20th July 2018
“Waiting for my pension” protest in Russia
AUTHORITIES IN UKRAINE TO INSPECT FORESTRY ENTERPRISES OVER ROUNDWOOD SMUGGLING ALLEGATIONS
The Ukraine government has instructed the State Audit Service, the State Fiscal Service (SFS), the National Police, and the State Service of Ukraine for Geodesy, Cartography and Cadastre to inspect the state forestry enterprises regarding allegations of roundwood smuggling from Ukraine. Despite a moratorium on deforestation, Ukrainian wood is being exported in defiance of national legislation and timber exports to the EU has grown 75% in 4 years and exceeded €1 billion 2017.
HONG KONG’S SHADY PAST OF ANTIBIOTIC SMUGGLING – THE POST-WAR PENICILLIN RACKET
In its “Old Hong Kong” section, the South China Morning Post on 19th July invoked echoes of Harry Lime in post-war Vienna by reporting on how black-marketeers made tidy fortunes by selling adulterated pharmaceuticals to China in the 1950s.
MONEY LAUNDERING IS HARMING UK’S STANDING IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS, SAYS YOUGOV POLL
The Mail Online on 19th July reported (with a 3-minute video) a poll of business leaders in Britain that claims to show that they believe money laundering is harming the UK’s standing in the international business community – and want the government to toughen its stance. Commissioned by campaign group Robust, the poll of business decision makers in Britain’s business identified that 76% of those surveyed believe money laundering would have a damaging effect on the UK’s business reputation, with 32% responding that it would be ‘very damaging’.
‘CLASH OF CLANS’ AND OTHER MOBILE GAMES BEING USED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
Variety on 19th July reported that popular mobile games are being used to launder stolen credit card money by tech-savvy thieves, according to a report from German cyber security company Kromtech, which found that over 20,000 stolen credit cards were used in the games. Kromtech traced the stolen data being used in “Clash of Clans” back to hacked MongoDB databases, one of which stored information of more than a hundred thousand credit cards. Kromtech is advising developers to secure the process by which users can make new accounts, to guard against those who might make an automated tool to generate mass accounts.
CRIME INFORMATION CELL TO BOOST EU’S OPERATION SOPHIA IN THE MEDITERRANEAN
Defence Web on 19th July reported that EUNavFor’s Mediterranean Operation Sophia task force has a new crime information cell – enabling better co-operation and effectiveness in dealing with crimes in the area of operations. 5 specialists from EU agencies – Europol, Frontex, the European Border and Coast Guard Agency – as well as the Sophia task force embarked on the current flagship, the Italian Navy vessel San Giusto. The cell will facilitate collection and transmission of information on human smuggling and trafficking, implementation of the UN arms embargo on Libya and illegal trafficking of oil exports from Libya in accordance with UN sanctions, as well as criminal activity relevant to the security of the operation itself. The core mission of the operation is to undertake systematic efforts to identify, capture and dispose of vessels and enabling assets used or suspected of being used by migrant smugglers or traffickers, in order to contribute to wider EU efforts to disrupt the business model of human smuggling and trafficking networks in the Southern Central Mediterranean and prevent the further loss of life at sea. It is named after Sophia, a baby born in 2015 on board the German frigate Schleswig-Holstein during operations.,
PROSECUTORS INVESTIGATE CORRUPTION IN ROMANIAN GOVERNMENT’S MORTGAGE PROGRAMME
Romania Insider on 20th July reported that possible corruption offenses relate to the state-backed First House mortgage lending programme – launched in 2009 to support people who wanted to buy their first house by granting them state guarantees. Policemen raided the headquarters of the Credit Guarantee Fund and the offices and homes of some of the fund’s employees. Public servants apparently asked people who asked for state guarantees to get mortgage loans in the First House programme to pay between €200 and €500 to have their requests approved sooner.
VENEZUELAN AUTHORITIES ORDER ARREST OF BUSINESS OWNERS FOR IMPORT FRAUD
Bernama.com on 20th July reported that the Venezuelan Prosecutor General ordered the arrest of 8 business owners – Ordaz Refrigeration and Frisa Foods companies, part of the Garcia Armas Group – allegedly involved in the embezzlement of $49 million by using fake import orders. The official exchange rate is 120,000 bolivares per dollar, while on the black market the dollar is exchanged as much as 20 times higher the official rate.
NEW ZEALAND: RECOUPING LIQUIDATION COSTS THROUGH LITIGATION AGAINST DIRECTORS
On 20th July, the Faculty of Law at the University of Oxford published a paper saying that in the last few years there had sprung up in New Zealand a series of first instance cases where judges had acceded to pleas by liquidators that the damages for which company directors could be found liable as a result of having, without fraud, breached their directors’ duties could extend to the costs of running the ensuing liquidation. The Court of Appeal has now knocked back these cases as it could see that this new development was becoming a gravy train for liquidators.
UK CLEARS PROPOSED ACQUISITION OF NORTHERN AEROSPACE LIMITED BY GARDNER AEROSPACE HOLDINGS LIMITED
On 20th July, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy announced that the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy had decided to clear the proposed acquisition of Northern Aerospace Limited by Gardner Aerospace Holdings Limited (which has Chinese ownership) unconditionally on the basis that there are no national security grounds for referring the merger for an investigation. The Secretary of State is said to be content that any deal between the parties will not compromise national security (despite concerns initially raised by the MoD).
UK HAULAGE PERMITS AND TRAILERS REGISTRATION ACT BOLSTERS EU EXIT PREPARATIONS
On 19th July, the Department for Transport announced Royal Assent for the Haulage Permits and Trailer Registration Act will it says ensure that the UK has the powers it needs to support British hauliers to continue operating internationally after exiting the EU. The Act allows for the establishment of a framework for the regulation and enforcement of existing permit arrangements with non-EU countries which may be used, if necessary, to manage permits arrangement with EU, ensuring hauliers can obtain the necessary paperwork to provide services after the UK leaves the EU; and the establishment of a trailer registration scheme allowing UK trailers users to meet the registration standards outlined in the 1968 Vienna Convention – this will ensure UK operators driving on the continent can comply with the requirements of those EU countries which require the registration of all trailers travelling on their roads.
INTERPOL DATABASE: ENHANCING THE FIGHT AGAINST THE ILLICIT TRAFFIC OF CULTURAL PROPERTY
On 19th July, Interpol issued a news release saying that INTERPOL’s Stolen Works of Art database has been addressing this traditional underreporting since 1995 and now has taken a step which will lead to enhanced information exchange. In co-operation with the Italian Carabinieri’s Headquarters for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, INTERPOL has launched an enhanced version of its Stolen Works of Art database, called P.SY.C.HE. (Protection System for Cultural Heritage). The new version of the database allows for faster dissemination of information on stolen works of art worldwide. The enhanced database will continue to be available to auction houses, art dealers, the general public, museums, journalists and academia. The database is at –
CYBER SECURITY THROUGH THE EYES OF A TRAVELLER
On 20th July, Control Risks published a short article saying that travellers present unsuspecting targets for cybercriminals, state-backed espionage groups. It says that Control Risks’ research and experience shows that travellers to a wide range of countries face a growing threat from cybercriminal activity, both from sophisticated as well as less capable groups. It says that travellers also face a heightened risk of data breaches from their devices as governments increase security measures at sensitive border crossings. This can include confiscating devices for inspection, then installing malicious software such as spyware to gather information. Travellers should take precautionary measures before, during and after travel, especially to high-risk locations. The article lists what organisations be doing to prepare themselves to respond effectively.
ARRESTS SUGGEST CROOKED COPS ARE AIDING PCC GANG’S EXPANSION IN PARAGUAY
Insight Crime on 19th July carried an article saying that the arrest of an alleged Brazilian crime boss, a purported collaborator and a policeman working as a bodyguard in Paraguay’s capital city illustrates how police corruption and sophisticated tactics may be facilitating the expansion of Brazil’s most powerful crime group.
On 9th July, Ports Strategy reported that a new report from transport information and consultancy services firm Dynamar has revealed that 24 million teu is handled by just 20 dominant transhipment ports (i.e. a port that handles over 50% transhipment traffic) across the world each year. North Europe has just 2 of these types of facilities, both in Germany, whilst the Mediterranean has the greatest number amount of dominant transhipment ports — 9, with Malta’s Port of Marsaxlokk having amongst the largest transhipment share 95%.
The report is available, if you have $870 to spare…
FIGHTING ILLEGAL FISHING: TUVALU REFORMS FISHERIES MANAGEMENT FOLLOWING EU ACTION
On 20th July, the EU announced that following an official warning (or “yellow card”) from the EU in 2014, the authorities of Tuvalu in the Pacific have worked with the EU to reform their fisheries management system and adopt all necessary means to prevent, deter and eliminate illegal fishing. A ‘yellow card’ is a warning by the EU to take action or else face a potential trade ban in fisheries products. The global value of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is estimated at €10 billion per year. Between 11 and 26 million tonnes of fish are caught illegally every year, corresponding to at least 15% of world catches.
MUGABE-ERA MINISTER JAILED FOR CORRUPTION IN ZIMBABWE
Reuters on 20th July reported that Samuel Undenge, an energy minister under Mugabe’s was accused of issuing a $12,650 contract without due tender to a company that did no work, was found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 4 years in jail in the first conviction of a Mugabe-era official since Mugabe stood down.
CONTROLLER OF THE DEPARTMENT OF IMPORT & EXPORT CONTROL IN SRI LANKA ARRESTED
On 20th July, the Colombo page reported that the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) had M.G. Gamini for accepting a bribe. He was said to asked for a bribe from a businessman to import 2 vehicles from overseas.
CANADIAN ‘NDRANGHETA LINK MAN SENTENCED IN ITALY TO 30 YEARS
On 20 July, OCCRP reported that an Italian national, Antonio Coluccio (who was arrested in 2014 in a mafia-related anti-corruption sweep) with ties to Canadian chapters of the ‘Ndrangheta mafia has been found guilty of corruption and sentenced to 30 years in prison in Italy. Canadian immigration authorities alleged he was connected to the Commisso clan of the ‘Ndrangheta and was deported to Italy in 2008. His 2 brothers were previously imprisoned on mafia-related charges, and his father murdered several years ago in a mafia-feud.
DESPITE SANCTIONS, MULTIPLE NEW CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS EMERGING IN PYONGYANG
NK News on 20th July reported that photos and satellite imagery reveal several developments underway.
EU SAID TO HAVE AGREED TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS ON THOSE INVOLVED IN CRIMEA BRIDGE
The website of the Ukraine President on 18th July announced that the ambassadors of the EU Member States have approved a decision to impose individual sanctions against 6 people involved in the illegal construction of the Kerch Strait bridge. The EU itself has made no announcement.
ROTHSCHILD BANK REPRIMANDED FOR AML FAILINGS OVER 1MDB
Law 360 on 20th July reported that the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority said it has reprimanded, but is closing its probe into, Rothschild Bank AG and one of its subsidiaries despite finding serious violations of AML rules in connection with 1MDB. Money diverted from a 1MDB bond issue was used to buy the motor yacht Equanimity, according to the US government, which wants to seize the vessel.
JERSEY FUNDS SETTING UP OF CHARITY REGISTER
On 20th July, This is Jersey reported that nearly £150,000 is to be transferred from States contingency funds to help Jersey set up a register of charities that will publish information about third-sector organisations in the Island.
US PAYDAY LOAN SCAMMER SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS AND $49 MILLION FINE
OCCRP on 20th July reported that Richard Moseley, who swindled customers using a group of payday lending businesses out of more than 600,000 Americans out of a total of $200 million over the last decade has been sentenced. He claimed that his business was located overseas in Nevis, an Island in the Caribbean, and New Zealand, where regulations did not apply, but Hydra Lenders was, in fact, located in Kansas City, Missouri.
PIRACY AND MARITIME ROBBERY TRACKER REPORTS 15% DECREASE IN ASIA INCIDENTS
Homeland Security Today on 20th July reported that the Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Information Sharing Centre (ISC) has released its half-yearly report covering January to June 2018. The report highlighted a 15% decrease in incidents in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2017. 40 incidents were reported, with 29 of those attacks carried out and 11 attempted. However, concern was noted due to the slight increase of incidents in the Singapore Strait (and at ports and anchorages in Vietnam.