On 2nd July, Corker Bining published an article which says that a recent extradition request from the US to the UK has exposed an intriguing discrepancy between the criminal laws of both countries concerning cannabis seeds. The US sought the extradition from the UK of a defendant accused of trafficking, exporting and importing marijuana seeds (and related money laundering). The District Judge at first instance found, and the Divisional Court on appeal agreed, that this conduct did not constitute a criminal offence contrary to UK law. This is said to be based on a deliberate but nonetheless curious lacuna in UK law. At no point have cannabis seeds been criminalised under UK law – though the article cautions that someone might be guilty of an offence incitement to cultivate cannabis (which would be illegal), and to prove an offence of incitement it is not necessary to prove that anyone was in fact incited. In the latest case there was said to be no evidence that the defendant had said or done anything which could be construed as positive encouragement or advice as to how the seeds should be cultivated. The article concludes that the long-term interest of the case is that it illustrates the limitations of the law of incitement, not just in relation to drugs offences, but across the whole panoply of offences in English criminal law.
Haaretz on 2nd July reported that the owner of a national soccer league team was among 8 suspects arrested in fraud case, some are known for underworld connections.
The excellent and informative website from Bartfields Forensic Accountants on 1st July hosted its latest useful article. It reminds one that, in the UK, trading standards officers today also deal with scams, frauds, dishonest overcharging, trade mark and intellectual property offences and transgressions of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and other legislation. It quotes a remark from a 2017 Court of Appeal case, that “the amount lost by the loser is generally irrelevant”, and asks how is the benefit to be established for the purposes of the confiscation provisions of POCA 2002?
Holland & Knight on 29th June published an article saying that OFAC on June 27th took further concrete action to reimpose restrictions on Iran that were authorised by OFAC general licence during the period that the JCPOA was in effect. OFAC replaced general licences with new regulatory general licences allowing for the winding-down of previously authorised activities.
On 29th July, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which focuses on how these technologies work, their applications, and the policy challenges raised by their use. Biometric technologies identify individuals based on their distinguishing physical and behavioural attributes, such as fingerprints, face, and voice.
On 1st July, the Times of Israel published an opinion piece saying that Israel’s law enforcement bodies are not co-operating with their foreign counterparts in tackling financial fraud. Are they ‘only’ spectacularly incompetent, or something even worse? The authors claim to have found that, while law enforcement bodies overseas are devoting considerable effort and resources to tackling binary options, forex, cryptocurrency and other financial fraud emanating from Israel, Israeli police and other law enforcement bodies are not co-operating effectively with these efforts, and at times are actively stonewalling them. Requests for assistance on binary options fraud exceedingly slow and partial response, and in some cases with no response at all, the Times of Israel was told. The article says that over the last decade, Israel has become a global hub of investment scams, employing more than 10,000 citizens — many of them new immigrants and foreign-language speakers — in boiler rooms throughout the country, selling fraudulent binary options, forex, CFD (contracts for differences) and cryptocurrency investments over the phone and internet to people abroad. Binary options fraud alone was estimated to be earning between $5 billion and $10 billion a year before it was banned w.e.f, January 26th. However, some binary options operatives have simply ignored the ban, continuing to offer the product from Israel, while others now sell fraudulent forex or cryptocurrency investments, and still others have moved their operations abroad to countries including Russia, Ukraine, Philippines, Panama, Poland, Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus and Serbia. The article also raises the question of possible corruption, citing Transparency International’s Global Corruption report of 2013 where 51% of Israelis surveyed believe that Israeli police are corrupt or extremely corrupt. The article says that a former income tax commissioner was a founder of Israel’s first binary options company. For the last decade Israel has maintained a tax policy that exempts new immigrants and returning Israelis not only from paying tax for 10 years on income earned abroad – under its Law of return, but also from declaring the sources of that income — said to encourage the influx of dirty money.
The Daily Nation in Kenya reported on 1st July that a significant amount of sugar consumed in the country is contraband Brazilian product imported via the Kismayu port and smuggled in through the porous Somalia border. A December 2017 study by a Danish think-tank shows how political, business, bureaucratic and security interests in Somalia and Kenya are fuelling the smuggling that threatens Kenya’s political and economic stability. The study was funded by the Danish Consultative Research Committee for Development (FFU) and published by the Danish Institute for International Studies and Centre for African Economics. The report is said to name a former governor and a leading politician from northern Kenya as some of the top politicians involved in the trade, and that there are at least 70 businessmen in Kismayu, Garissa and Nairobi who operate lucrative rings that earn them millions of dollars a year. The smugglers have hundreds of trucks that operate between Garissa and Kismayu. The study says the Kenyan military, its Somali allies and Al-Shabaab militants are cooperating on the trade. From Kismayu, which has been under the control of the Kenya Defence Forces since 2012, the sugar passes through Al-Shabaab controlled territory to Garissa and Nairobi where it is repackaged and sold as a local product. The newspaper says that some 1.2 million bags of sugar have been seized by police in the past fortnight. Al-Shabaab’s main income formerly came from charcoal, but this has since shifted to sugar as it has become easier for them to control the transportation and levying of taxes along the route from Kismayu into Kenya.
The report itself can be accessed at –