AML AGENCY OVER PILATUS BANK
On 7th June, Reuters reported that the European Banking Authority said it has opened a formal investigation into “shortcomings” over how Malta’s Financial Intelligence Analysis Unit (FIAU) enforced AML rules at Pilatus bank.
WHO’S WHO OF THE ANGLO TRIALS: THE CONVICTED AND THE ACQUITTED IN THE DAVID DRUMM CASE
The Irish Times on 7th June reported that the David Drumm trial was the 6th criminal action taken against executives of the bank since the collapse of the Anglo-Irish Bank in 2009.
DRAFT UK LEGISLATION: VAT REVERSE CHARGE FOR CONSTRUCTION SERVICES
On 7th June, HMRC launched a consultation on draft legislation that will make supplies of standard or reduced rated construction services (‘specified supplies’) between construction or building businesses subject to the domestic reverse charge, meaning that the customer will be liable to account for VAT due, instead of the supplier. The legislation will not apply to specified supplies made to customers who are consumers, or to those that use specified supplies to make other supplies, such as those selling new houses. The legislation would take effect from October 2019.
CNBC on 7th June carried a feature saying that synthetic-identity fraud is one the fastest-growing forms of identity theft in the US, according to the DoJ. Criminals use a concoction of disparate data — including Social Security numbers, names and addresses — to create a fake identity with “his” or “her” own credit file. Credit reporting agency Equifax said the crime has “become the predominant tactic for fraudsters” and synthetic fraud balances rose by 68% between 2015 and 2016, according to TransUnion, another credit reporting agency .