14th August 2018
CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT IN MONTENEGRO
On 9th August, Eurofast Global published an article saying that from October 2018 Montenegro will grant citizenship by investment to 2,000 qualifying entrepreneurs from non- EU Countries for a limited period of 3 years, if they invest €250,000 in projects located in non-developed areas of Montenegro and approved by the government; or €450,000 in projects located in developed areas of Montenegro and approved by the government. An additional amount of €100,000 will be required for each submitted application.
ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK: FUEL-MARKING PROGRAMMES: HELPING GOVERNMENTS RAISE REVENUE, COMBAT SMUGGLING, AND IMPROVE THE ENVIRONMENT
The ADB report, mentioned in relation to the Philippines’ fuel smuggling problems, dates from 2015, and can be accessed here –
POLAND PLANS TO SEND 1,000 TONNES OF SMUGGLED WASTE BACK TO UK
Urdupoint on 12th August quoted Greenpeace is saying that the Polish authorities are planning to send back 1,000 tonnes of waste illegally transported to the country from the UK disguised as plastic recycling.
SHIA MILITIA “SMUGGLES OIL FROM KURDISTAN TO IRAN”
Oil Price on 13th August reported the claims of an Iraqi MP that Iran-affiliated militia Hashd al-Shaabi is smuggling oil from the Kirkuk province in Iraq into Iran. This is not the first report of oil smuggling by the Shia militia. In April, Kurdish media carried reports claiming that Hashd al-Shaabi was using the money it gets for the smuggled oil to strengthen its positions in Iraq. However, the news site says that Hashd al-Shaabi is not the only one smuggling oil, it seems, an official of the Iraqi Integrity Commission being quoted as saying that billions of dollars’ worth of crude had been smuggled from Iraq in the 5 years to 2017, with corruption rife in the oil ministry and the government is powerless to stop it.
CAYMAN ISLANDS FUND MANAGERS NEW AML REQUIREMENTS
On 13th August, Hardin Compliance Consulting LLC published an article summarising the content of new guidelines issued by the Cayman Islands’ authorities for Financial Service Providers (FSP) for complying with the AML Regulations.
and referring to the GUIDANCE NOTES ON THE PREVENTION AND DETECTION OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS published in December 2017 –
EXPERTS SAY LIBERIA NEEDS GREATER POLITICAL WILL TO FIGHT MONEY LAUNDERING
The Bush Chicken website in Liberia on 13th August reported that the head of Liberia’s anti-corruption agency and one of the country’s leading experts on money laundering has called for a greater political will to combat graft that allows corrupt officials to take millions of dollars out of Liberia every year. He said some people in senior positions in government were colluding and hiding documents, making work difficult for anti-graft institutions. Post-conflict Liberia has long struggled to combat illicit financial flows, particularly money laundering, despite the efforts of the Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission and the FIU. According to Global Financial Integrity, Liberia loses hundreds of millions of dollars a year in illicit financial flows, including money-laundering, trade misinvoicing and other forms of corruption.
CHINESE AUTHORITIES CRACK DOWN ON TAX DODGES, ILLEGAL CAPITAL REMITTANCES BY CELEBRITIES
The South China Morning Post on 13th August reported that a joint investigation involves the nation’s tax bureau, the foreign exchange watchdog, financial crime investigators and regulators of the publishing, broadcasting and sports bureaus, according to several sources. A task force has been assembled, headed by a vice-ministerial level police official and an expert in the investigation of commercial crimes and money laundering.
EU TRADE OUTLOOK ALARMS AFRICA’S BANANA EXPORTERS
Politico on 14th August reported that African banana growers fear that Brexit and the EU pursuit of trade deals across Latin America will deal a knock-out blow to their businesses. Brexit is also a concern, as the UK accounts for 20% of the EU banana market and African producers worry that the UK will prioritise cheaper American bananas post-Brexit. The EU is also keen to sign a landmark trade deal with the Mercosur trading bloc and Brazil, Mercosur’s dominant economy, is a leading banana producer. In the past, Latin American countries and the US waged a 15-year long battle against the EU for its policy of favouring African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. African exports are already dwarfed by Latin American ones.
SINGAPORE AND BVI COURTS CO-OPERATE OM MAREVA INJUNCTION AGAINST ALLEGED CROSS-BORDER FRAUD
On 14th August, Harneys published an article about a Mareva injunction (aka civil freezing order) obtained in the BVI being backed by the courts in Singapore. It was claimed that the defendants had conspired to defraud the claimant by falsely inflating the performance of the entity in which it was investing and had conspired to misappropriate those investments by making sham loans to fraudulent borrowers. The article says that the decision demonstrates the importance of consistency between courts in multiple jurisdictions in complex cross-border cases; and that the Judicial Insolvency Network Guidelines, which (although not used in this case) have been adopted in Singapore and the BVI, can be extremely beneficial.
The Guidelines may be found at –
SWITZERLAND’S ZKB BANK TO PAY $98 MILLION TO END US PROBE OF TAX EVASION
Reuters on 14th August reported on another case involving a deferred prosecution agreement where wealthy Americans were using undeclared Swiss bank accounts. 2 bankers at Zurcher Kantonalbank (ZKB) also pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanour conspiracy charge, which carries a maximum prison sentence of 1 year; they were originally indicted on a more serious felony charge in 2012. They both admitted that they provided services to American clients while they “deliberately avoided learning” that the clients were using their accounts to avoid paying US taxes.
RAFALE EXPLAINER – GUIDE TO INDIA’S “BIGGEST EVER” CORRUPTION SCANDAL
On 14th August, Scroll in India carried an article which sets out to provide the background to the alleged corruption involved in the deal to purchase of Rafale jet fighters from France in 2015.
UK: CLOSE TO £400 MILLION LOST TO INVESTMENT FRAUD IN JUST OVER 2 YEARS AS REGULATORS LAUNCH PENSION SCAMS TV CAMPAIGN
City AM on 14th August carried this report as the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and The Pensions Regulator (TPR) launch a TV advertising campaign to raise awareness of pension scams.
INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIONS IN IRELAND
On 14th August, Irish law firm Mathesons published the Irish chapter of the latest (eight) edition of The International Investigations Review. It covers such subjects as self-reporting, internal investigations and whistle-blowers. It then goes on to examine the international perspective – noting, for example, Ireland does not, in general, assert extraterritorial jurisdiction in respect of acts conducted outside the jurisdiction. However, extraterritorial jurisdiction may be conferred by statute to varying degrees. In the international context it touches upon corruption and money laundering, and international co-operation.
24 SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN EU-WIDE ACTION WEEK AGAINST CHILD TRAFFICKING
Europol on 14th August reported that during one week in July, law enforcement officers from 22 Member States, other European countries and partner agencies actively participated in an EMPACT THB Action on Child-trafficking. As a result of the action 51 children and 72 adults were identified as potential victims of trafficking. The youngest child was only 2 years old. The children were exploited for labour, forced begging and sexual purposes.
JAPANESE REGIONAL BANKS EYE INFORMATION-SHARING TO COMBAT FINANCIAL CRIME
Baker McKenzie on 13th August reported that a group of 64 regional banks in Japan is considering the establishment of an information-sharing system that will help in the fight against money laundering and financial crime ahead of an upcoming inspection by FATF in 2019.
HSBC EXPECTS TO PAY $1.5 BILLION IN TAX EVASION, MONEY LAUNDERING FINES
KYC 360 on 14th August reported that HSBC has set aside $632 million to settle a number of investigations into allegations of tax evasion and other crimes such as money laundering, but expects the amount could go up to $1.5bn, according to its interim results. It says that the bank is currently being investigated and reviewed by various tax administrations, regulatory and cover allegations of tax evasion, money laundering and unlawful cross-border banking solicitation.
WHY ARE NERVE AGENTS SO DIFFICULT TO MAKE?
Bellingcat on 13th August carried an article saying that nerve agents, both in the form of Sarin in Syria and in the form of the so-called Novichok A-234 in the UK, continue to claim both victims and headlines. A recurring theme, repeatedly early on in the Syrian chemical war, and oft-repeated, is that somehow nerve agents are easy to make. However, the article argues that none of the chemical warfare agents in the nerve agent category are easy to manufacture, and none of them lends themselves to a small improvised process.
PROTECTING NGO AND HUMANITARIAN AID FROM RISK
An article in the Wall Street Journal’s Risk & Compliance Journal listed some typical challenges an NGO involved in providing humanitarian aid may encounter, which can make them more vulnerable to fraud, corruption, reputational, and other risks; and how the NGO might mitigate against them.
WAKED ORGANISATION – PANAMA BUSINESSMAN LOSES APPEAL SEEKING EVIDENCE FOR US SANCTIONS
The Wall Street Journal on 10th August reported that Abdul Mohamed Waked Fares, the patriarch of a powerful Panamanian business family has lost his appeal to access evidence used to justify US sanctions on him, members of his family and his companies, the court in the US saying that argument used to seek to obtain the sources of the evidence against him was “artificially extreme”.
Meanwhile, it is reported that the US authorities have filed an appeal against a court decision not to impose a forfeiture order against Nidal Ahmed Waked Hatum following his conviction for money laundering, saying that the banks had suffered no losses, and that his role was not paramount.
NEW CHANGES TO THE US FOREIGN INVESTMENT LAWS: WHAT FOREIGN INVESTORS NEED TO KNOW
Another briefing on the effect of changes to the US law governing foreign investments, and the attempt to protect, it is said, the US national security interests. This one is from US law firm, Torres Law on 13th August. It details the changes made, including one often overlooked – real estate transactions where a foreign person leases or purchases real estate in close proximity to US military or other sensitive US government locations, or where the property is located in or will function as part of an air or maritime port and if such property could reasonably facilitate the collection of intelligence, expose the property to the risk of foreign surveillance, or otherwise expose national security activities at such US government site.
HEREFORD UNITED FA CUP LEGEND RICKY GEORGE JAILED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
On 14th August, the BBC reported that the man who scored the winning goal when Hereford United knocked Newcastle out of the FA Cup in 1972 has been jailed for money laundering. Ricky George, 72, and his son Adam, 40, have been jailed along with a third man. The fraud involved the sale of a house without the knowledge or consent of the owner.
PLAYBOY ENTERPRISES IS SUING A CRYPTOCURRENCY TECHNOLOGY COMPANY ON ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD AND BREACH OF CONTRACT RE AN AGREEMENT TO INTEGRATE BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY INTO PLAYBOY’S ONLINE MEDIA CHANNELS
Gulf News on 14th August reported that the lawsuit claims that Playboy reached an agreement in March with the Canadian company, Global Blockchain Technologies, under which it would implement the third-party cryptocurrency on Playboy’s adult websites.
RUSSIAN BUSINESSMAN VINOGRADOV DETAINED IN SLOVAKIA OVER REAL ESTATE FRAUD
The Spectator in Slovakia on 14th August reported that in July Slovakia’s National Criminal Agency (NAKA) arrested, based on an international arrest warrant issued by the Russian authorities, Russian businessman Valentin Vinogradov at the horse races in the town of Šamorín. One of the complainants in the case, along with the Russian state bank VEB, was part of the Trump Tower project worth some half a billion euros and the website says this raises concerns about a possible link between Russia’s Kremlin and US President Donald Trump.
NAURU “FULLY COMPLIANT” WITH EU TAX AND FINANCIAL SECURITY REGULATIONS
The Fiji Times on 14th August reported that Nauru has been confirmed as fully compliant with EU tax and financial security regulations at a recent EU international tax seminar in Fiji. Nauru was previously of “monitored” status, which effectively meant it was blacklisted like many other Pacific countries from being able to fully participate in many global financial initiatives of both the EU and OECD. Nauru is said to have has fulfilled the strict requirements of the EU’s base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) regime requirements.
SOLICITORS IN THE DOCK OVER ALLEGED LEGAL AID FRAUD
The Law Society Gazette on 14th August reported that 6 solicitors – including 2 part-time judges – were among 9 people who appeared in court in relation to allegedly fraudulent legal aid claims made for more than £12.6 million.