On 24th July, Reed Smith published a reminder that on 6th August the first batch of re-imposed US sanctions come into effect.
On 25th July, FATF published an update report saying that since the country’s 2017 evaluation progress made had caused FATF to re-rate the country on 10 of the 40 Recommendations and moved the country from an enhanced to a regular follow-up. The report analyses Sweden’s progress in addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified in the mutual evaluation report. FATF has re-rated Sweden on –
2 – National cooperation and coordination
9 – Financial institution secrecy laws
12 – Politically Exposed Persons (PEP)
16 – Wire transfers
17 – Reliance on third parties
18 – Internal controls and foreign branches and subsidiaries
19 – Higher-risk countries
24 – Transparency and beneficial ownership of legal persons
25 – Transparency and beneficial ownership of legal arrangements
29 – Financial Intelligence Units (FIU)
The report also looks at whether Sweden’s measures meet the requirements of FATF Recommendations that have changed since the 2017 evaluation, taking into account any new measures since the mutual evaluation. FATF agreed to maintain the ratings of –
- Partially Compliant for Recommendations 7,
- Largely Compliant for Recommendation 8
- Compliant for Recommendation 21.
AUSTRAC in Australia issued in June a risk assessment for travellers’ cheques. Those with fairly long memories can remember these (I just about realised they were still in use), though most people nowadays rely on the use of credit and debit cards when travelling. Understandably perhaps, AUSTRAC assesses the overall money laundering/terrorism financing (ML/TF) risk posed by traveller’s cheques to be low and say that there were only 27 suspicious matter reports (SMR) were submitted to AUSTRAC in relation to traveller’s cheques over a 2-year period. These SMR all related to the process of cashing traveller’s cheques – the reasons for suspicion given was suspected low-level money laundering and traveller’s cheque fraud. There were no SMR in the dataset relating to terrorism financing. It says that the risk posed by the use of traveller’s cheques is likely to continue to decline, due to the decrease in the availability and use of traveller’s cheques in Australia and globally – saying that the sales of traveller’s cheques in Australia have been declining rapidly over recent years, with 2016 sales figures representing a 90% decline on sales from 2012. The assessment also notes a number of uses travellers’ cheques are put to which, though not really traveller-related, were nonetheless legitimate. On the other hand, it does detail a scam involving traveller’s cheques notified in one SMR and involving persons attempting to cash counterfeit travellers’ cheques.
The International Chamber of Commerce on 20th July reported that the second quarterly report from the ICC International Maritime Bureau (IMB) shows that all 2018 crew kidnappings have so far occurred in the Gulf of Guinea in 6 separate incidents. A total of 107 incidents were reported to the IMB Piracy Reporting Centre (PRC) in the first 6 months of 2018. In total, 69 vessels were boarded, with 23 attempted attacks, 11 vessels fired upon and four vessels hijacked. No vessels were reported as hijacked in the second quarter. The number of crewmembers taken hostage increased from 63 to 102 compared to 2017. All 25 crew kidnaped reported this year have occurred over 6 incidents in the Gulf of Guinea, highlighting the higher risks in this area.
The report is available at –
RAC Plus on 24th July reported that the Greek cooling industry has appealed to its government to act to stop the huge trade in illegal refrigerants, which they say poses a triple threat; to the environment; to the Greek economy and to public safety. It is said that the gas is being brought in by a wide variety of illegal means through countries such as Albania, Macedonia, Turkey and Bulgaria. The refrigerant, which is either imported with counterfeit documentation or is carried in illegal disposable cylinders, is costing Greece at least €20 million in lost taxes, as well as making a mockery of the system of bans and reducing quotas to which the rest of Europe adheres. Even though Bulgaria is an EU member state, it is said to be acting as a gateway to illegal imports from other third-party countries.