14th June 2018
2 CYBERSECURITY COMPANIES WITH LINKS TO ISRAEL PLACED ON US BLACKLIST
C Tech on 13th June reported that the US Treasury placed sanctions on a number of individuals and companies, including 2 with links to Israel, that are accused of providing Russia’s intelligence agency, the FSB, with offensive cyber technology. The Israeli-linked companies, Embedi and ERPScan BV, deny having worked for Moscow and neither is licensed by Israel’s Defense Export Control Agency, the Israeli Ministry of Defense told Calcalist. The man behind the entities is said to be Ilia Medvedowski, a Russian national.
ITALIAN COURT SAYS GETTY’S PRIZED ANCIENT BRONZE SHOULD BE SEIZED
The Straits Times on 13th June reported that an Italian court has ruled that a Greek statue, said to have been found in the open waters of the Adriatic by Italian fishermen, now standing in the Getty Villa, a museum in Los Angeles, should be seized as it was exported without the necessary export licence. The statue was discovered submerged in a shipwreck in 1964 by fishermen from Fano, a town on the Italian coast. The article reports that a 1939 Italian law that says Italy owns any antiquity discovered on its territory and that any ancient work to be shipped out of the country requires a government export license, but Getty maintained that the work’s discovery in the sea puts it outside Italy’s jurisdiction – and several judges in Italy have, in various rulings, agreed or disagreed with that position.
MALTA: DRUG SMUGGLING GANG CLEARED 17 YEARS LATER, FOR NOT HAVING LAWYER DURING INTERROGATION
Malta Today on 13th June reported that 8 people have been acquitted of involvement in 2001 drug-smuggling conspiracy. A court has acquitted 8 people of drug smuggling, in a case dating back 17 years, laying the blame squarely at the feet of governments who refused to introduce the right to a lawyer during interrogation. They were acquitted due to lack of evidence after much of it was declared inadmissible due to subsequent legal developments. They were allegedly part of a group of 19 persons who allegedly made up a drug-trafficking ring co-ordinated from prison, where 4 were at the time serving time.
2 FOREIGN SHIPS FINED FOR SMUGGLING DIESEL OFF VIETNAM COAST, FUEL SEIZED
VNE Express on 13th June reported that 2 foreign ships – one registered in Singapore and an unnamed one with a Chinese captain – were caught smuggling diesel oil in waters off the Vietnamese coast have been fined and the fuel confiscated. 2 months ago, coast guard forces spotted the Singaporean ship, Pacific Ocean, which was carrying around 5 million litres of diesel oil without proper papers and transferring the fuel to an unnamed vessel with a Chinese captain around 45 nautical miles northeast of Vietnam’s central coast. The Pacific Ocean was also carrying 17 crew members without identity papers when it was captured. Fuel smuggling is said to be common along the coast, and between 2013 and 2015, Vietnamese forces seized about 21.3 million tons of illegal fuel.
EL SALVADOR EX-PRESIDENT FUNES’ HAD TRASH BAGS FULL OF MONEY
Insight Crime on 13th June carried an article referring to” a litany of accusations against former President Mauricio Funes and his relatives along with millions of dollars transferred in trash bags”. It claims that a member of the corruption network allegedly headed by former Salvadoran President Mauricio Funes during his 2009 to 2014 term would arrive at a state bank, fill up big black trash bags with thousands of dollars in cash and then drive them to the presidential residence. Funes and his network are accused of embezzling $351 million, an amount equivalent to nearly 1.5% of the country’s GDP in 2017, or about 7% of the government’s 2017 budget. 32 arrest warrants have been issued – including for Funes, his former private and communications secretaries, administrative personnel from his administration, the head of Banco Hipotecario, Funes’ partner and her parents, as well as his ex-wife and 2 sons. 27 of the suspects are accused of money laundering, while 2 are accused of obstruction of justice.
HMRC GUIDANCE ON IDENTIFYING WHO IS AN ENABLER OF TAX AVOIDANCE
On 6th June, RPC issued an article saying that on 30th April HMRC published Guidance that seeks to explain what makes an individual an enabler of tax avoidance under paragraph 7 of Schedule 16 to the Finance (No 2) Act 2017. The Guidance also explains how information which is subject to legal privilege should be dealt with.
LESSONS LEARNED FROM SOCIÉTÉ GÉNÉRALE AND LEGG MASON FCPA RESOLUTION OF LIBYA BRIBERY ALLEGATIONS
On 12th June, Jenner & Block in the US published an article about the US DoJ Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) settlements with the two institutions arising out of a multi-year bribery scheme involving bribes to Libyan officials. It says that there are a number of lessons to be learned from the case, including that DoJ highlights severity and scope of conduct in assessing culpability and appropriate fine.
A MODERN SLAVERY ACT FOR AUSTRALIA
On 7th June, Gilbert & Tobin published an article following an announcement in May that the Federal Government is to introduce a Modern Slavery Act in Australia by mid-2018. The proposed Act will require entities above a consolidated revenue threshold of $100 million to report on modern slavery risks in their global supply chains.
The Australian Department of Home Affairs has produced a factsheet which is available at –
ENRC SUES SFO OVER ‘WHISTLEBLOWER FAILURES’
The Law Society Gazette on 14th June reported that the mining company at the centre of a row over legal professional privilege and corruption allegations has called for an independent inquiry into the SFO, accusing the office of failing to investigate a whistleblower’s letter. It said the SFO has admitted that it received, but failed to properly investigate, allegations it was sent 6 years ago.
OPCW CONFIRMS USE OF SARIN AND CHLORINE IN LTAMENAH, SYRIA, ON 24TH AND 25TH MARCH 2017
On 13th June, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons confirmed that sarin was very likely used as a chemical weapon in Syria, on 24th March 2017, and that chlorine was very likely used as a chemical weapon at Ltamenah Hospital and the surrounding area in Syria on 25th March 2017.
PAKISTAN PROBES 2 FORMER PRIME MINISTERS OVER GRAFT
On 13th June, OCCRP reported that Pakistan’s anti-graft agency has approved an investigation into 2 former prime ministers, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Nawaz Sharif, over allegations of violating the rules when awarding a liquid natural gas (LNG) contract.
AML REGULATION OF CRYPTOCURRENCY: US AND GLOBAL APPROACHES
On 12th June, law firm Allen & Overy republished a comprehensive article originally found in The International Comparative Legal Guide to Anti-Money Laundering, a practical legal update guide.
FRANCE “FLOODED” WITH COCAINE FROM GUIANA AS TRAFFICKERS EXPLOIT “BACK DOOR TO EUROPE”
The Telegraph on 9th June reported that France is being “flooded” with cocaine as dozens of drug ‘mules’ arrive daily in Paris on passenger flights from Guiana, a French territory in South America. After landing in Paris, some of the drugs are then transported to the UK and other European countries, notably the Netherlands, according to French police. Police and customs officials at Orly airport say they are “overwhelmed” by the steep rise in the number of smugglers boarding domestic flights to Paris from Cayenne, French Guiana, since 2015. Guiana is part of France but suffers from poverty, lawlessness and high youth unemployment.
CRIMINAL ASSETS BUREAU RAIDS MOTOR DEALERSHIP IN WEST DUBLIN AND SEIZES 10 SUV
The Irish Mirror on 13th June reported that a suspected organised crime gang with links to the motor trade and a family-run motor dealership in west Dublin have been raided by detectives. Gardai believe that the family-based gang were behind a massive €1 million cocaine seizure in 2014 and a €4.9 million heroin and €280,000 cash bust in 2015 that turned up sub-machine guns and handguns.
CUSTOMS INTERCEPTS 200 CONTAINER VANS OF SMUGGLED RICE AT MANILA PORT
UNTV on 14th June reported that the Bureau of Customs (BOC) reported that the agency has intercepted 200 container vans loaded with a total of 100,000 sacks of smuggled rice at the Manila International Container Port in the first week of June. The rice is said to have come from Vietnam under the consignee, Sta. Rosa Farm Products Corporation.
FORMER ROLLS-ROYCE ENGINEER ARRESTED AMID FEARS CHINA TRIED TO OBTAIN F-35 FIGHTER JET DETAILS
The Telegraph reported on 14th June that man in his 70s has been arrested as part of a probe under the Official Secrets Act amid reports he was a former Rolls-Royce engineer suspected of divulging secrets about Britain’s new stealth fighter to China. He was named by the Sun as Bryn Jones, a former chief combustion technologist.
IMPACT OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION ON HUMAN RIGHTS
On 14th June, the Council of Europe announced a new resource, a new interactive website highlighting the positive impact of the European Convention on Human Rights across the continent.
IRANIAN FISHERMEN RELEASED BY SOMALI PIRATES
Defence Web on 14th June reported that Somali pirates have released four Iranian fishermen captured 3 years ago in international waters. The fishermen were apparently released after an operation carried out with the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Iranian Foreign Ministry.
ECJ CONFIRMS THAT THE FUND-FREEZING MEASURES IMPOSED ON RAMI MAKHLOUF, COUSIN OF PRESIDENT BASHAR AL-ASSAD, SHOULD BE MAINTAINED
A news release from the Court of Justice of the EU on 14th June reported that since 2011 the EU has included Mr Rami Makhlouf on the list of persons covered by the restrictive measures adopted against Syria. He has therefore been refused entry to or transit through the territory of the Member States of the EU, while his funds and economic resources have been frozen. He brought an action before the General Court for annulment of the decision to maintain his listing for the period from 29th May 2016 to 31st May 2017. The General Court dismissed his action and confirmed that the restrictive measures imposed on him for that period were to be maintained, but he brought an appeal before the Court of Justice, asking that the General Court’s judgment be set aside. That appeal has now been rejected.
IS ANOTHER BOKO HARAM OR AL-SHABAAB ERUPTING IN MOZAMBIQUE?
Defence Web on 14th June posed this question in an article following a sudden upsurge in brutal violence in northern Mozambique. Those allegedly responsible for the attacks apparently call themselves Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jamâ (often abbreviated to al-Sunnah) and local people call them al-Shabaab – though the group does not seem to be affiliated to its Somali namesake. The article asks – has full-blown violent Islamist extremism arrived in Mozambique, and indeed in southern Africa? Or are these just poor, marginalised locals presenting ordinary crimes as something else? Or are they perhaps the Mozambican National Resistance (Renamo) in disguise? Or, even more cynically, are mercenaries deliberately stoking violence to win a lucrative contract to protect the natural gas industry? The article says that members are trained both locally – sometimes by disaffected police officers and security guards – and externally in Tanzania and the Great Lakes Region by militia chiefs hired by al-Shabaab in Tanzania, Kenya and Somalia. It says that there are fears that without proper intervention, al-Sunnah could go the way of Boko Haram.
IATA ACKNOWLEDGES IT HAS A ROLE IN COMBATTING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
On 14th June, Defence Web carried an article saying that the International Air Transport Association (IATA) acknowledges that the global air transport system can be criminally exploited for the illegal trafficking of people. Although the responsibility for identifying, apprehending and prosecuting those perpetrating human trafficking rests with governments and national law enforcement agencies, the airline industry recognises it can play an important role in helping to prevent this crime. A resolution denouncing human trafficking was passed at the last IATA annual general meeting. The resolution also reaffirmed airlines’ commitment to a number of actions to fight human trafficking. These include sharing of best practices, staff training and reporting. It reports that IATA is also working with airports and other stakeholders in the air transport sector to raise awareness on human trafficking and share guidance material, including the ‘recognise and report’ practice.
See also –
EU COMMISSIONER: MALTA HAS AML ‘GAPS’ AND EU BANKING AUTHORITY SHOULD INVESTIGATE FIAU
Malta Today on 14th June reported that EU Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova has said she is “very worried” about how events regarding Pilatus Bank have unfolded, saying that this highlighted the challenges Malta is facing in applying the EU AML rules, which she feels has certain “gaps”. Jourova also had stern words to say regarding Malta’s sale of citizenship scheme.
US WANTS KENYA TO CRACK DOWN ON ILLEGAL INVESTMENTS BY SOUTH SUDAN’S ELITE
Quartz media on 14th June reported that the US Treasury’s Undersecretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence urged Kenyan officials to assist US probes into South Sudanese officials, including those targeting South Sudan president Salva Kiir and his former deputy Riek Machar. He said South Sudanese individuals on the US sanctions list continue to invest in Kenya’s real estate. Kenya represents a key entry point into the international financial system for South Sudan. Along with Uganda, it remains a preferred destination to stash assets.
EU COURT ON UKRAINE SANCTIONS HISTORIC LISTINGS REVIEWED
On 14th June, the European Sanctions Blog reported on 2 recent ECJ cases where –
- it annulled the listing of Olena Lukash (current Ukraine politician, former Minister of Justice), although she is no longer listed – the EU having decided in March 2018 not to extend her listing when it came for renewal; and
- it annulled the relisting of Sergei Arbuzov (former Prime Minister of Ukraine). However, he was relisted once more in March 2018 and that listing remains in force.
The Court had previously annulled Arbuzov’s listing due to insufficient justification, but then relisted him again in March 2017 as there was evidence that he was then subject to criminal proceedings by the Ukrainian authorities for the misappropriation of public funds or assets. The latest development does not affect his relisting once more in March 2018.
RAIDS IN BANGKOK YIELD 60,000 COUNTERFEIT TRAVEL MUGS
The Nation in Thailand on 14th June reported that some 60,000 plastic coffee cups, tumblers and mugs bearing brand name logos have been confiscated from wholesale manufacturers and warehouses for intellectual property law violation. The counterfeit items, to be supplied to distributors in Bangkok’s Sampheng Market. 9 suspects were arrested on charges of possessing with the intent to sell and distribute counterfeit goods and violating others’ intellectual property rights. The mugs carried such logos as those of Manchester United, Liverpool Football Club, Starbucks and Harley Davidson.
AUDITOR GENERAL: KENYA CORRUPTION THREATENS TO ENGULF GOVERNMENT
On 14th June, Baker McKenzie reported that the Auditor General has told Reuters that high-level corruption across all levels of government in Kenya threatens the integrity and basic functioning of the state. Kenyan media have reported on dozens of graft scandals involving public officers conspiring to steal from state coffers since President Uhuru Kenyatta took office in 2013, and some officials have been tried, but none have been convicted.
FRENCH HIPSTER ADMITS TO BEING DARK WEB DRUGS KINGPIN ‘OXYMONSTER’ IN US COURT
Illicit Trade on 14th June reported that a bearded Frenchman, Gal Vallerius, 36, who was arrested when he travelled to the US to participate in a facial hair-growing competition is facing a lengthy prison sentence after he confessed to being dark web drug dealer “Oxymonster”. He is accused of selling illegal substances including cocaine, crack, fentanyl, methamphetamine, LSD, Ritalin and oxycodone to users all over the world on his Dream Market criminal ecommerce site.