28th June 2018
SMUGGLED MEAT CONFISCATED IN NORTHERN CYPRUS
The Cyprus Mail on 27th June that 6 tonnes of meat, the largest-ever amount of confiscated meat smuggled from the Republic into northern Cyprus, was seized and the driver of the vehicle transporting arrested. The meat reportedly came from Denmark, Austria and Poland.
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS FLIGHT ATTENDANT CAUGHT SMUGGLING DRUGS INTO AUSTRALIA
Perth Now on 28th June reported that a South African Airways flight attendant has pleaded guilty to trying to smuggle 6 kg of cocaine through Perth Airport in August after arriving in Perth on a flight from Johannesburg with the drugs hidden inside hollowed-out books in her bags.
GIANT SAND DREDGER PLYING JOHOR-SINGAPORE SAND-SMUGGLING ROUTE
The Edge Prop website in Malaysia on 28th June carried a report about a giant sand dredger, dubbed the “world’s largest floating vacuum cleaner”, which has been spotted plying a shipping route between Johor and southern Singapore popular among sand smugglers. The Dutch vessel “Queen of the Netherlands” is believed to be engaged in sand smuggling activities after it was spotted sailing the suspicious route over the past month. Malaysia has made the export of sand illegal since 1997.
FATF TO KEEP PAKISTAN ON “GREY LIST”
The Daily Pakistan, and many other Pakistani websites, reported on 28th June that FATF had decided to keep Pakistan on its grey list, rejecting the country’s attempts at removal. It was argued that Pakistan had not taken action to eradicate the funding to terrorism and related causes. The decision to place Pakistan on the watchlist in June was made during a plenary meeting in February 2018. Pakistan has been previously placed in the grey list for 3 years from 2012-2015.
DOJ RAN A BITCOIN LAUNDERING STING AND CAUGHT DOZENS OF DRUG DEALERS
The Slate on 27th June reported that, in the US, the DoJ had announced that it had arrested more than 35 people and seized more than $23.6 million in assets in the “first nationwide undercover action to target vendors of illicit goods on the Darknet”. Over a year, agents posed as money launderers who were helping narcotics and weapons dealers convert cryptocurrency into US dollars. Around 2,000 Bitcoins, worth more than $20 million, were seized together with Bitcoin mining equipment, 333 bottles of liquid synthetic opioids, and a grenade launcher.
SHIPS – ARREST AND ATTACHMENTS
On 30th April, law firm HFW published a guide in the form of the “HFW Arrest Pack” that analyses 2 of the most common means through which claimants operating in the shipping and commodities spaces seek to obtain security for bringing a claim and enforce their judgments and awards:
- ship arrest (and sale) in England and Wales and in Singapore – said to be “claimant friendly”; and
- attachments – including how attachment orders handed down in the UK courts may be enforced in other EU Member States and vice versa, via the 2015 EU Recast Brussels I Regulation.
The guide also considers the potential effect of Brexit on the reciprocal enforcement of arrest and attachment orders between the courts of the UK and Member States, concluding that the effect is likely to be minimal.
HMRC: CURRENT LIST OF TAX DEFAULTERS
On 28th June, HMRC published the latest list of tax defaulters. These are people who’ve received penalties either for deliberate errors in their tax returns, or deliberately failing to comply with their tax obligations, and penalties involve tax of more than £25,000 (but information will not be published if the person earns the maximum reduction of the penalties by fully disclosing details of the defaults).
CONTROLLED DRUGS: LICENCES, FEES AND RETURNS IN UK
On 28th June, the Home Office published updated guidance on how to apply for licences to handle controlled drugs as a company or individual traveller, including import and export procedures and fees.
UK FIREARMS LICENSING – INCLUDING FOR MARITIME SECURITY WORK
On 28th June, Home Office issued updated licensing guidance, good practice on firearms law, and forms for applying for approvals under the law. Part of the guidance outlines the authorisation process on the use of armed guards on UK-registered ships and advice about the process for applicants seeking authorisation.
SEYCHELLES’ INVESTIGATORS PROBING ALLEGED MONEY LAUNDERING
The Premium Times in Nigeria on 28th June carried a report on an investigation in the Seychelles prompted by the Panama Papers about the multimillion dollar assets owned by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, through offshore shell companies in tax havens. It reports that his wife, Toyin, who is suspected to have acted as his front, tried to distance herself as a PEP by submitting documents that suggested she was a British national and not a Nigerian. The article says that the Seychelles FIU is trying to uncover whether or not Mrs Saraki stood as a front for her husband in the ownership of some of the offshore holdings linked to the family.
LAW ON CREATION OF ANTI-CORRUPTION COURT COMES INTO FORCE IN UKRAINE
112 UA in Ukraine on 28th June reported that the law has come into operation and that President Poroshenko has already requested to the international partners to provide the candidates for the Experts Council to select the anti-corruption judges.
CHINA CLAMPS DOWN ON TAX EVASION IN FILM INDUSTRY
Deutsche Welle on 28th June reported that the Chinese authorities have issued new rules to make it harder for movie stars to evade tax. It is looking to cap the salaries of actors following a series of fake contracts aimed at falsifying income declarations. The article says that the official Xinhua news agency quoted regulators as saying that illegal payment practices, including the drawing up of fake contracts to manipulate income declarations, were driving up production costs, undermining overall quality standards and damaging China’s film industry.
UK GAMBLING FIRMS GIVEN ‘CALL TO ACTION’ OVER CONSUMER WELFARE
The BBC on 28th June reported that gambling operators have been given a “call to action” over their attitude to consumer welfare in a new report published by the Gambling Commission. The report highlights the ways in which companies must protect gamblers and also stop money laundering. The Commission’s head said not enough was being done.
CANADA CONSIDERS CHANGING EXPORT LAWS TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS
World ECR has reported that Canada’s Senate Committee on Human Rights has published a report on how human rights can be promoted in its export sector, recommending that the Export and Imports Permits Act 1947 be updated. The report also advises that the focus of any new controls should be on end uses and end-users. It was commissioned after it emerged that the Canadian government had granted export licences for the sale of light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia which were then allegedly shown Saudi security forces using Canadian vehicles against their own citizens.
The report, which also outlines the current Canadian export control framework and its origins, and current ongoing developments, can be found at –
IRAN TO BAN IMPORTS OF 1,400 ITEMS THAT CAN BE PRODUCED IN IRAN
World ECR reported that, in the face of sanctions re-imposed by the US, and the plummeting value of the rial, Iran is to impose an import ban on 1,400 items which it says can be produced indigenously. Prohibited imports include home appliances, textile products, footwear and leather items, as well as furniture, healthcare goods, and some machinery.
CAN A PARENT COMPANY DOMICILED IN THE UK BE HELD LIABLE FOR THE ACTS OF ITS SUBSIDIARIES OVERSEAS?
On 28th June, a briefing from Ince & Co discussed the Court of Appeal decision in Okpabi and others v Royal Dutch Shell Plc and Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Ltd . In the case, the claimants were a group of Nigerian citizens who sought damages based largely on negligence claims, resulting from pollution and environmental damage caused by oil spills emanating from pipelines and infrastructure in the Niger Delta. The claims were brought against Royal Dutch Shell, the ultimate holding company of the Shell Group, domiciled in England, and Shell Petroleum Development Company, a Nigerian company responsible for the group’s onshore operations in Nigeria. The claimants brought proceedings against Shell directly in England, as the “anchor defendant”. However, by a majority, the Court held that the claimants failed to satisfy the second and third limbs of the test laid down in the 1990 case of Caparo Industries Plc v Dickman. Nevertheless, the article says that the case highlights the need for multinational companies in the UK to be alive to the possibility of claimants bringing claims against them in the English courts for issues arising out of acts or omissions of their overseas subsidiaries, though the decision confirms that the English courts will only accept jurisdiction in cases where the anchor defendant can be said to have assumed a material degree of responsibility for the operations of its subsidiary.
EUROPEAN TRAVEL INFORMATION AND AUTHORISATION SYSTEM (ETIAS)
A briefing has been produced by the EU Parliament Research Service on a proposal to set up a system to gather specific information on those third-country nationals who do not require a visa, when travelling to the Schengen area. The agreement reached in April 2018 is scheduled to be voted on by the EU Parliament at first reading during the July plenary session. The idea is to address the lack of information related to non-EU citizens entering the EU (which after Brexit may include those from the UK?).
NGO ACCUSES BANK OF ENGLAND OF MISDESCRIBING US BRIBERY AND CORRUPTION WHISTLEBLOWER SYSTEM
On 27th June, Buckley Sandler published an article saying that the National Whistleblower Center, a US non-profit advocacy organisation for whistleblowers, and the European Center for Whistleblower Rights have formally requested that the Bank of England retracts a report which they alleges mischaracterises US whistleblower tip rewards programmes, including regarding FCPA tips. It says that the report, originally from 2014, says that rewards do not generate quality tips and involve expensive and unnecessary governance structures – and thus that the UK should opt for regulatory changes rather than a rewards programme.
US: PUBLICATION OF GLOBAL MAGNITSKY SANCTIONS REGULATIONS
On 28th June, OFAC announced the issue of the Global Magnitsky Sanctions regulations, which implement the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act 2016 and Executive Order 13818 and govern the operation of the Magnitsky sanctions imposed to block the property of persons Involved in serious human rights abuse or corruption.
THE PORT OF ROTTERDAM – PORT AND INDUSTRIAL AREA – OVER 25 MILES LONG AND 30,000 ACRES
See also the You Tube video of the port https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SPTa8EiYBlQ&feature=youtu.be
TRADE WITH IRAN – UPDATE OF THE EU BLOCKING REGULATION
On 28th June, Bird & Bird published a briefing on the Regulation intended to help EU businesses avoid some or all of the effect of re-imposed US sanctions.
US, BRITAIN AND FRANCE BLOCK CHINESE WEAPONS DELIVERY TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC
Defence Web on 28th June reported that the UN Security Council (UNSC) has been forced to put on hold a Central African Republic (CAR) request for approval for the delivery of a consignment of Chinese-made weapons, by a veto on a request by the CAR Defence Minister exemption from the embargo for a Chinese donation of 12 armoured personnel carriers and various small arms. The total ban on supplying arms to the CAR was imposed by the UN to stop the flow of weapons at the height of the civil war in 2013. In particular, the need for anti-aircraft weapons was questioned, as the CAR does not face any threat of an aerial attack. The exemption was to have been like the one granted in December 2017 to legalise a Russian delivery of light arms for use by two army battalions trained by the UN and EU forces.
US AMBASSADOR TO UN URGES INDIA TO ‘RETHINK’ IRAN TIES AHEAD OF US SANCTIONS
The Times of Israel on 28th June reported that the US ambassador to the UN urged India to reconsider its ties to Iran, one of its key energy suppliers, as fresh US sanctions on buyers of Iranian oil loom. Washington has stepped up pressure on major Iranian customers to stop importing its oil, warning no trading partner will be exempt from new economic sanctions when they bite from November 4th. India imports the overwhelming majority of the Islamic Republic’s oil and Iran is the third-largest supplier to India.
COMPANY BOSSES WARNED BY BANK OF ENGLAND OVER CRYPTOCURRENCY INVESTMENTS AMID TERROR FUNDING FEARS
The Belfast Telegraph on 28th June reported that the head of the Bank’s Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) has written to the chief executives of banks, insurance companies and designated investment firms “to remind them” of PRA rules and expectations regarding their firm’s “exposure to crypto-assets”. He is reported to have said that crypto-assets many appear vulnerable to fraud and manipulation, as well as money-laundering and terrorist financing risks and that entering into activity related to crypto-assets may give also rise to reputational risks. The PRA warned against linked bonuses or payouts so they do not encourage “excessive risk-taking”.
LATVIAN CENTRAL BANK GOVERNOR TO FACE PROSECUTION
Bloomberg on 28th June reported that Ilmars Rimsevics, a member of the European Central Bank’s Governing Council, will face prosecution for bribery in Latvia, further tainting the nation’s reputation in a year that’s already brought US money-laundering allegations and the closure of its No. 3 bank.
POLICE SEIZE MORE THAN €4.5 MILLION IN CRYPTOCURRENCIES IN EUROPE’S BIGGEST-EVER LSD BUST
Europol on 28th June reported that the Spanish Guardia Civil and the Austrian Federal Police, supported by Europol, have dismantled a criminal network producing and distributing synthetic drugs worldwide, known as new psychoactive substances (NPS), on the Darknet. The criminal group was also involved in money laundering their share of the profits by selling cryptocurrencies, mainly Bitcoins. More than €4.5 million in Bitcoins, IOTA and lumen was seized by law enforcement authorities. Over 100 different types of NPS were seized in 2 laboratories in the provinces of Granada and Valencia in Spain, the market value of which would exceed €12 million. Nearly 800,000 doses of LSD were confiscated, marking the biggest-ever haul of this type of substance and derivatives in the EU.
ISRAEL MANUFACTURERS ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT ARRESTED, SUSPECTED OF TAX FRAUD
On 28th June, the Times of Israel reported that leading industrialist, Shraga Brosh, and his brother Yariv (also a senior official in the organisation) have been arrested. They are suspected of falsifying documents to evade paying about $410,000 in tax.
CANADIANS WITH OFFSHORE HOLDINGS EVADE UP TO $3 BILLION IN TAX PER YEAR
The Star in Canada on 28th June reported the claim and said it was according to the first-ever estimate of the international tax gap by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA). The government estimates Canadian individuals are hiding between $75.9 billion and $240.5 billion in offshore tax havens and elsewhere, and not paying tax on it. The government announced almost $1 billion for increased enforcement at the CRA and the tax gap report contains extensive details of how those compliance efforts have borne fruit, especially in finding undeclared offshore assets.
6 SOLICITORS CHARGED OVER ALLEGED £12.6 MILLION LEGAL AID FRAUD
The Law Society Gazette reported on 28th June that 6 solicitors – including 2 part-time judges – are among 9 people charged in relation to allegedly fraudulent legal aid claims that were made for more than £12.6 million and following a complex fraud team investigation, which began in December 2012.
‘WOLF OF WIMBLEDON’ FRAUDSTER GETS 4 MORE YEARS IN JAIL
City AM on 28th June reported that a boiler room fraudster, Jeffrey Revell-Reade, 53, dubbed the ‘Wolf of Wimbledon’ has seen his jail sentence increase by 4 years for failing to pay a £7.5 million compensation order.
US CHARGES 601 PEOPLE IN HEALTHCARE FRAUD AND OPIOID CRACKDOWN
Reuters on 28th June reported that the DoJ has announced charges against 601 people including doctors and nurses for taking part in healthcare fraud and opioid-related crimes that resulted in more than $2 billion in losses. The largest healthcare fraud takedown in US history included 162 doctors and other suspects charged for their roles in prescribing and distributing addictive opioid painkillers. In 2016, 42,000 people in the US died from opioid overdoses, according to the CDC.
US RETURNS CHARLES TAYLOR’S FORMER BODYGUARD TO LIBERIA ON SUSPICION OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES AND TERRORISM LINKS
On 28th June, Homeland Security Today reported that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a news release that agents returned Charles Cooper, 45, a Liberian national to his home country on grounds that he is suspected of violating human rights and being aligned with a terrorist organisation. He had served as a bodyguard to former Liberian President Charles Taylor and was a member of a paramilitary police unit before coming to the US. It was alleged that Cooper was directly involved in the persecution of civilians in Liberia and had joined a rebel group that committed numerous human rights violations. The group was founded by the former Liberian president, Taylor.
US SANCTIONS TURKEY OVER PURCHASE OF RUSSIAN MISSILES
The European Sanctions Blog reported on 28th June that the US Assistant Secretary of State had informed a Congressional Committee that CAATSA sanctions will be imposed on Turkey for its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia. Section 231 of the CAATSA Act authorises the President to impose a number of sanctions on those determined to have engaged in a “significant transaction” with the “defense or intelligence sectors of the [Russian Government]”. What the sanctions may be is unclear.
US CUSTOMS SEIZE 699 COUNTERFEIT LUXURY WATCHES WORTH $10 MILLION
On 28th June, US Customs and Border Protection reported that an express consignment parcel arrived from Hong Kong manifested as lithium batteries. When CBP officers inspected the shipment they encountered luxury brand watches bearing the name Rolex, Tous, Hublot, Piguet, Panerai, Patek, Fossil, and Harley Davidson. Officers detained the shipment as the craftsmanship was of questionable quality and the packaging was of poor quality. The news release also mentions that, as a result of CBP enforcement efforts, ICE Homeland Security Investigations agents arrested 457 individuals, obtained 288 indictments, and received 242 convictions related to intellectual property crimes in 2017.
CHINA TO FINANCE MODERNISATION OF UGANDA’S CUSTOMS
Xinhua on 28th June reported that Uganda and China have signed an agreement in which the Asian country will finance the modernisation of the customs department in Uganda. The US$15 million project will help boost the country’s revenue collection. China will provide non-intrusive scanners, modernised customs risk management, supervision and communication system, capacity building, customs service and enforcement support.
DOGS TRAINED IN BRITAIN TO HELP HONG KONG CUSTOMS OFFICIALS SNIFF OUT DIRTY CASH BEING FUNNELLED THROUGH THE CITY AS NEW LAW COMES INTO FORCE
The South China Morning Post on 28th June reported that a new law comes into force on July 16th requiring sums of cash greater than HK$120,000 (about US$15,290) to be declared. The Labradors, which cost HK$140,000 each, will be located at different border points, particularly those considered high risk, such as the airport. Arriving, but not departing, passengers will be required to declare to customs officers – departing travellers only need to make a declaration if stopped by a customs officer. The new law does not cover precious metals or stones, transiting passengers and transshipments. Currently there is no limit on the amount of hard cash travellers can bring into Hong Kong.
FORMER ARUBAN TELECOM OFFICIAL GETS US PRISON TERM FOR LAUNDERING BRIBES
Baker McKenzie on 28th June reported that Egbert Yvan Ferdinand Koolman, a Dutch citizen and a former product manager at Servicio di Telecommunicacion di Aruba (Setar) was sentenced in Miami to 3 years in prison after admitting he participated in a scheme to launder bribe money he was paid in exchange for rewarding lucrative contracts.
ORGANISATIONS COLLABORATE ON WEB GUIDANCE FOR SHIPPING INDUSTRY
Port Technology on 28th June reported that a number of international shipping industry organisations have collaborated to launch a new website which provides maritime security guidance to companies and operators. A new website provides security-related guidance produced by industry players and includes links to maritime and military security resources.
See the website at –
FAKE MORTGAGE VESSEL DETAINED IN BULGARIA LOSING MILLIONS
On 28th June, Port Strategy reported that a vessel detained in Burgas since November over an alleged unpaid mortgage has seen its owner face losses of $20,000 with no end in sight to the legal process. The article says that Libya-based state-owned General National Maritime Transport Company (GNMTC) denies it owes a $9.23 million mortgage on crude oil carrier Badr to Bulgarian-based oil and gas contractor Bulgargeomin but despite providing evidence the mortgage is falsified the vessel has yet to be released. The mortgage documents at the heart of the dispute are described as the mortgage documents were “false” and forged” by the Greek notary who was supposed to have dealt with it. An auction of the vessel was attempted in April and stopped when GNMTC successfully appealed the enforcement order.