31st August 2018
FINE FOR MALTA FIRM LINKED TO VENEZUELA
The Times of Malta on 30th August reported that the Malta Financial Services Authority fined Portmann Capital €62,000 2 days after The Malta Independent on Sunday reported on August 12th the company was linked to a $1.2 billion Venezuelan money laundering scheme. Portmann Capital is suspected to have laundered about €500 million, embezzled from Venezuela’s State-owned oil company PDVSA and it allegedly took a €20 million cut to launder the funds. A day after police reportedly swooped in on Portmann Capital’s offices on August 21st, the MFSA ordered the firm to halt all transactions and to not take on any new clients. The MFSA said that the €62,000 fine imposed on the company could not be announced before due process was completed.
FORMER ECUADORIAN OIL EXECUTIVE FORFEITS 6 SOUTH FLORIDA PROPERTIES TIED TO MONEY LAUNDERING
The Real Deal (which reports on Florida real estate) on 30th August reported that Marcelo Reyes Lopez, a former executive with PetroEcuador, Ecuador’s national oil company, has been sentenced in July to more than 4 years in prison for allegedly laundering money through 6 South Florida properties.
FIJI: FORMER DIPLOMAT CHARGED WITH CORRUPTION OFFENCES
The Fiji Sun on 31st August reported that Ms Azreen Shabnam Khan, a former employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appeared in the Suva Magistrates Court facing 4 different corruption-related charges laid by the Fiji Independent Commission Against Corruption (FICAC). She is alleged to have fraudulently caused payments amounting to $40,559.37 from January 2017 to March 2018 from monthly allowances sent by the Ministry to the Fiji High Commission in New Delhi where she used to serve as the Second Secretary.
KENYA-UK SIGN DEAL TO REPATRIATE ASSETS AND PROCEEDS OF CRIME
The Herald in Zimbabwe on 31st August reported that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta has signed a deal with Theresa May to boost fight against corruption in the country, that will see repatriation of assets and proceeds of crime to Kenya. In July, President Uhuru signed a similar deal with Switzerland to facilitate the return of stolen cash.
THE WTO AND POWER IN THE INTERNATIONAL TRADING SYSTEM
ETH Zurich on 31st August published an article in which the author contends that a spiral of protectionism threatens to expose the limits of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) ability to protect against abuses and prevent trade wars. The reason for this is astonishing, she says: the US Trump administration asserts that the existing rules – which the US played a leading role in writing – disadvantage the US. So is there anything to this claim, she asks? And how should the EU respond to the current US trade policy approach? Trump has threatened to withdraw from the WTO if it doesn’t reform (in the favour of the US). The article reminds one of the 3 pillars of world trade anchored in the WTO:
- the “most-favoured nation”; and
- the “non-discrimination” principles
ensure that all imports are treated alike – and at the lowest tariff – at the border regardless of where they originate from; and
- the “national treatment” imported goods that have passed customs must be treated no worse than domestic products.
The author does say that a strengthened WTO would be helpful for adjudicating the present trade conflicts and perhaps even launching new initiatives, but simply to concede to Trump’s demands for lower tariffs (for example on cars) would appear risky.
LOAN DECEPTION RESULTS IN 9-YEAR BAN FOR BIRMINGHAM HAULAGE BOSS
Commercial Motor on 31st August reported that A Birmingham haulage company boss, Neil Avery Hughes, 51, a director of Contact Transport, has been banned from running companies for 9 years after falsely claiming £1 million worth of work to secure advance payments from lenders. Contact Transport had entered into an invoice discounting agreement with an external lender, allowing the company to get advances on cash it was owed from customers rather than waiting for them to pay. But during an April 2017 audit the lender became aware of discrepancies between what Contact Transport had claimed and what it was actually owed from its clients.
DRUG SMUGGLING BY TAIWANESE IN SOUTH KOREA ON THE RISE
Customs Today on 31st August reported a statement by the Taiwanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs that the number of drug-smuggling cases in South Korea involving Taiwanese suspects has risen sharply over the past 2 years.
BLOCKCHAIN, CRYPTOCURRENCIES AND ICO: AN OFFSHORE LAWYER’S PERSPECTIVE
A briefing from Conyers Dill & Pearman contains a discussion with 2 lawyers from the firm’s Hong Kong office about what is described as the brave new world of blockchain, cryptocurrencies and ICO: the opportunities and challenges they present, and the benefits of establishing issuers offshore. They explain what an ICO is, how digital coins or tokens work, what cryptocurrencies are, how blockchain fits in, why are ICO so popular and what is the typical process for setting up an ICO? It touches on the legal challenges an ICO might face, and how different jurisdictions view ICO.
FENTANYL SAFETY RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FIRST RESPONDERS
A You Tube video released on 30th August from the US provides unified, scientific, evidence-based recommendations to first responders so they can protect themselves when the presence of Fentanyl is suspected during the course of their daily activities such as responding to overdose calls and conducting traffic stops, arrests, and searches.
HUNDREDS OF FAKE ID TURNED OVER TO UNIVERSITY AND LOCAL POLICE IN PHILADELPHIA AFTER CUSTOMS BUSTS
NJ.com on 31st August reported that customs officers in Philadelphia intercepted nearly 500 phony driver’s licences in a series of seizures that kept the fakes from reaching underage college students, including counterfeit identifications purporting to be issued by states including Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida, Connecticut and Washington. They arrived by air cargo from Canada, China and from countries in south-west Asia, with the latest seizure in mid-August.
E-DISCOVERY IN IRELAND
McCann Fitzgerald has published the chapter on e-discovery in Ireland, which was authored by 2 members of its staff and which is contained in International E-Discovery: A Global Handbook of Law and Technology. The chapter says that in Ireland e-discovery in litigation and investigations is not only now commonplace it is the norm.
ASA RULES AGAINST 2 GAMBLING OPERATORS FOR BREACHES OF ADVERTISING CODE
On 30th August, CMS Law reported that on 22nd August the Advertising Standards Authority published rulings in relation to website adverts by gambling operators Annexio Ltd t/a Lottogo.com (formerly World Lottery Club) and Rieves Lotteries Ltd and their compliance with the UK Code of Non-Broadcast Advertising. The ASA found that Lottogo’s advert was misleading, whilst Rieve’s advert was socially irresponsible and likely to be of particular appeal to children. Both adverts were found to be in breach of the CAP Code.
UPDATE ON THE PROPOSED INTRODUCTION OF SUBSTANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTAIN ISLE OF MAN TAX RESIDENT COMPANIES
KPMG on 16th August provided an update on what the Isle of Man had done to address the concerns of the EU Code of Conduct Group (Business Taxation) regarding economic substance. The Group had concluded that the Crown Dependencies were compliant with most of the EU principles of tax good governance, including the general principles of “fair taxation”. However, it did raise concerns regarding the lack of legal substance requirement for doing business in and through the respective jurisdictions.
US SENATE FINDS IUU FISHING VALUED AT TENS OF BILLIONS
Stimson on 28th August reported that the US senate has seen a draft Bill to create an inter-agency working group addressing the national, economic, environmental, and food security challenges posed by IUU fishing. This would be because, to quote one of its sponsors, IUU fishing is complex with many moving pieces, and no one federal agency can combat it alone: to be successful it will take a whole of government approach. It is estimated that 20% to 50% of the global fish catch is either illegally caught, mislabelled, never reported, or from a fishery without any management regime. Illegal profits from IUU fishing are known to fund illicit trafficking networks, fuel piracy and transnational organised crime. A report from Stimson on the threat is also available.
A factsheet is available at –
PRIVATE ECONOMY AND CAPITALISM IN NORTH KOREA?
Beyond Parallel has produced a report on 26th August saying that the North Korean economy is still theoretically run under a centrally-controlled and state-planned system. However, on-the-ground conditions show a reality that is quite different. Information from various sources, including internal in-country and external out-of-country data, demonstrates that the North Korean economy is increasingly penetrated by private market activity.
CANADA CONSIDERING HANDGUN AND ASSAULT WEAPONS BAN
The Firearm Blog on 30th August reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has directed his ministers to examine a full ban on handgun and ‘assault weapons’. The move comes in the wake of the recent Danforth shooting which saw 3 killed and 13 more injured. He has issued a mandate letter to Bill Blair, the minister for Border Security and Organised Crime Reduction Minister to work with colleagues to examine banning handguns.
RUSSIA BLOCKING UN REPORT FINDING NORTH KOREA IS VIOLATING UN SANCTIONS
Rferl on 31st August published an article reporting claims that Russia is blocking publication of a UN report finding North Korea in violation of UN sanctions limiting its imports of fuel, including through some illegal transfers of oil at sea involving Russian ships. Besides finding violations of fuel import limits imposed by the council, the 62-page report also found violations of bans on North Korean exports of coal, iron, seafood, and other products that generate millions of dollars in revenue for Kim Jong Un’s government, media reports said.
EU CUSTOMS WAREHOUSING AND TRADE MARK RIGHTS
UDL on 17th August carried an article on the CJEU having made an interesting ruling — that the owner of a trade mark is entitled to prevent a third party from de-branding its goods without consent in an EU customs warehouse, before applying a different mark and importing them into the EEA. The case involved importers which were bringing goods into a customs warehouse and then replacing Mitsubishi’s branding with their own, before modifying the trucks to make them compliant with EU standards. The article says that the reason why this case is important is that it means trade mark owners can rest easy, knowing that their exclusive rights may still be protected even if their marks are removed from goods by unauthorised third parties.
BIG TOBACCO COMPANIES SOURCE OF TWO-THIRDS OF SMUGGLED CIGARETTES, STUDY FINDS
Illicit Trade on 24th August reported that the BMJ journal Tobacco Control has published a report based on leaked documents from the university’s Tobacco Control Research Group (TCRG) which shows how the industry has gone to great lengths to undermine the Illicit Trade Protocol (ITP), a treaty signed in 2012 that aims to eliminate the illicit trade in tobacco products. The research from academics at the University of Bath in the UK has revealed that big cigarette manufacturers are continuing to facilitate the smuggling of tobacco while funding studies that routinely overestimate the size of the illicit trade in its products. The study found the tobacco industry remains the source of roughly two-thirds of all smuggled cigarettes across the globe.
ARMS EXPORTS TO REPRESSIVE STATES AND/OR FOR ILLICIT USE
On 31st August, the Oxford Research Group published an updated research note which aims to measure the extent of countries’ arms sales according to 3 criteria:
- the total volume of arms exports per capita;
- the proportion of exported arms sold to internally repressive states; and
- the proportion sold to countries whose militaries are engaged in illicit use of force abroad.
It has been updated to show “scores” for the 49 arms-exporting states grouped into 3 categories of UN arms Trade Treaty (ATT) states parties (those that have ratified the Treaty), ATT signatories, and ATT non-signatories do not show any meaningful difference or progression. In theory the ATT would regulate states’ ability to sell weapons to states acting repressively at home or abroad. Of all states, in 2016-2017 the global averages of arms exports going to internally repressive and externally interventionist states were about 40% and 32%, respectively.
THE OTHER WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION
A research paper from the Oxford Research Group on 30th August that asks, with the rapid erosion of the prohibition on use by states of chemical weapons, and the rise of radical non-state groups seemingly willing to utilise whatever weapons of mass destruction they can obtain, what can the international community do to restrain their use? And what do advances in neuroscience portend for the development and use of new kinds of chemical control agents? The paper itself summarises what is more fully considered in Preventing Chemical Weapons: Arms Control and Disarmament as the Sciences Converge, (Michael Crowley, Malcom Dando and Lijun Shang (editors), Royal Society of Chemistry, London, August 2018). The paper considers both immediate and longer-term concerns. The immediate concerns the actual use of chemical agents, especially in the Middle East and an erosion of previous prohibitions. In the longer term focuses primarily on rapid developments in the neurosciences, many of them likely to be highly desirable for human well-being but also with dangerous potential for misuse. The paper concludes by saying that there is the need for positive action, including at the forthcoming Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) Review Conference, even more urgent.
A NEW ‘TAXONOMY OF CORRUPTION’ IN NIGERIA FINDS 500 DIFFERENT KINDS
National Public Radio in the US published an article on 28th August saying that there is a new “taxonomy” tool in Nigeria that classifies each type of corruption according to the tactic employed (bribery, extortion, etc.) and the sector it’s used in (agriculture, electoral politics, etc.). The result, first published by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace is a compendium of more than 500 distinct species of corruption in Nigeria.
THIRD COUNTRIES ALIGN WITH EU SANCTIONS REGIMES
On 31st August, the EU announced that –
- Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Moldova and Armenia had all agreed to align their sanctions prohibitions and restrictions in line with the revised list of designated persons and entities issued by the EU on 30th July;
- Montenegro, Albania, Norway, and Ukraine had agreed to align themselves with both types of sanctions concerned with Ukraine and Russia;
- Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Liechtenstein, Norway, Moldova and Armenia have agreed to align themselves with EU sanctions concerning the Maldives, with EU sanctions on ISIL (Da’esh)/Al-Qaida, its North Korean sanctions, and the sanctions relating to Libya
AUCKLAND FINANCE DIRECTOR SENTENCED FOR LAUNDERING DRUG MONEY
The New Zealand herald on 31st August reported that Xiaolan Xiao, a banned Auckland finance director has been fined $5.3 million after laundering dirty money for a high-profile multi-national drug deal. He is now also bankrupt after a High Court judge sentenced him for his “calculated and contemptuous disregard” for anti-money-laundering laws in connection with more than 1,500 transactions totalling $105.4 million.
9 PEOPLE CHARGED WITH £1.3 MILLION ONLINE CAR SALES FRAUD OFFENCES
The BBC on 31st August reported that 9 people have been charged by police in Kent investigating alleged sales scams with almost 200 victims reported paying cash to online car traders between August 2013 and August 2017, with no vehicles provided in return. A London joinery company was also allegedly defrauded, losing about £279,000.
TUNISIAN ENERGY MINISTER AND OFFICIALS SACKED OVER GRAFT ACCUSATIONS
Reuters on 31st August reported that energy minister, Khaled Kaddour, and 4 other senior figures linked to that ministry have been sacked over corruption accusations. The prime minister ordered an investigation and the merger of the ministries of energy and industry. Those sacked were accused of allowing a Tunisian investor to explore the Halk Manzel oilfield – one of the country’s most important sites – without having to go through a licensing round.
TIMESHARE TARGET FOR ‘RECOVERY FRAUD’
Professional Security Online on 31st August reported that fraudsters are looking to exploit previous fraudulent or mis-sold timeshare schemes and are telling victims that they are owed compensation. Victims who have invested in timeshares abroad are being contacted by what are claimed to be reputable authorities. Victims are being offered the chance, by phone call or letter, to reclaim money back from their timeshare or to exit early for a fee. Victims, who are from across the UK, are aged between 50 and 81.
COUNTERFEIT LEGO BRAND ORDERED TO PAY £1.7 MILLION IN DAMAGES
Gizmodo on 31st August reported that the Lego Group has just won a court case against Lepin, one of the most prolific Chinese manufacturers of cloned Lego sets. Lepin has been in operation for a number of years, taking Lego’s trademarked brands and recreating them to sell at much lower prices.
EU REGULATORS TO DISCUSS TIGHTENING CRYPTO REGULATIONS OVER TRANSPARENCY CONCERNS
Baker McKenzie on 31st August reported that finance ministers from the 28 EU Member States are reportedly going to hold an informal meeting in Vienna on 7th September to discuss tightening cryptocurrency regulations amid concerns over their potential use in illicit activities.
BRITISH COLUMBIA CASINOS CLAIM REVENUE DOWN BECAUSE OF NEW AML RULES
Baker McKenzie on 31st August reported that, according to financial results released in August, Great Canadian Gaming Corporation saw a fall in BC revenues in the first 6 months of 2018 due in part to declines in money earned at gaming tables at the River Rock Casino in Richmond. The company said that was primarily attributable to a new requirement requiring casinos to complete disclosures on the source of cash deposits or bearer bonds of more than $10,000 implemented in late December 2017 in response to interim recommendations from an independent review by Peter German, a former RCMP deputy commissioner.
Out-Law on 31st August published an analysis which says that recent sanctions imposed by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) on Canara Bank show the regulator’s increasing focus on AML systems and controls. The UK branch of the Indian bank was fined £896,100 by the FCA in June 2018 for breaching Principle 3 (taking reasonable steps to organise its affairs responsibly and effectively, with adequate risk management systems) of the FCA’s Principles for Businesses. It was also banned from accepting deposits from new customers for 147 days. The bank failed to maintain adequate AML systems and failed to take sufficient steps to remedy weaknesses in its AML systems and controls once notified by the FCA. The article says that the FCA has increasingly been using non-financial penalties in addition to imposing fines. The FCA has also shown that it will hold the relevant persons responsible for the failure to report AML system weaknesses to the FCA, or to implement the relevant requirements. Recent FCA notices found “systemic” weaknesses or failures in the banks’ AML systems and controls, and repeatedly noted that these failings were at “all levels” of the business and management; and there are repeated references to a “culture” of AML risk or failure to instil responsibility for compliance within the banks.
Silicon on 31st August reported that hackers may have accessed detailed passport information on Air Canada customers after the airline’s app was hacked, and which is integrated with its Aeroplan frequent flyer programme.
World ECR reports that Citibank has agreed to pay $60,000 in a settlement agreement with the US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security for breaches of the Export Administration Regulations concerning anti-boycott rules. It was accused of violations in supplying information about business relationships with boycotted countries or blacklisted individuals and complying with a foreign country’s boycott or embargo that the US does not recognise or permit its nationals to comply with.
See the settlement at –
The Economist on 30th August carried an article saying that according to the National Honey Board, per person consumption of the regurgitated nectar has doubled in America since the 1990s, and as demand has increased, prices have followed, but domestic production has not. This has given honey-sellers an incentive to dilute it with cheaper things like corn, rice and beet syrup. According to the US Pharmacopeia’s Food Fraud Database, honey is now the third-favourite food target for adulteration, behind milk and olive oil. Much comes from Asia, but high tariffs on Chinese honey also leads to diversion and misdescription to avoid these.
On 29th August, law firm HFW issued a briefing outlining the position of the re-imposed US sanctions on Iran and the effect of the EU Blocking regulation, which sets out to mitigate the effects of the re-imposed sanctions. It details the US sanctions being re-imposed w.e.f. from 6th August and 4th November. It examines the 4 key aspects of the Blocking Regulation. The article makes several recommendations for those who might be affected, including maintaining careful records to document the reasons for any decision to stop work or cease business operations in Iran on the basis of the EU operator’s own assessment of the economic situation, as opposed to the US extraterritorial sanctions which are the target of the EU Blocking Regulation.
On 29th August, Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP published an article about recent examples of victims (or their dependants) filing actions in the US courts against US companies that they said were guilty of providing support for terrorist organisations. The examples it quotes are where –
- military veterans and the relatives of troops killed in Iraq filed a lawsuit against several large international pharmaceuticals, accusing them of aiding and abetting terrorism by selling products to Iraq’s Ministry of Health which were used to finance operations by the notorious Mahdi Army; and
- a woman injured in the 2015 Paris attacks by ISIL sued Facebook, Twitter, and Google, alleging that the social media platforms assisted terrorists by allowing them to recruit members, distribute propaganda, and co-ordinate activities.
The argument being advanced is that financial services, social media, life sciences, and other companies have become targets of ATA actions on the theory that, by processing financial transactions and engaging in other commercial activities with terrorist groups, they are complicit in terrorist attacks. The article examines the background and the history of the 1987 Act, the standard for liability under the Act and provides advice for US companies which may be at risk. It says that financial institutions and public companies with global operations should be wary of potential exposure under the ATA, and should implement defensive measures to avoid inadvertently doing business with individuals or organisations associated with terrorism. Lawsuits under the ATA are a growing area of liability, the article contends, against which financial institutions and public companies should protect themselves, and recent moves are to make the Act more expansive.
On 22nd August, Bright Line Law published an article saying that on 11th July, the UK Supreme Court handed down a decision in an appeal of a pre-trial ruling on the test for ‘suspicion’ in the context of terrorist financing. The article sets out to distil the key findings from the decision and explores the implications for ‘suspicion’ in the context of the principal and secondary money laundering offences in Part 7 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. It says that the decision puts to rest any doubt that the offence of being concerned in terrorist funding is focused on an objective suspicion of terrorist financing as opposed to one subjectively held – where the information known to a person, examined objectively, gives reasonable cause to suspect that property will be used for terrorist purposes even if the person did not actually hold any such suspicion. However, due to what it calls discernible differences between POCA and the Terrorism Act 2000, the extent to which the decision informs the interpretation of the money laundering offence provisions in Part 7 POCA is limited.
30 August 2018
SPICE SHOULD BE UPGRADED TO CLASS A DRUG, SAY UK POLICE AND CRIME COMMISSIONERS
The Independent on 30 August reported that more than 20 Tory police and crime commissioners (PCC) have called on the government to reclassify the drug “spice” as a Class A substance and warned that the synthetic substance poses the “most severe” threat to public health in decades. Spice is currently a Class B drug, and is illegal to produce, supply or import in Britain.
PODCAST: US SANCTIONS AND THEIR IMPACT ON NON-US BUSINESSES
On 28 August, law firm Akin Gump published a podcast covering such things as the Trump administration’s use of sanctions as a policy tool and European reactions, Russia and Iran sanctions – US and European approaches, and the potential impact of extraterritoriality and secondary sanctions on non-US businesses.
CAMEROON COCOA BEANS STILL FLOWING OUT AS SMUGGLING INTO NIGERIA PICKS UP
Devdiscourse on 29 August reported that violence in the anglophone area of Cameroon and some cocoa farmers have also abandoned their plantations and fled, driven out by a rise in kidnappings, extortion, and fighting between insurgents and security forces. Cameroon is the world’s fifth-largest producer of cocoa.
NORTH WALES BUSINESSMAN INVESTIGATED OVER FRAUD ALLEGATIONS AFTER EXPATS IN SPAIN LOSE MILLIONS
The Daily Post on 29 August reported that Rhys Williams, 36, “totally and utterly” denied all allegations against him and added that he had acted in good faith in helping people with their investments.
GUATEMALAN SENATE BEGINS CORRUPTION INVESTIGATION OF PRESIDENT
Telesur on 29 August reported that days after Congress revoked its 2017 vote granting President Jimmy Morales prosecutorial immunity, lawmakers announced a commission to investigate the president for illicit campaign finance.
INDIAN BITCOIN “MASTERMIND” ALLEGEDLY SWINDLED $2.1 MILLION FROM INVESTORS
On 30 August, BTC Manager reported on Amit Bhardwaj, who reportedly threw expensive parties and investor summits in Dubai and Macau only to deceive his investors about their funds. Investors from India, China, Vietnam, Mauritius, Dubai and other countries were involved.
EX-FIFA BIGWIG SENTENCED TO 9 YEARS FOR BRIBERY
Law 360 reported on 29 August that former FIFA vice president and executive committee member Juan Angel Napout was sentenced to 9 years in prison in the US for agreeing to take nearly $25 million in bribes from sports marketing companies.
LAW FIRM PROSKAUER TO PAY $63 MILLION TO SETTLE STANFORD PONZI CASE
Law 360 reported on 29 August that a $63 million settlement will end further litigation against law firm Proskauer Rose LLP, which formerly employed a partner who represented entities affiliated with the fraud.
CAR-RUSSIA MILITARY AGREEMENT INCREASES PROSPECTS FOR MILITIA UNITY AND ASSOCIATED CIVIL WAR RISK IN 6-MONTH OUTLOOK
Janes.com on 29 August reported that militia groups in the Central African Republic are likely to become more willing to join forces and establish a united front against government troops following Russia’s military agreement with CAR, increasing associated risk of escalation to all-out civil war.
IS MAIL DELIVERED BUT UNOPENED STILL ‘IN THE COURSE OF ITS TRANSMISSION’?
PNLD on 29 August asked the question: is there any criminal offences if mail is opened up inside a property by someone that it is not addressed to, but where nothing was stolen from the post? When considering either of these offences, the issue is whether the mail, once delivered to the address, is still deemed to be ‘in the course of transmission’. The Postal Services Act says that a “Postal packet – in course of transmission, shall be taken to be in course of transmission by post from the time of its being delivered to any post office or post office letter box to the time of its being delivered to the addressee”. There is no further clarification provided upon the meaning ‘delivered to the addressee’ and therefore it is open to interpretation and would ultimately be a matter for the CPS and courts to decide.
SOLICITORS’ REGULATOR TO EXAMINE IMPACT OF NEW UK MONEY LAUNDERING RULES ON LAW FIRMS
On 30 August, KYC 360 reported that the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) has launched a survey into how firms and solicitors have responded to legislative changes set out in new AML regulations.
2 UK ONLINE GAMBLING COMPANIES TOLD TO REMOVE CASH WITHDRAWAL RESTRICTIONS
Accountancy Daily on 30th August reported that 2 online gambling companies – Jumpman Gaming and Progress Play – have been ordered to make it easier and fairer for players to withdraw their cash following action by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) against unfair practices in the industry.
US AND ISRAEL ANNOUNCE A JOINT TASK FORCE TO ENFORCE SANCTIONS ON IRAN
The Tower on 30th August reported a Jerusalem Post article which said that the team, which will be comprised of professionals from both governments, will have a special focus on sanctions related to the high-tech sector.
SWISS BANK BASLER KANTONALBANK ADMITS HELPING US CLIENTS HIDE INCOME
OCCRP on 30th August reported that this bank from Basel entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the US that includes the bank paying $60,4 million in penalties. The bank admits that between 2002 and 2012 it conspired with its employees, external asset managers and clients to defraud the US with respect to taxes, commit tax evasion and file false federal tax returns. Between July 2008 and March 2009, the bank opened 398 accounts for US customers, with a resulting inflow of approximately $441.6 million in new assets.
SFO SHUTS DOWN £17 MILLION SOLAR PANEL INVESTMENT SCAM
Accountancy Daily on 30th August reported that 6 men have been found guilty of running a £17 million fraudulent scheme to install solar panels which defrauded 1,500 victims including elderly, retired and vulnerable people, following a 4-year investigation spearheaded by the SFO into a scam to sell and install solar energy panels which would enable their customers to meet their power needs and generate extra income in addition via the government’s feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.
HMRC REVIEW INTO NON-VAT REGISTERED IMPORTERS OF GOODS INTO THE UK
VAT Live on 30th August reported that HMRC is to survey the numbers of businesses bringing goods into the country without a UK VAT registration to help understand if it can reduce the estimated £1.5 billion in VAT fraud. HMRC has hired an independent research company, IFF Research and will contact a random sample of VAT unregistered businesses for telephone surveys between August and December 2018.
SPANISH POLICE SAY SMUGGLED EUROPEAN EELS RAISED IN CHINA WERE THEN EXPORTED TO JAPAN
Customs Today on 30th August reported that young European eels are routinely smuggled to China, raised there for about half a year, then shipped to the Japanese market as demand for the fish spikes in the summertime, a senior Spanish police officer has said. The EU banned exports of the fish in 2010. Japan is a major destination for illegal exports of European eel, which is protected under CITES. The number of eels caught by Japanese fishers is on the decline, making them more expensive, but an old tradition that consuming the fish on the traditional day helps the body withstand the summer heat still leads to high levels of consumption.
HONG KONG CUSTOMS SEIZE $3.8 MILLION WORTH OF COCAINE STASHED IN RIMS OF CONTAINER DOORS
Customs Today on 30th August reported that Hong Kong customs said it has smashed a transnational drug smuggling syndicate, seizing a US$3.8 million of cocaine and making 3 arrests. 26 kg of suspected cocaine in 36 packs was found hidden in the door rims of a 20-foot container which arrived from Colombia.
FREEZING INJUNCTION DUTY OF DISCLOSURE ‘SHOULD NOT BE TAKEN LIGHTLY’
Out-Law on 30th August published an article saying that the UK High Court has discharged a $3 billion worldwide freezing order (WFO) granted in favour of the sovereign wealth fund of Angola due to “serious and substantial” breaches of its duty to provide full and frank disclosure of all material facts in the case. It was said that occasional errors in preparing the material in a case of this size and complexity can perhaps be understood.
FORMER VIETNAM CUSTOMS OFFICER GETS 16 YEARS SENTENCE FOLLOWING IVORY AND RHINO HORN THEFT FROM GOVERNMENT WAREHOUSE
Traffic on 29th August reported that former Customs Officer Pham Minh Hoang and accomplice Tran Trong Cuong have been sentenced to 16 years in prison for embezzlement after they were caught stealing seized ivory and rhino horn from a customs warehouse and replacing the goods with fakes. A third man, Hoang Van Dien, was sentenced to 2-years for trading prohibited goods.
MAN JAILED FOR £53 MILLION HEIST WILL NOT HAVE TO REPAY SHARE OF PROCEEDS
The Guardian on 29th August reported that Paul Allan, a cage fighter convicted of taking part in a £53 million-armed robbery has been excused from paying back his alleged share of £1.23 million of the stolen cash after a court hearing. The cash heist, the largest in British criminal history, involved a large gang, some posing as police officers where a manager and his family were kidnapped at gunpoint. The raiders left behind £153 million because they could not fit any more into their getaway lorry. Police later recovered £21 million of the missing cash; the remainder has never been found.
UK FURTHER EASES IN-CABIN LAPTOP BAN
AIN Online on 30th August reported that the UK has said it had lifted a ban on carrying laptops and other large electronic devices such as tablets and large mobile phones in the aircraft cabin on all UK-bound flights from Cairo airport, making it the 4th Egyptian airport exempted from the UK’s electronics ban. Egypt joins Tunisia as the only countries where the in-cabin electronics restrictions no longer apply in any of their airports. In March 2017, London banned laptops and other large electronic devices on UK-bound flights from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia as a precaution against a potential terrorism threat. The new rules applied to all flights from those countries to the UK, regardless of whether British or foreign carriers operated them.
MONETARY AUTHORITY OF SINGAPORE (MAS) 12-YEAR PROHIBITION ORDERS AGAINST FORMER EMPLOYEE OF UNITED OVERSEAS BANK (UOB)
Mondo Visione on 30th August reported that MAS has issued 12-year prohibition orders against Mr Lee Chang Yeh Bentley, under the Securities and Futures Act (SFA) and the Financial Advisers Act (FAA). From May 2009 to January 2013, in the course of carrying out his fund management business, Mr Lee misappropriated approximately S$520,000 from the monies entrusted to him by clients whom he had served whilst with UOB.
IRAN IS COMPLYING WITH NUCLEAR DEAL RESTRICTIONS – IAEA REPORT
Reuters on 30th August reported that Iran has remained within the main restrictions on its nuclear activities imposed by a 2015 deal with major powers, a confidential report by the UN watchdog indicated. The IAEA said Iran had stayed within the caps on uranium enrichment levels, enriched uranium stocks and other items.