12th August 2018
MANILA PORT CUSTOMS CHIEF SACKED OVER BIG SHABU (METHAMPHETAMINE) SHIPMENTS
The Manila Standard on 12th August reported that the Customs Commissioner has sacked BoC-Manila International Container Port district collector Vener Baquiran and ordered the investigation of an accredited importer following the discovery of 500 kg of shabu at the MICP and another in Cavite.
ANCIENT SILVER FLASK SEIZED AT GATWICK REVEALED FOR THE FIRST TIME, AHEAD OF RETURN TO AFGHANISTAN
The Telegraph on 11th August reported that it is believed to be 4,000 years old and was dug up illicitly in Afghanistan and smuggled to Britain. It was seized at Gatwick in 2016, but whether Britain was its ultimate destination is unclear as smugglers use London’s airports as transit hubs.
NEW YORKER IMPRISONED FOR SMUGGLING $150,000 IN LION AND TIGER PARTS
National Geographic on 10th August reported that Arogkron Malasukum, a US citizen from Thailand, bought the items from undercover federal agents. By removing teeth from tiger and lion skulls, sorting them into individual parcels, and disguising the contents by labelling them “dog toys” and “home decorations”, he shipped 68 of the illicit packages to Thailand in less than 2 years. The article says that Malasukum’s case stemmed from an ongoing major US Fish and Wildlife Service investigation targeting the illegal trade in rhinoceros horn and elephant ivory in response to international poaching and smuggling syndicates. Named Operation Crash, the term for a group of rhinos, the multinational covert operation began 7 years ago when wildlife law enforcement became aware of an increase in rhino poaching and dozens of people have been convicted of illegally trafficking.
KEY IRAN COUNCIL BACKS AML MOVE
Reuters on 12th August reported that a top Iranian constitutional body, the Guardian Council, which vets legislation passed by parliament for compliance with Iran’s constitution, has approved measures passed by parliament to bring the country more into line with global AML standards, as Iran tries to attract investments despite the re-imposition of US sanctions. And in the hope it will be removed from a blacklist that makes some reluctant foreign investors.
WHY FINANCIAL CRIMINALS USE REAL ESTATE TO LAUNDER MONEY
The Curbed website on 10th August carried an article in the light of the Paul Manafort case, and saying that property is stable, functional, and less scrutinised than other landing spots for ill-gotten gains. Real estate prices are generally stable and will appreciate over time and real estate is also functional; a money launderer could use the property as a second home or rent it out, earning income from the investment.
SURINAMESE WOMEN FINED FOR TRYING TO LEAVE JAMAICA WITH ILLICIT CASH, SOME HIDDEN IN THEIR VAGINA
The Jamaica Observer on 12th August reported that she has been fined a total of $300,000, after pleading guilty to breaches of the Proceeds of Crime Act. Hairdressers, Ingrid Asaite, 31, and Claudia Clydesdale, 30, who had visited for Reggae Sumfest in Montego Bay were both fined $100,000 each or told to spend 6 months in prison for possession of criminal property. They were also ordered to pay $50,000 each or serve 6 months in prison on charges of concealment of criminal property and facilitating the retention of criminal property. Another Surinamese national, Dellroy Sanduliet, who was also held along with the women and found with $12,700 and €50 in his wallet and bag, also pleaded guilty to attempting to remove criminal property from Jamaica and was ordered to pay $10,000 or serve 3 months in prison.
IRAN: IS FRENCH COMPANY OUT OF SOUTH PARS GAS PROJECT AND REPLACED BY CHINA?
VOA on 11th August reported that China’s state-owned petroleum corporation has taken a majority share of the country’s South Pars gas project after French oil and gas company Total announced it would pull out because renewed US economic sanctions.
However, according to Rferl on 12th August and contradicting other reports, the Oil Ministry news agency SHANA quoted a senior Iranian oil official as saying the gas-field developmental contract remained unchanged.
US SANCTIONS SQUEEZE FREIGHT COMPANIES FROM IRAN
Lloyds Loading List on 12th August reported that international freight forwarding and logistics firms look set to withdraw from business with Iran due to tightening US sanctions and fears about their legal consequences, despite attempts by Europe to support JCPOA that lifted UN nuclear sanctions on Iran in January 2016. major container lines including CMA CGM, Maersk and MSC have confirmed their withdrawal from Iran in the face of the renewed US sanctions against the country. CMA CGM has also suspended its co-operation agreement with IRISL.
US NATIONWIDE LAW ENFORCEMENT AND EDUCATION INITIATIVE AIMED AT STOPPING VETERAN-RELATED CHARITY FRAUD
Target Letter law blog on 12th August reported that in July the Federal Trade Commission announced Operation Donate with Honor, a nationwide law enforcement and education initiative aimed at stopping veteran-related charity fraud. As part of it, the Attorney general has filed suits against 2 charities alleging that they were donating little to no money to their advertised causes and using deceptive practices to draw in donations. One charity sells dozens of memorial bracelets, military decals, hats and shirts on their website; the other promised to use donations to help veterans receive medical treatment that the Department of Veterans Affairs does not provide. The posting cautions readers to research before they donate in order to ensure that money is going to a legitimate cause.
SFO SUSPENDS LAWYER IN CHARGE OF UNAOIL BRIBERY INVESTIGATION
City AM on 12th August reported that Tom Martin, the senior lawyer in charge of an ongoing criminal investigation into Monaco-based oil firm Unaoil has been suspended for alleged gross misconduct. It reminds one that the SFO opened its investigation into Unaoil, which provides services in the Middle East, central Asia and Africa, in March 2016, and in June announced it was bringing 4 charges of corruption against the company in relation to alleged corrupt payments to secure construction contracts in Iraq for 2 multinationals.
PAKISTAN: BILLIONAIRE MIAN MANSHA SUMMONSED IN A $95 MILLION MONEY LAUNDERING CASE
Customs Today on 12th August reported that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has ordered billionaire businessman Mian Muhammad Mansha to appear before it in a money laundering case. Mansha is described as the head of the Nishat Group and MCB and one of the richest people in Pakistan.
FRANCE, GERMANY, ITALY, AND UK ARE STRENGTHENING THEIR ECONOMIC DEFENCES AGAINST CHINA. WILL MORE FOLLOW?
On 12th August, the European Council on Foreign Relations published an article posing this question, saying that the EU is posed to impose an investment screen in the near future. It says that by the end of 2018, France, Germany, Italy, and UK will all have taken important steps to protect economic assets from foreign takeovers. This unprecedented securitisation of foreign investment is a response to China’s plan to create global innovative industrial champions for itself, including in the defence sector.
THOUSANDS IN THE MILLION MARCH AGAINST CORRUPTION IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Prensa Latina on 12th August reported that thousands of Dominicans are participating in the Million March Against Corruption and Impunity in the metropolitan area of this capital convened by the Green March collective. In June, the Attorney General’s Office filed a formal accusation and requested the opening of a trial in the case involving Brazilian construction and engineering company Odebrecht against businessman Angel Rondon, former President Andres Bautista, and former General Secretary of the Revolutionary Modern Party, Jesus Vasquez. The list also includes former Minister of Public Works and former Finance Secretary of the Dominican Liberation Party, Victor Diaz Rua, lawyer Conrado Pittaluga Arzeno, senator from San Cristobal Tommy Galan, and former senator Juan Roberto Rodriguez Hernandez.