26th June 2018
VENEZUELA: ANTI-CORRUPTION PROBE COUNTERS GOLD SMUGGLING IN STATE-RUN CORPORATION
Venezuelan Analysis on 25th June reported on further arrests – of the vice-president of the state-run General Mining Company of Venezuela (MINERVEN). Reportedly, the arrest allegedly prevented 2.5 tonnes of gold from being smuggled out of Venezuela. The head of business for private sector firm Tesoro de Dios Investment in El Callo, was also detained as part of the same investigation. MINERVEN groups numerous micro-mining firms and forms part of the state-run Venezuelan Corporation of Guyana.
LIBYA: COPPER AND SCRAP METAL SMUGGLERS’ DEN BUSTED IN SIRTE
The Libya Observer on 25th June reported that the Sirte Security Force said it had seized large quantities of copper wires and scrap iron estimated at 35 tonnes, in addition to 7 rolls of electric cables at a farm. The metal was allegedly being used by gangs to store stolen copper and scrap metal, which will then be smuggled on and out of Libya.
KENYA BANKERS ASSOCIATION TIGHTENS RULES FOR HIGH VALUE TRANSACTIONS AS WAR ON GRAFT HOTS UP
The Standard on 25th June reported that a circular issued by Kenya Bankers Association (KBA) governing council to all member banks and copied to Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), some over the counter cash transactions will require customers to give a 3-day written notice before being allowed to move money, are meant to support CBK’s circulars on money laundering to help step up efforts to curb graft through financial sector. Under the new rules, any cash transactions on a single day of between Sh1 million ($10,000) to Sh10 million ($100,000) will require approval of branch manager while that between Sh10 million and Sh20 million ($200,000) will have to be given greenlights by regional branch manager or senior manager. Furthermore, to transact over Sh20 million in cash on a single day, customers will require approval from head of branch banking or director for the transaction to be completed, the KBA opting for daily limits for smaller amounts as opposed to per-transaction rules
HONG KONG UPDATES ITS NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS LAWS
Regulation Asia reports that on 22nd June, the Hong Kong government released a long-awaited amendment to its United Nations Sanctions (Democratic People’s Republic of Korea) Regulation and meant to plug a tanker-sized gap in Hong Kong’s sanctions laws by giving effect to 5 UN Security Council Resolutions adopted since March 2016. 6 months after the issuance of UN SCR 2397 on 22nd December 2017, and about 3½ years since the Regulation’s last update in December 2014. The Hong Kong government highlighted its efforts to tighten its North Korea regulations as part of its national AML/CFT risk assessment, published in April 2018, ahead of a high-stakes mutual evaluation by the FATF scheduled for later this year – and described in the article as being “tricky”.
CHRISTMAS TREE FARM OWNERS, OTHERS INDICTED IN $400 MILLION COMPOUND PHARMACY FRAUD SCHEME IN US
On 25th June, the Hattiesburg American in the US reported that the owners of Thomley’s Christmas tree farm in Hattiesburg and 2 others have been indicted on multiple charges in connection to the $400 million compound pharmacy scheme. They are accused of conspiring and engaging in a scheme to defraud health care insurance companies of more than $200 million, allegedly fraudulently formulating, marketing, prescribing and billing for compound medications produced and dispensed by pharmacies in south Mississippi.
HOW TO “FOLLOW THE MONEY” TO STOP IUU
Seafood Source on 25th June reported that illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing (IUU) is a scourge of the seafood industry and, by some estimates, a trade worth $23 billion annually. However, there are increasingly ways of using modern traceability technology to trace IUU culprits and hold them to account through their investors and banks. The threat of being dropped from a fund – and public reportage of this – is a powerful source of leverage. This is according to a representative of the Norwegian Pension Fund, speaking at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Barcelona, who also says that it asks for information on vessels, fishing rights, sourcing, and management systems to try to stem IUU. IUU has moved up the agenda of investors worried about being connected to a reputational risk, according to financial crime specialist, Rob Lake, also mentioning the use of slave labour, such as allegedly in the Thai tuna industry. It was said that IUU is a risk to the supply chain, hence a risk to investors, but lenders like banks can also face pressure from IUU campaigners. The report says that the increasing focus on money laundering in recent years meanwhile creates an opportunity for the anti-IUU fight. In fact, it says, the links between fishery and crime (drug dealers, smugglers using trawlers) has led to the establishment of a fishery crime section at the Norwegian police force.
ABLV BANK SELF-LIQUIDATION IN LATVIA COMES WITH RISK
The state broadcaster in Latvia, LSM, reported on 25th June that there is risk of losing evidence in a $102.3 million money laundering case, according to Delna, the Latvian office of Transparency International. In one example, Hermitage Capital Management (Hermitage) – the former employer of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky – asked Latvian authorities on June 21st to investigate money laundering through ABLV Bank. Latvia’s financial regulator, the Financial and Capital Market Commission (FKTK) announced June 12th it had decided to allow ABLV bank to undergo a process of self-liquidation – 3 months after ABLV made an application to do so in the wake of money-laundering allegations by the US financial authorities.
CONSULTATION OPENS INTO ISLE OF MAN CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM
ITV News on 25th June reported that the Isle of Man Government has launched a consultation on changes to approach of criminal justice, sentencing and the management of offenders. 3 draft Bills are under discussion: Criminal Justice, Police and Courts (Amendment) Bill, Diversion of Offenders and Domestic Abuse Bill and the Council of Ministers (Amendment) Bill. They are said to represent the first in a series aimed at updating Manx law in response to the Criminal Justice Strategy, reflecting more accurately the needs of modern society and increasing the use of technology to create a more efficient system. The Diversion of Offenders and Domestic Abuse Bill makes provision for the wider use of interventions such as cautions, anti-social behaviour orders and immediate financial penalties.
COURT ALLOWS A MERGER BETWEEN AN ENGLISH COMPANY AND THE LUXEMBOURG COMPANY WHICH IT CREATED TO CREATE AN SE
Clyde & Co on 15th June published an article about a case where an English company underwriting (re)insurance from its office in London and its branches across Europe wished to prepare for Brexit by becoming a Societas Europaea (SE). An SE is a European public limited company which can be created in any EEA state and must be treated as if it is a public limited company. The English company set up a new company, incorporated in Luxembourg, with the intention that it will merge with the Luxembourg company to become an SE.
THIRD PARTY DISCLOSURE ORDER OBTAINED FROM HMRC IN THE COMMERCIAL COURT
On 21st June, Quadrant Chambers published an article asking what happens when an alleged fraudster pays tax on money which the claimant alleges is trust money belonging to the claimant? Can the claimant seek disclosure from HMRC, including with a view to asserting proprietary claims over the money held by HMRC? In the case under consideration, and having obtained numerous freezing and disclosure orders, the claimant obtained disclosure of a defendant’s bank statements. These revealed payments to HMRC which, the claimant claimed, were wrongly based on “income” the defendant had received. The claimant sought disclosure of the tax records pursuant to the Court’s equitable jurisdiction in tracing claims. HMRC could not provide disclosure without a Court order, and also decided to oppose application. The article says that the case raises interesting questions of tracing against innocent third parties/public bodies. It also says, as an example of the discretion available to a court, the decision shows the Court’s ability to make wide disclosure orders in this context in relation to a defendant’s tax affairs rather than, as is more commonly the case, against third party banks.
XL Insurance Company SE v IPORS Underwriting Limited & Others
INITIAL COIN OFFERING (ICO) – A LEGAL WORK PLAN
Baker McKenzie has produced what it describes as a work plan for use under Swiss law and detailing in a chronological order the envisaged legal work relating to the implementation of an ICO project. Though obviously dealing with matters from a Swiss perspective, the publication provides much useful background information on ICO in general, including such things as types of “token” as well as the actual structure and order for preparing an ICO.
US: 8 ARRESTED IN AFRICA-BASED CYBERCRIME AND BUSINESS EMAIL COMPROMISE (BEC) CONSPIRACY
On 25th June, the DoJ published a news release saying that, in accordance with the DoJ recent efforts to disrupt business email compromise (BEC) schemes that are designed to intercept and hijack wire transfers from businesses and individuals, including many senior citizens, the DoJ has announced Operation Keyboard Warrior, an effort co-ordinated by US and international law enforcement to disrupt online frauds perpetrated from Africa. 8 individuals have been arrested for their roles in a widespread, Africa-based cyber conspiracy that allegedly defrauded US companies and citizens of approximately $15 million since at least 2012. 5 individuals were arrested in the US for their roles in the conspiracy – including Javier Luis Ramos Alonso, 28, a Mexican citizen; James Dean, 65; Dana Brady, 61; Rashid Abdulai, 24, a Ghanaian citizen; and Olufolajimi Abegunde, 31, a Nigerian citizen. Maxwell Atugba Abayeta (aka Maxwell Peter), 26, and Babatunde Martins, 62, of Ghana and Benard Emurhowhoariogho Okorhi, 39, a Nigerian citizen who resides in Ghana, have been arrested overseas and are pending extradition proceedings to face charges filed in the US. The indictment also charges Sumaila Hardi Wumpini, 29; Dennis Miah, 34; Ayodeji Olumide Ojo, 35, and Victor Daniel Fortune Okorhi, 35, all of whom remain at large. The indictment alleges that the Africa-based co-conspirators committed, or caused to be committed, a series of intrusions into the servers and email systems of a Memphis-based real estate company in June and July 2016. Using sophisticated anonymisation techniques, including the use of spoofed email addresses and VPN, the co-conspirators identified large financial transactions, initiated fraudulent email correspondence with relevant business parties, and then redirected closing funds through a network of US-based money mules to final destinations in Africa.
RUSSIAN NATURAL GAS EXPORTS TO EUROPE
On 11th June, ETH Zurich produced a useful background guide in its Russian Analytical Digest series which deals with Russian gas supplies, including Russia-Ukraine pipeline problems and the Nord Stream 2 dispute. In the case of the latter, the publication argues that little attention is paid to the fact that the fate of Nord Stream 2 will ultimately be decided not by the exchange of arguments, but by its legal state. Gazprom has the right to lay offshore pipelines if they comply with the international rules of maritime law and certain limited regulations of the coastal states. The European Commission and Parliament, under the strong influence of Eastern European politicians who are critical of Russia, are therefore trying to prevent the completion of Gazprom’s pipeline strategy by extending EU law to the open sea.
CHINA AND THE MEKONG: FUTURE FLASHPOINT?
On 25th June, the Royal United Services Institute published an article about tensions in SE Asia and the world’s 12th longest river emerging as an ecological and geopolitical flashpoint involving China, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Cambodia.
NEW CANADIAN VISA RESTRICTIONS FOR CARICOM STATES
Kenneth Rijock in his blog says that, from December 1st, all individuals from CARICOM countries who wish to visit Canada, will be required to have a personal interview at the High Commission of Canada to Trinidad & Tobago. This is because, it seems, due to concerns about Caribbean passports, and the CBI programmes operated by some Caribbean states. For example, on 15th January it was reported that Canada had told Antigua & Barbuda that its citizens could get visa-free access to Canada once again if the standard of the twin-island nation’s economic citizenship programme is lifted. The Bahamas is the only CARICOM state whose nationals currently have visa-free entry.
NETHERLANDS: OVER 500 KG COCAINE FOUND IN SHIPMENT PINEAPPLES, 5 ARRESTED
Customs Today on 25th June reported that the police and public prosecutor found and seized over 500 kg of cocaine hidden in a shipment of pineapples in a warehouse in ‘s-Gravenzande.
SOUTH KOREA: SUGGESTION FOR RAIL LINK WITH RUSSIA IN WAKE OF NORTH KOREA SUMMIT
Customs Today on 26th June reported that a $35 billion rail connection that would link North and South Korea to Moscow is among a flurry of ambitious economic projects being discussed in the wake of the Singapore summit.
ITALIAN POLICE BUST GANG SMUGGLING FUEL FROM LIBYA TO EUROPE
On 26th June, Customs Today reported that Italian police claimed that they had broken up a network selling low-quality Libyan diesel fuel worth €30 million at service stations in Sicily and as far away as France and Spain. The Guardia di Finanza found that the smugglers were obtaining fuel destined for ships from a refinery operated by Libya’s National Oil Corporation at Zawiyah.
RESPONDING TO GLOBAL OPIOID CRISIS, UNODC LAUNCHES INTEGRATED STRATEGY ON THE GLOBAL OPIOIDS CRISIS
On 26th June, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime published a strategy to deal with the deadly global opioid crisis which is mainly affecting North America and parts of Africa and the Middle East and threatening to spread more widely. Misuse of opioids, such as fentanyl, usually widely used to treat severe pain and in anaesthesia; its analogues, as well as tramadol, used to treat moderate and moderate-to-severe pain, are of growing concern worldwide.
ALGERIA PARLIAMENT BACKS HIGHER CUSTOMS DUTIES IN PLACE OF INEFFECTIVE IMPORT BAN
Euronews on 25th June reported that Algeria’s lower house of parliament approved a government plan to lift a largely ineffective ban on imports of many goods and replace it with customs duties of between 30% and 200%. It had been trying to ease pressure on state finances since 2014, when crude oil prices started falling, leading to an almost 50% fall in energy earnings. Authorities have said the higher duties will apply to finished goods and are aimed at encouraging local firms and protecting them from foreign competition. At the start of this year Algeria banned the import of 851 products, including mobile phones, home appliances and some foodstuffs, but the measure had little impact on imports, which have mostly continued in defiance of the ban
NEW ZEALAND CUSTOMS DESTROY 959 KG OF ILLICIT DRUGS
Newshub on 26th June reported that, to mark the UN International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking New Zealand Customs has destroyed 959 kg of illicit drugs and packaging. The 3522 items included methamphetamine as the bulk volume, as well as cocaine, MDMA, GBL and thousands of smaller items, including blotter tabs and cannabis products.
NAMIBIA: CUSTOMS FRAUD CASE POSTPONED TO 2019
The Namibian reported on 25th June that 9 people so far charged in a massive customs fraud case involving several Chinese-owned businesses trading in Namibia will have to return to court in January next year. The charges are based on allegations that Chinese-owned businesses used false or manipulated import documentation to send goods out of Namibia – mostly to China – through the bank accounts of two companies of Walvis Bay-based businessman Laurensius Julius from 2013 to the end of February 2016.
ZTE, THE TELECOM WARS, AND CYBER SPIES
On 25th June, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) published a briefing about the case where Chinese telecom company, ZTE, pleaded guilty to selling US phone technology to Iran and then broke the conditions of its plea deal. It faced restrictions, which then eased and then re-imposed and even now there is a dispute between the Administration that wants to go ahead with a deal to settle the case, and the US Congress that has moved to continue the stricter sanctions.
COUNTERFEIT TRADE ON THE AGENDA OF ACP TRADE AGREEMENT NEGOTIATIONS
EurActiv on 26th June reported that MEPs and MPs from ACP (Africa, Caribbean and Pacific) countries are calling for closer co-operation to tackle counterfeit products in their future co-operation agreements with the EU. While negotiations on the new Cotonou Agreement should begin in August 2018, the issue of counterfeit products has been put on the negotiating table.
MARITIME SECURITY: EU REVISES ITS ACTION PLAN
On 26th June, a news release from the EU Council starts by pointing out that 90% of the EU’s external trade and 40% of its internal trade is transported by sea – therefore safe and secure sea transport is vital. The EU Council has adopted conclusions on the revision of the EU maritime security strategy (EUMSS) action plan, which It addresses global maritime risks and threats, including cross-border and organised crime, threats to freedom of navigation, threats to biodiversity, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing or environmental degradation due to illegal or accidental discharge. The action plan brings together both internal and external aspects of the EU maritime security. As well as co-operation with international organisations, from the UN to Interpol and the International Maritime Organisation, it specifically also refers to effectively preventing and disrupting transnational organised crime networks as well as other illegal activities with regard to maritime infrastructure, transport, employment and resources, and to support the fight against terrorism. EU agencies and Member States are to enhance their capacities in the fields of maritime governance and rule of law, including criminal justice and administrative maritime law enforcement; strengthen port and maritime transport security; counter illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing; promote the countering of illegal exploitation of natural resources and illegal activities in the high seas; enhance border control using coast guard functions, combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, including by monitoring possible maritime routes, forced labour, and other severe labour abuses at sea. It also calls on parties to enhance the overall resilience of EU critical maritime infrastructure with regard to man-made and natural disasters, climate change and security challenges and threats, including piracy and armed robbery at sea, cyber, hybrid and CBRN threats and potential terrorist attacks; as well as advancing technologies in the area of container security and trade analysis for strategic goods in support of non-proliferation.
FCA MOVES TO HELP VICTIMS OF AUTHORISED PUSH PAYMENT FRAUD
Mortgage Finance Gazette and AOL on 26th June reported that the Financial Conduct Authority is proposing changes to complaint handling rules to help victims of authorised push payment fraud (APP) – where a fraudster tricks a consumer or business to instruct their payment services provider (PSP), such as their bank, to send money from their account to an account controlled by the fraudster. The FCA is proposing to require payment service providers to handle complaints about this in line with our complaint handling rules, and to provide the victims with access to the Financial Ombudsman Service. Currently, when their own bank is not at fault, victims of this type of fraud cannot complain to the payment services provider receiving the money.
ISLE OF MAN STRENGTHENS AML LAW
Tax News on 26th June carried an article about amendments being made to legislation in the Isle of Man by the Anti-Money Laundering and Other Financial Crime (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2018.
INDIAN “FUGITIVE LIQUOR BARON” VIJAY MALLYA POSTS HIS DEFENCE ONLINE
On 26th June, First Post in India reported that Mallya had posted his defence against the charges laid against him online and provided the full text. Mallya says that he has become the ‘poster boy of bank default and lightning rod of public anger’.
GUIDANCE ON THE CLASSIFICATION AND ASSESSMENT OF WASTE
On 26th June, the UK Environment Agency issued guidance needed as, for most wastes, you will need to identify if the waste has a hazardous property before you can classify or describe it. This guidance explains how to assess if the waste displays a hazardous property and how to classify it. Chapter 2 provides the procedure for waste classification and assessment; this procedure uses the supporting information provided in 5 appendices.
SWISS TAX AUTHORITIES ASKED TO PROBE KOREAN STEEL FIRM POSCO
Swissinfo on 26th June reported that the Swiss authorities have received requests for information concerning potential secret Swiss bank accounts linked to POSCO. The Korean multinational was probed for making payments at the behest of a close friend of ousted former Korean President Park Geun-hye, who was implicated in a corruption scandal. The Swiss Federal Tax Administration has published a notice in the Federal Gazette on Tuesday with a view to informing POSCO of a request for information on potential Swiss accounts linked to them.
CHINA TRADE WAR POTENTIAL CASUALTIES INCLUDE US CASINOS IN ASIA
The Las Vegas Sun on 26th June carried a Forbes article that reported the views of a pundit who said that it is quite possible that China will target his casinos specifically if their owners are seen as having links to President Trump (e.g. the Sands). The article says that American-owned casinos in Macau and other destinations popular with Chinese travellers are particularly vulnerable to Beijing’s wallet diplomacy. It details that Mainland China accounts for roughly two-thirds of Macau’s visitors and an estimated 90% of gaming revenue, and through Hong Kong-listed subsidiaries, Las Vegas Sands, Wynn Resorts and MGM Resorts International each hold gaming concessions in Macau, the world’s casino capital with 5 times the gambling revenue of Las Vegas.
NCA REPORTS 2 SEIZURES AT SEA YIELDS IN 3 TONNES OF COCAINE
On 26th June, a news release from the NCA reported that more than 3 tonnes of cocaine has been seized in the Atlantic Ocean following 2 separate international operations involving the NCA.
In the first, the NCA worked with the Spanish National Police, Air Force and Customs services to intercept the British-flagged 40-foot yacht SY Pepper Sauce around 200 miles off the Canary Islands on 20th June – a 42-year-old British man from Newquay and 2 French nationals will now face prosecution in Spain. On 21st June, the NCA worked with Portuguese Judicial Police, Navy and Air Force to intercept the BVI yacht SY Oggi south of Faial in the Azores en route from the Caribbean – the crew, one of whom was a 38-year-old British national from Torquay, together with a Dutch and Croatian National, were arrested.
INDIA: TRUMP-CONNECTED DEVELOPER ACCUSED OF FRAUD
OCCRP on 26th June reported a Bloomberg story that 2 UK and US hedge funds accuse one of India’s largest real estate developers of defrauding foreign investors out of some $1.5 billion in a conspiracy involving shadow companies, document dumps, and “astonishing theft”. The report says that the managing director of IREO Management, Lalit Goyal, allegedly siphoned billions from a company fund in which New York-based Axon Capital and London-based Children’s Investment Fund Foundation invested about $300 million. In 2016, IREO partnered with the Trump Organization to build an office tower on the outskirts of New Delhi. The Trump Organization has 5 projects in various stages of development in India, making it the brand’s second largest market outside of the US.
UK COURT OF APPEAL FINDS THAT A BANK WAS CONTRACTUALLY ENTITLED TO COMPLY WITH FOREIGN COURT ORDERS
Out-Law on 26th June reported that the Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal in which the Republic of Kazakhstan (RoK) and its national bank argued that their custodian bank, Bank of New York Mellon (BNYM), had acted in breach of contract by freezing their assets in accordance with foreign court orders. The claim arose out of proceedings which third parties had brought in the Netherlands and Belgium to enforce an arbitral award against the RoK. Dutch and Belgian courts had granted attachment orders over assets held at BNYM’s London branch. The branch had complied with these orders, relying on a force majeure clause in its custody agreement with the national bank which excluded liability for loss arising out of court orders. An asset recovery expert explains that dispute arose because BNYM had to choose between 2 evils: potential non-compliance with foreign court orders requiring the freezing of assets on the one hand and potential non-compliance with its contractual obligations to a customer on the other.
SIGNIFICANT CHANGES TO THE FINES REGIME UNDER ISLE OF MAN LAWS
The Isle of Man’s legislation website reminds one that, with effect from 1st January, an upgrading of the fines that can be imposed for conviction for summary offences under Manx law took place. However, the older Acts on the website that date from before 1st January will not have been updated – so one needs to read into them the new fine levels. The new fine levels for summary conviction are –
|Fine or maximum fine amount prescribed before 1st January 2018||Fine or maximum fine amount from 1st January 2018||Level on standard scale|
|£1 to £499||£500||Level 1|
|£500 to £999||£1,000||Level 2|
|£1,000 to £1,999||£2,000||Level 3|
|£2,000 to £4,999||£5,000||Level 4|
|£5,000 to £9,999||£10,000||Level 5|
The maximum fine which may be imposed on summary conviction of an offence triable on information (i.e. conviction on indictment) is the amount set out in Level 5 in the standard scale (i.e. £10,000) except where –
- the fine is to be calculated on a daily basis, or
- the maximum fine on summary conviction of such an offence was greater than £5,000 before 1st January 2018.
SPANISH POLICE OPERATION AGAINST ARMENIAN MAFIA
On 26th June, Public Radio of Armenia reported that hundreds of police officers carried out raids across Spain as part of an operation against an Armenian mafia ring which authorities said would result in the arrest of 142 suspects, with raids in 73 buildings in 6 provinces, including Alicante, Barcelona and Valencia on Spain’s Mediterranean coast. Offences involved were said to include drug trafficking, money laundering, arms trafficking, tobacco smuggling and illegal sports betting. The operation began in 2016 after the murder of 2 men linked to a major Georgian organised crime group, which was “intimately linked” to the Armenian crime ring.
SWISS BANKS URGED TO STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST FINANCIAL CRIME
Swissinfo on 26th June reported that a KPMG study, “Clarity on Crime in Financial services”, says that Swiss financial institutions and public authorities must do more to prevent organised crime and money laundering within the financial system. The study says that current financial regulations are not keeping up with the speed of recent technological development.
COURT REVIVES CLAIM THAT FOX ROTHSCHILD LOST CLIENT FUNDS TO PONZI SCHEMER
The New Jersey Law Journal on 25th June reported that, after a state appeals court reinstated the case, US law firm Fox Rothschild must defend a claim that it negligently disbursed $2.4 million held in trust for a UK real estate investor to a man who turned out to be running a huge Ponzi scheme. Moshe Meisels, who lives in London, has standing and can pursue a claim of conversion (a tort, or civil wrong, where someone denies you use of your property) against the firm. However, the court has affirmed dismissal of the claim that Fox Rothschild committed a breach of its fiduciary duty. Meisels apparently was a victim of a Ponzi scheme run by Eliyahu Weinstein, who is now serving a 22-year prison term.
EUROPOL: FEW ISLAMIC STATE GROUP FIGHTERS RETURN BUT HOMEGROWN ATTACKS RISE
Homeland Security Today on 22nd June carried a France 24 report saying that Europeans who have fought on behalf of the Islamic State group have not flooded back in large numbers since losing strongholds in Syria and Iraq, according to Europol, but they have inspired a growing number of homegrown attacks. France 24 quotes Europol as saying that of the more than 5,000 Europeans – most from UK, France, Germany and Belgium – who joined the ranks of fighters in Syria and Iraq, some 1,500 have returned and 1,000 were killed. There is only limited intelligence available about the fate of the rest.
UZBEK FOUND GUILTY IN DENVER COURT OF SUPPORTING TERROR GROUP
Homeland Security Today on 22nd June reported that Uzbek refugee Jamshid Muhtorov has been found guilty on 3 counts involving material support to a terrorist organisation. He and Bakhtiyor Jumaev, who was previously convicted, conspired and attempted to provide material support to the Islamic Jihad Union (IJU), a designated foreign terrorist organisation.
ALABAMA MAN SENTENCED TO 15 YEARS FOR ATTEMPTING TO PROVIDE MATERIAL SUPPORT TO ISIS
On 20th June, Homeland Security Today reported that Aziz Ihab Sayyed, 23, was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by lifetime supervised release for attempting to provide material support to ISIS. Sayyed pleaded guilty in March to the terrorism charge. He acknowledged that he bought bomb-building ingredients in 2017, that he stated his aspirations to conduct ISIS-inspired attacks on police stations and Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, and that he attempted to form a cell to conduct violent acts within the US. Sayyed researched and learned how to make triacetone triperoxide (TATP), a highly volatile and extremely dangerous explosive material. He then purchased the necessary ingredients for the explosive and professed his aspiration to use TATP in an explosive belt or a car bomb. He was caught after contact with an undercover FBI agent.
OHIO MAN SENTENCED TO 16 YEARS FOR PROVIDING SUPPORT TO ISIS AND WEAPONS POSSESSION
On 20th June, Homeland Security Today reported that Amir Said Rahman Al-Ghazi, 41, aka Robert C. McCollum, was sentenced to 16 years in prison for 1 count of providing material support to ISIS, as well as 2 counts of being a felon in possession of firearms.
NEW YORK MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO ATTEMPTING TO JOIN ISIS ON SAUDI VISIT
Homeland Security Today on 20th June reported that Parveg Ahmed, 22, had pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support or resources to ISIS. He travelled to Saudi Arabia in June 2017, purportedly to celebrate an Islamic religious holiday. Upon his arrival in Saudi Arabia, the defendant attempted to travel to Syria to join ISIS. The defendant was apprehended in a country bordering Syria.
UK BEGINS CRIMINAL PROCEEDINGS AGAINST UNAOIL FIRMS
Reuters on 26th June reported that the SFO begun criminal proceedings against 2 Unaoil companies, part of a Monaco-based oil and gas consultancy, in an investigation into alleged bribery, corruption and money laundering. The case involves conspiracy to give corrupt payments to secure contracts in Iraq. One case relates to Unaoil Ltd and a $733 million contract to build 2 oil pipelines in southern Iraq for Leighton Contractors Singapore PTE Ltd, while the case against Unaoil Monaco SAM focuses on Iraqi contracts for SBM Offshore.
US TELLS THE WORLD TO QUICKLY STOP BUYING IRANIAN OIL OR FACE SANCTIONS
BNE Intellinews reported on 26th June that a senior US State Department official on June 26th warned that the world must stop buying Iranian oil before November 4th or face a renewed round of American economic sanctions. “We’re not granting waivers”, he is quoted as saying.
EU SUBSIDY FRAUD IN SLOVAKIA: THE DIRTY FIGHT FOR ARABLE LAND
A feature on Deutsche Welle (DW) on 26th June says that, in eastern Slovakia, interest groups using mafia methods have discovered EU direct grants for agricultural areas as a source of income, trying to extort farmland from its owners. DW met one of the victims. It is said that a modern form of landgrabbing is underway: using legal devices, networks made up of Slovak local politicians and businessmen to usurp control over arable land, in order to pocket EU direct grants for agricultural areas. The article says that this business model is made possible, for one thing, by legal loopholes and wiggle room in Slovak subsidy grant regulations, and, for another thing, by existing power structures in a country in which good relations with the ruling elites are of the essence. It was only after the murder of an investigative journalist at the end of February that many cases of political corruption and organized crime were revealed nationwide.
DHL IDENTIFIES KEY TRENDS FOR THE DELIVERY SECTOR
UKRAINE ADDS 30 ENTITIES AND 14 PEOPLE TO ITS RUSSIA SANCTIONS LISTS
On 26th June, the European Sanctions Blog reported that on 22nd June Ukraine had added a number of names to a sanctions list that now contains 1,759 persons and 786 legal entities. Ukraine followed the US lead of 11th June in adding legal entities involved in the activities of Russian special services in cyberspace. Other entities added were involved in the recent elections in Crimea and Sevastopol (a number of individuals were listed for the same reasons – and including Russian billionaire Arkady Rothenberg and his family members), and against Russian enterprises of the military-industrial complex, as well as State Enterprise “Luhansk aviation repair factory” located in the occupied territory of Ukraine.
JERSEY-GUERNSEY INTER-ISLAND PARTNERSHIP
On 26th June, news releases from both Jersey and Guernsey announced the first meeting of the Channel Island Political Oversight Board, established under the joint chairmanship of both islands’ Chief Ministers. The aims is said to be to support ongoing co-operation between the islands’ public administrations, and to find and support new partnership opportunities to improve public services and reduce costs to taxpayers. The Board discussed and agreed a pipeline of opportunities across a wide range of public services, and agreed some priority work streams, where significant progress can be made within the next 6-12 months.
COLOMBIA COCA PRODUCTION HITS NEW RECORD HIGH
Insight Crime on 26th June reported that US estimates of coca production in Colombia show that it has set a new record for the amount of the crop under cultivation, confirming a trend that has been transforming regional drug trade dynamics. Colombia produced 209,000 hectares of coca crops in 2017, a figure 11% higher than the 2016 record estimate of 188,000 hectares.
QUEBEC CONSTRUCTION MAGNATE FOUND GUILTY OF FRAUD AND CORRUPTION
Baker McKenzie on 26th June reported that Tony Accurso has been found guilty of participating in a municipal corruption scheme with former Laval mayor Gilles Vaillancourt, who was sentenced to 6 years in prison for demanding bribes in exchange for government contracts.
NEW ZEALAND FINANCE FIRM CHARGED WITH MONEY LAUNDERING
Baker McKenzie on 26th June reported that an unnamed Auckland finance firm, its director, and an employee have been charged with laundering $53 million for Chinese businessman Edward Gong, who is accused of running a $200 million pyramid scheme in Canada and was arrested in December.
CRIME EMPIRES OPERATE OUT OF VENEZUELAN PRISONS
OCCRP on 26th June reported an Insight Crime story saying that organised crime groups (or “pranatos”) are running a criminal system out of prisons in Venezuela and the Maduro administration has only bolstered their power. These pranatos started taking control of prisons by gradually implementing a structure among the inmates.