27th June 2018
BVI: FINANCIAL SERVICES MULL RELOCATING TO CROWN DEPENDENCIES
St Lucia News Online reported on 26th June that, according to the Executive Director of BVI Finance, stakeholders in the BVI services sector are said to be considering Crown Dependent countries such as the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey to relocate their businesses, because the Overseas Territories have to comply with the UK requirement for a public register of beneficial ownership by December 2020.
CENTRAL BANK OF CYPRUS INTENDS TO PUT “SHELL COMPANIES” UNDER SCRUTINY
Asters on 20th June reported that the Central Bank of Cyprus has notified credit institutions of its intention to introduce certain measures targeting the so-called “shell companies“. Reportedly, such measures are expected to require Cypriot credit institutions to avoid engaging into or renewing business relations with entities that are non-publicly traded, are in the form of a limited liability company, or any other business entities and fulfil any of the criteria detailed in the article. The Central Bank of Cyprus has reportedly required the Cypriot credit institutions to review their client base in order to identify “shell companies” and inform about the outcome of such review.
SPAIN – A BRIEF GUIDE TO MANDATORY INSURANCE FOR YACHTS
Rogers & Co Abogados on 26th June published an article containing the 10-point guideline regarding mandatory insurance cover required under Spanish law. The requirements apply to all motor-propelled floating craft designed for recreational and sporting navigation, including jet skis and will also apply to those floating vessels that, though they lack any motor propulsion, are over 6 metres in length. They also apply to foreign yachts sailing in Spanish territorial and interior waters with a point of entry or departure from a Spanish port.
CREDIT SUISSE PAYS $47 MILLION FINE FOR ALLEGATIONS OF CORRUPTION
On 26th June, MME Legal Tax Compliance published an article about Credit Suisse paying a $47 million out of court settlement to the US authorities for allegations of corruption in Hong Kong, after a subsidiary allegedly violated the FCPA with bribery between 2007 and 2013. The DoJ accused the bank of hiring persons recommended by government and other state-owned entities, very often family members of officials, and in return, the bank benefited from investment banking business and regulatory approvals.
ISRAEL ASKS CYPRUS TO CONSIDER SHIPPING ROUTE FOR GAZA
EU Observer on 27th June reported that Israel has asked Cyprus if it would use one of its ports (or a part of it) as a transit point for goods bound for Gaza, which is blockaded by both Israel and Egypt. Goods could be processed through the facility and sent on, cleared, through the blockade.
THE NUMBER OF NON-INTERNATIONAL ARMED CONFLICTS DOUBLED IN 2 DECADES
Defence Web on 25th June reported that the number of non-international armed conflicts more than doubled from the beginning of the century, according to data from the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Not only are there more conflicts, but there are more sides in a conflict and more armed groups have emerged in the last 6 years than in the previous 60, the ICRC said. The “The Roots of Restraint in War”, a new study has been released by the ICRC. According to the ICRC, only one-third of conflicts are between 2 parties. By the end of the war in Libya (in October 2011), 236 separate armed groups were registered in the city of Misrata alone; and the Carter Center counted more than 1,000 armed groups fighting in Syria in 2014.
NEW ZEALAND: AIR NZ ORDERED TO PAY A$15 MILLION FOR ROLE IN FIXING CARGO PRICES
Scoop on 27th June reported that Australia’s Federal Court has ordered Air New Zealand to pay A$15 million for its role in a global air cargo cartel through the middle of last decade. It and PT Garuda of Indonesia were the 2 airlines continuing to protest their innocence in Australia in the long-running price-fixing claim which has spanned multiple jurisdictions in several countries and has been going well over a decade.
SEIZED CASH AND LUXURY GOODS LINKED TO MALAYSIA’S FORMER PM VALUED AT $273 MILLION
Time on 27th June reported that Malaysian police say the total value of cash, jewellery and hundreds of watches and handbags seized from properties linked to former Prime Minister Najib Razak in a money-laundering investigation amounted to $273 million – described as the largest seizure in Malaysian history.
UK: ACTIONS AGAINST BANK ACCOUNT SCAMS
On 26th June, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper saying that push payment scams are a growing form of financial fraud. The industry, financial regulators and the police are working together to try to reduce its impact. The briefing outlines some current initiatives.
MALAYSIA’S 1MDB AUDITS FROM 2010 TO 2012 DID NOT GIVE ‘TRUE AND FAIR’ ASSESSMENT, KPMG SAYS
Customs Today on 26th June reported that auditors KPMG have notified Malaysia’s scandal-hit state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) that its audits for 3 years do not provide a “true and fair” assessment of the company.
PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO CANADIAN AML LAWS
Dentons has produced a 3-part guide to changes being proposed to the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Regulations (PCMLTFA), as announced by the Department of Finance on June 9th. Part 1 covers Virtual currency and Canada’s AML framework; Part 2 deals with proposed inclusion of prepaid cards in Canada’s AML regime; and Part 3 contains an overview of other notable amendments to Canada’s AML regime (including CDD, PEP wealth and changes affecting life insurance).
JAIL FOR LAWYER WHO ‘DID NOT KNOW’ TAX FRAUD WAS ILLEGAL
Accountancy Daily on 27th June reported on the case of a barrister, Peter Moss, 61, who claimed he did not know non-payment of tax was against the law has been jailed for 18 months, following an HMRC investigation. He was registered as a sole trader since 1985 and failed to submit no less than 26 VAT returns.
CONTROLS ON CASH ENTERING AND LEAVING THE EU: NEW DRAFT REGULATION PROGRESSES
On 27th June, the EU reported that the Committee of Permanent Representatives (Coreper) has endorsed an agreement between the EU Council and Parliament on a new EU Regulation to amend the regime for the control of cash entering and leaving the EU, replacing the Regulation that has been in use since 2007. Complementing the Money Laundering Directives, the definition of cash has been extended to cover not only banknotes but also other instruments or highly liquid commodities, such as cheques, traveller’s cheques, prepaid cards and gold, and the Regulation also covers cash that is sent by post, freight or courier shipment. The declaration will have to be made irrespective of whether travellers are carrying the cash in their person, their luggage or means of transport. Member States’ authorities will have to exchange information with one another and the Commission where there are indications that the cash is related to criminal activity which could adversely affect the financial interests of the EU. The Council and the European Parliament will now need to confirm the regulation through a vote, after which it will be published in the EU’s Official Journal.
FINANCIAL SERVICES LEGISLATION UNDER THE EU (WITHDRAWAL) ACT
On 27th June, HM Treasury issued a publication sets out the UK government’s approach to bringing EU financial services legislation into domestic law under the EU (Withdrawal) Act.
CYPRUS: THOUSANDS LOST IN TAX OVER MINIBUS IMPORT IRREGULARITIES
The Cyprus Mail on 27th June reported that 65 Mercedes Vitos mini buses were imported into Cyprus and improperly registered as public use minibuses, depriving the state of thousands of euros in tax revenues, an auditor-general report on the road transport department has said.
CROSS-BORDER FRAUD FEARS FOR SCOTTISH BOTTLE AND CAN DEPOSIT RETURN SCHEME
The i News on 27th June reported fears expressed in a consultation paper that a deposit return scheme for drinks containers in Scotland could face “significant financial losses” due to fraudsters illegally cashing in, with bottles and cans brought in from other parts of the UK or abroad by people looking to make a quick profit
REPOSSESSED HOMES FRAUDSTERS JAILED
The Bolton News reported on 27th June about 3 men who have been jailed for a committing large-scale fraud which targeted 50 victims 2011-15. They persuaded their victims to hand over cash by convincing them they were in a position to sell them repossessed properties at knockdown prices. One often posed as a solicitor with the CPS.
US SUPREME COURT: STATES MAY REQUIRE VENDORS WITHOUT PHYSICAL PRESENCE TO COLLECT SALES TAX
On 27th June, Ballard Spahr published an article about the recent decision of the US Supreme Court which opens the way for states to impose sales tax on supplies to their residents by vendors located outside the state. However, the article says the Court did not delineate a new standard for sales tax nexus, potentially opening up uncertainties in an area that has long had a black-and-white rule.
3 MEN ARRESTED AS “FORGERY FACTORY” RAIDED IN LONDON
A news release from the NCA on 27th June reported that 3 men have been arrested as part of a major investigation into the manufacture and supply of counterfeit ID documents. The men, a Ukrainian national aged 37, and 2 Latvian nationals aged 33 and 36, were detained on suspicion of Identity Documents Act offences.
USERS OF ILLEGAL WEB TOOLS TARGETED BY UK LAW ENFORCEMENT
A news release from the NCA on 27th June said that users of widely available cyber tools that could be hired to carry out cyber-attacks against victims have been targeted as part of an operation co-ordinated by the NCA and the West Midlands Regional Organised Crime Unit (WMROCU). The joint law enforcement activity targeted prolific users of ‘off the shelf’ services who had each amassed over 1,000 offences under the Computer Misuse Act. It explains that the DDos-for-hire services – also known as ‘booters’ or ‘stressers’- could be rented for a small sum in order to launch so-called distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks, in which high volumes of internet traffic are launched at target internet connections to disable websites or individuals’ internet use. Individuals with little or no technical knowledge used the service to launch crippling DDOS attacks across the world. This type of software, it says, is often hidden behind a veil of authenticity, claiming to have legitimate use to test the resilience of servers, but in reality, is used by cyber criminals to ‘stress’ systems that causes the disruption to services. The news release says that investigators believe there were thousands of worldwide victims ranging in scale from large businesses to the general public.
OPCW GETS POWER TO ASSIGN BLAME IN CHEMICAL ATTACKS, DESPITE RUSSIA’S OBJECTIONS
Rferl on 27th June reported that the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), meeting in The Hague has voted in favour of the proposal to grant the new powers to assign blame for chemical attacks, surpassing the two-thirds requirement needed for passage. The UK-led motion was supported by the US and EU, but opposed by Russia, Iran, Syria, and their allies.