OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 23

23 August 2018

WHAT THE NEW STATUS OF THE CASPIAN WILL CHANGE

On 21 August, the Carnegie Center published an article on the recently signed by the 5 Caspian Sea nations – Russia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Azerbaijan.  It argues that, at least for Russian and Iran, the key issue is security and they are trying above all to prevent the presence in the Caspian Sea of states from outside the region, especially any military presence.  This chiefly concerns the US, and no one is attempting to hide that. It says that the search for a compromise led to the issue of definitively partitioning the bottom of the Caspian (and its potential gas) being put off until a future time.

https://carnegie.ru/commentary/77078

CYPRUS INSURER’S BANKRUPTCY SENDS SHOCKWAVES THROUGH BULGARIA

EurActiv on 23 August reported that the liquidation of Cyprus’ Olympic Insurance, largely unnoticed on the island, is sending shockwaves through Bulgaria as it has left almost 200,000 policyholders with no coverage, causing a serious political crisis.  They hold compulsory third-party car liability policies with the Cypriot company and have been left without cover and can be fined by the traffic police if they are caught driving their cars.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/elections/news/cyprus-insurers-bankruptcy-sends-shockwaves-through-bulgaria/

ILLEGAL PRICE FIXING CASTS SHADOW ON SWISS CONSTRUCTION SECTOR

Swissinfo on 23 August reported that Switzerland’s Competition Commission (COMCO) has published a 300-page report on illegal price-fixing in the Swiss Alps.  The report details how construction companies in the Lower Engadin, a region in south-east Switzerland, have manipulated tenders in the construction and public works sectors for years.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/business/-chronic-corruption_illegal-price-fixing-casts-shadow-on-swiss-construction-sector/44346932?src=ilaw

Q&A: COMOROS POWER GRAB REJECTED BY OPPOSITION, AMID PLEAS FOR INTERNATIONAL INTERVENTION

The Inter Press Service on 23 August published a Q&A on the situation in the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean; where former president Ahmed Abdallah Sambi has been charged with corruption and the misappropriation of public funds in a passport fraud, and current President Azali Assoumani is tightening his grip on power.

http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/08/qa-comoros-power-grab-rejected-opposition-amid-pleas-international-intervention/?src=ilaw

BELGIAN DREDGING COMPANY, JAN DE NUL, DENIES INVOLVEMENT IN ARGENTINE CORRUPTION SCANDAL

The Brussels Times on 23 August reported that Dredging company Jan De Nul, one of Belgium’s most internationally successful companies, had denied accusations it took part in an Argentinian bribery scandal, currently being investigated by the country’s authorities. The case concerns Hidrovia, a 50-50 joint venture between Jan De Nul and local company Emepa. Hidrovia was awarded a contract in 1996 for the dredging of the Parana river and the right to levy a toll on shipping. http://www.brusselstimes.com/business/12316/dredging-giant-jan-de-nul-denies-involvement-in-argentine-corruption-scandal?src=ilaw

MOLDOVA’S BIGGEST PROBLEM IS POPULATION LOSS NOT CORRUPTION, SAYS PRESIDENT

On 23 August, Rferl carried an article concerning an interview with President Igor Dodon.

https://www.rferl.org/a/dodon-moldova-s-biggest-problem-is-population-loss-not-corruption/29448972.html?src=ilaw

RUSSIA IS PREPARING TO SEARCH FOR A NUCLEAR-POWERED MISSILE THAT WAS LOST AT SEA MONTHS AGO AFTER A FAILED TEST

CBNC reported on 23 August a claim that a nuclear-powered Russian missile remains lost in the Barents Sea after a failed test late last year.  It is said that the operation will include 3 vessels, one of which is equipped to handle radioactive material from the weapon’s nuclear core.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/08/21/russias-nuclear-powered-missile-that-putin-claimed-had-infinite-range-is-currently-lost-at-sea.html?&qsearchterm=missile

CLAIM MANAGEMENT COMPANIES IN UK TO FOOT BILL FOR THEIR REGULATION

The Law Society Gazette on 23 August reported that CMC will have to pay more than £7 million next year to set up a scheme to regulate the sector, the FCA has revealed.  The sum to be paid in 2019-120 is 42% of the total initial cost of taking over responsibility for the sector.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/claims-farmers-to-foot-17m-bill-for-regulation/5067306.article

RAISING AWARENESS OF CIVIL ASSET RECOVERY ‘COULD CUT FRAUD’

Out-Law on 23 August published an article saying that fraud rates could be cut if more businesses were made aware of the options that can be explored before the civil courts to recover stolen assets, an expert has said.  The expert at the law firm behind Out-Law was was commenting after the City of London Police announced a new partnership with Lloyds Bank that will see the two organisations work more closely together to combat fraud and other economic crime.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/august/civil-asset-fraud-rates-raising-awareness/

BORDEAUX WIN AGAINST COUNTERFEITERS IN CHINA “WILL PROVIDE BOOST TO WINEMAKERS AND EXPORTERS”

Caterer Licensee Hotelier News reported on 23 August on a recent landmark case in favor of the Conseil Interprofessionnel du Vin de Bordeaux (CIVB or Bordeaux Wine Council), which represents more than 7,000 Bordeaux-based wine producers, against wine counterfeiters selling fake editions of some of the region’s most prized chateaux.  CIVB estimates that approximately 30,000 bottles of fake imported wine are sold per hour in China.

http://catererlicensee.com/bordeaux-win-against-counterfeiters-in-china-will-provide-boost-to-winemakers-and-exporters-predicts-globaldata/

APPLYING FOR A TRANSIT VISA TO TRAVEL THROUGH THE UK: STEP BY STEP

On 23 August, the UK Government issued step-by-step guidance on what you need to do before you can apply for a visa to pass through the UK in transit (on your way to another country).

https://www.gov.uk/apply-transit-visa

GUPTAS AND SOUTH AFRICAN DIAMONDS

OCCRP on 23 August carried a report about links between the Gupta family and Shrenuj Group, which was one of India’s largest diamond and jewelry manufacturers.  It alleges that the company was among those that received South African state funding stolen by the disgraced Gupta family.

https://www.occrp.org/en/28-ccwatch/cc-watch-indepth/8500-how-the-guptas-milked-south-africa-for-diamonds

CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS APPROVE BILL TO REMOVE MARIJUANA CONVICTIONS

Jurist on 23 August reported that the California State Legislature has approved a Bill requiring California prosecutors to erase or reduce tens of thousands of marijuana criminal convictions. The legislation is expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2018/08/california-passes-bill-to-erase-or-reduce-tens-of-thousands-of-marijuana-criminal-convictions-done/

INTERCOMMUNAL VIOLENCE IN THE MIDDLE BELT IS THE BIGGEST CRISIS IN NIGERIA

Control Risks on 23 August published a report which outlines the several, various threats faced by President Buhari.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/buharis-biggest-headache

MULTI-COUNTRY EFFORT SINKS LATIN AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL DRUG TRAFFICKING NETWORK

Insight Crime on 23 August published an article saying that a joint operation between 4 Latin American countries dismantled a drug trafficking organisation with diversified and specialised operations that extend across the continent – Neptune’s Spear (Arpón de Neptuno).

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/multi-country-effort-sinks-international-drug-trafficking-network/

CREDIT SUISSE FREEZES $5 BILLION OF RUSSIAN MONEY DUE TO US SANCTIONS

On 23 August, KYC 360 reported that the move by Credit Suisse, which owned aircraft surrendered by Russian tycoon Oleg Deripaska and had lent money to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg before the sanctions, underscores a widespread fear among banks of reprisals from Washington for working with targeted Russian individuals and entities.

https://kyc360.com/news/credit-suisse-freezes-5-billion-of-russian-money-due-to-u-s-sanctions/

IRISH REVENUE SEIZE 8.3 MILLION SMUGGLED CIGARETTES WORTH OVER €4.5 MILLION IN DUBLIN

The Irish Revenue Commissioners on 23 August reported that Revenue officers seized 8.3 million smuggled cigarettes that arrived into Dublin Port aboard a vessel from Rotterdam.  The cigarettes were identified in a shipping container said to contain ‘car parts’.

https://www.revenue.ie/en/corporate/press-office/press-releases/2018/pr-230818-cigarettes-dublin.aspx

SMALL ARMS TRADE TRANSPARENCY BAROMETER – WHICH COUNTRIES THE MOST TRANSPARENT ON ARMS EXPORTS?

The 2018 edition of the Small Arms Trade Transparency Barometer, published on 23 August, analyses the transparency of the authorised small arms trade in 2015.  It identifies, in descending order, Switzerland, the Netherlands, UK, Italy, and Serbia as the most transparent exporters for 2015. The least transparent exporters for 2015 are, in ascending order, Iran, North Korea, UAE, Saudi Arabia, and Israel.

http://www.smallarmssurvey.org/?highlight-bp-transparency

GLOBAL MILITARY DRONE INDUSTRY EXPANDS RAPIDLY

Dutch NGO Pax for Peace on 23 August published a report which says that the number of military drone producers and exporters has grown significantly in recent years.  While the US, Israel and China are dominating the high-tech segment of the global drone market, emerging drone technology producers are focusing on gaining a substantial share of the middle- and small-range sector of the market for military drones. The survey conducted for the report indicates that there are 21 countries producing at least 60 different types of drones within this segment, serving a global market estimated to be worth $20 billion.

https://www.paxforpeace.nl/stay-informed/news/global-military-drone-industry-expands-rapidly

FBI TACKLES THEFT OF VIRTUAL SOCCER CURRENCY

King & Spalding on 23 August published an article saying that the FBI has charged a 25-year-old hacker with illegally accessing the computer servers of FIFA 2018, a popular sports video game, and stealing $324,000 worth of game licences and in-game virtual currency.  He is alleged to have hacked into computer networks operated by the game’s publisher and hijacked the accounts of some 25,000 users. He is said to have stolen virtual currency and copies of the game, which were re-sold on the black market.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/fbi-tackles-theft-of-virtual-soccer-36428/

UK EXPORT CONTROL: ADVICE ON A BREXIT NO-DEAL SITUATION

On 23 August, the Department for International Trade published Notice to Exporters 2018/21, which contains a technical notice for stakeholders on how export controls would be affected if the UK leaves the EU with no deal.  It explains –

  • how export licensing requirements for different groups of items would change;
  • what the UK government would do to simplify licensing; and
  • where exporters of military and dual-use items, civilian firearms, and other goods can find relevant information.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-exporters-201821-government-publishes-no-deal-technical-notice-on-export-control-regulation

See also the “non-technical” note –

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/exporting-controlled-goods-if-theres-no-brexit-deal/exporting-controlled-goods-if-theres-no-brexit-deal

MONEYVAL: LATVIA MUST DO MORE TO TACKLE MONEY LAUNDERING

On 23 August, Reuters reported that Moneyval has said that Latvia must do more to enforce its laws against financial crimes,  in a report published in the wake of the collapse of the country’s third-largest bank, ABLV, in a money laundering scandal.  Latvia has been ordered to report to Moneyval at the last plenary meeting in 2019 about the implementation of its recommendations under enhanced follow-up procedures.

https://www.reuters.com/article/latvia-banks-report/latvia-must-do-more-to-tackle-money-laundering-watchdog-idUSL8N1VE1N4?src=ilaw

https://emerging-europe.com/business/moneyval-calls-on-latvia-to-clean-up-banking-sector/?src=ilaw

https://www.coe.int/en/web/portal/-/moneyval-calls-for-actions-to-combat-money-laundering-and-terrorist-financing-in-line-with-latvia-s-risk-profile?src=ilaw

 

UK BRIEFING PAPER: ACTIONS AGAINST BANK ACCOUNT SCAMS

On 23 August, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which says that “push payment” scams are a growing form of financial fraud.  The industry, financial regulators and the police are working together to try to reduce its impact. This note outlines some current initiatives.

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-8350