46 STOLEN VEHICLES SEIZED IN DUBAI ANTI-SMUGGLING OPERATION
The Khaleej Times on 8th July reported that Dubai Police have busted 4 gangs involved in stealing 46 luxury vehicles from across the UAE. The Dubai police co-ordinated with Sharjah and Ajman police to form a joint task force, which succeeded in nabbing the gang members and seizing 17 luxury cars at a port as the cars were about to be smuggled out on a cargo ship. 13 more cars were found in some containers at a storehouse in Dubai and police recovered 12 more cars hidden in different parts of UAE. 4 cars that were used by the gangs in stealing the cars were also seized from the gangs.
CASINOS: “A PLATFORM FOR CLEANING DUBIOUS MONEY IN ZAMBIA”
News Diggers in Zambia on 7th July reported that gambling is legal in Zambia – including casinos, slot machines and the national lottery. It says that about 10 years ago, Zambia had 3 casinos operating legally. The latest figures indicating that over 35 casinos are operating; the majority of which being located in Lusaka and registered in the last 5 years. The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) in a report is calling for the strengthening of regulations governing casino operations in Zambia because gambling is a vulnerable platform for illicit financial flows and that applications for casino licences should be properly vetted to prevent criminals or their associates from having any controlling interest in the business.
UK: DELAY IN REPORTING LOST PASSPORTS EXPOSING PEOPLE TO IDENTITY THEFT
Which on 8th July reported that people in Britain typically wait 73 days to report a lost or stolen passport. The Home Office says 400,000 UK passports are reported lost or stolen each year. In the article, Which? takes a look at how fraudsters can use your passport to commit identity fraud and what to do if you discover your passport has gone missing.
ZIMBABAWE: SANCTIONS POSER FOR MEGA FUEL PROJECT
The Sunday Mail in Zimbabwe on 7th July reported that the $5,2 billion coal-to-fuel joint venture project between Government and a Canadian investor – Vectol Zimbabwe, a joint venture between Verify Engineering Private Limited and Nkosikhona Holdings – is facing inordinate delays after it emerged that economic sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe have become a major stumbling block. At full capacity, the plant is envisaged to produce 8 million litres of liquid fuels daily against a national demand of 5 million litres. It will also produce a vast array of industrial chemicals.
NEW TRADE RESTRICTIONS DOUBLE AND WTO CHIEF CALLS FOR RESTRAINT
Sandler Travis Rosenberg on 8th July reported that a recent WTO report finds that the imposition of new trade restrictions by G20 economies doubled during the most recent review period, a development that the WTO Director-General said “should be of real concern to the international community. G20 economies applied 39 new trade-restrictive measures from mid-October 2017 to mid-May 2018 (up from the 16 registered from mid-May to mid-October 2017), including tariff increases, stricter customs procedures, and new taxes and export duties.
ARMENIA CHARGES EX-PRESIDENT’S BROTHER IN FINANCIAL CRIME PROBE
Rferl on 7th July reports that Armenian authorities have formally brought financial crime charges against Levon Sarkisian, the brother of former President Serzh Sarkisian, as well as his son Narek, and his daughter Ani, part of a series of high profile actions by law enforcement agencies against the ex-leader’s close relatives. Both Levon and Ani Sarkisian face forgery charges as well. It says that Armenia’s State Revenue Committee opened a corruption-related criminal probe against Levon Sarkisian and his 2 children late last month after authorities said they discovered nearly $7 million they allegedly held in an Armenian bank and did not properly declare.
LA GANGS STOCKPILE UNTRACEABLE ‘GHOST GUNS’ THAT MEMBERS MAKE THEMSELVES
The Los Angeles Times on 7th July reported that starts with a seizure of AR-15-style semi-automatic rifles and pistols which are homemade, untraceable “ghost guns” without the traditional serial numbers, built from parts purchased over the Internet. Authorities said they are seeing more gangs turn to homemade guns as it becomes more difficult to acquire real ones. Investigators say ghost guns begin as partially-manufactured weapons and that a buyer can legally purchase a partial-built lower receiver (or “80% receiver”), which is not part of a firearm that is required to be stamped with a serial number when sold. It can be completed easily by drilling a few remaining holes into the unfinished metal shell. It is then ready for a barrel, trigger mechanism, stock and upper receiver to be attached. The article also says that those forbidden from purchasing a gun, such as felons and those with documented mental health issues, can still buy the partial lower receiver and then buy the other parts of the weapons off the Internet.
A PLAN TO JUMP START LEBANON’S ECONOMY: EXPORT CANNABIS TO THE WORLD
Haaretz in Israel on 8th July reported that Bloomberg claimed to have got hold of a copy of a report prepared by McKinsey & Co for the Lebanese government on how to reinvigorate the country’s economy. Haaretz said that the report highlighted some “quick wins” Lebanon can implement to get back on track – including legalizing cannabis production for exporting globally. Lebanon could legalise cultivation and export the drug for medicinal treatments, potentially creating a $1 billion industry based on the high quality of the country’s production. The report is said to note that cannabis is already cultivated clandestinely in the eastern Bekaa Valley, which is dominated by Hezbollah. Lebanon’s economy has been hit by the war in neighbouring Syria. Annual growth rates have fallen to between 1% and 2%, from between 8% and 10% in the 4 years before the Syrian war, and 2 former pillars of the economy, Gulf Arab tourism and high-end real estate, have suffered.
INDIAN TYCOON MALLYA SHRUGS OFF THREAT OF BRITISH ASSET SEIZURES
Reuters reported on 8th July that Indian drinks tycoon Vijay Mallya has said that he will comply fully with court enforcement officers seeking to seize his British assets, but there was not much for them to take as his family’s lavish residences were not in his name. A group of Indian banks seeking to recover more than $1 billion of loans granted to his defunct Kingfisher Airlines. Mallya is also fighting extradition from the UK to India, where is facing fraud charges.
AUSTRALIA: BIG BANKS’ FRAUD DETECTION PROVIDER LINKED TO MAN WITH CRIMINAL PAST
In its 9th July edition, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the director of a business that provides fraud detection services to Australia’s major banks runs at least 2 other companies with a man who has been jailed for financial crimes relating to international money transfers in 1995. $4.8 million was declared as having been received, whereas less than $80,000 was actually received.
CRIMINAL GANGS “USING FACEBOOK IN £6 BILLION PEOPLE SMUGGLING TRADE”
On 8th July, the Belfast Telegraph carried an article saying that a senior NCA officer has said that people smugglers are exploiting Facebook to peddle their deadly £6 billion trade. He said that increasingly sophisticated criminal gangs set up Facebook pages to ply their business by appearing “reliable and safe”.
MANDATORY REPORTING OF FOREIGN INVESTMENT IN INDIA
CMS Law on 6th July reported that the Government of India has introduced mandatory filing requirements for all Indian companies that have received foreign investment as a result of transactions with foreign investors. The deadline for the first reports is 12th July, and those missing the deadline face losing their eligibility to receive foreign investments and could face prosecution. The filing requirements apply to an Indian company, LLP or start-up that has received direct or indirect foreign investment.
The relevant Reserve Bank of India circular is available at –
SEC SETTLES WITH BEAM SUNTORY FOR $8.2 MILLION REGARDING ALLEGED INDIA BRIBERY PAYMENTS
Buckley Sandler on 6th July reported that the SEC has settled FCPA bribery allegations with alcoholic beverage company Beam Suntory Inc in an administrative proceeding stemming from alleged FCPA violations from 2006 through 2012. The company neither admitted nor denied any wrongdoing. In the third case since 2011 involving drinks companies’ conduct in India, the SEC alleged that the company’s subsidiary in India made illegal payments to Indian government officials through third-party sales promoters and distributers, who then presented fabricated or inflated invoices to the subsidiary.
KLM SAYS IT IS SUSPENDING FLIGHTS TO TEHRAN
Rferl on 8th July reported that Dutch airline KLM says it has decided to suspend its flights to Tehran for the time being “as a result of the negative results and financial outlook”. KLM ceased flights to Tehran in 2013, resuming them in 2016 after the JCPOA nuclear deal was signed. Air France, which is part of the same company as KLM, and which resumed flights to Tehran in 2016 after an 8-year absence, continues its flights.