OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – AUGUST 27

27 August 2018

SWITZERLAND: AMENDMENTS TO ANTI-MONEY LAUNDERING ACT – CONSULTATION PROCESS INITIATED

On 27 August, CMS von Erlach Poncet published an article saying that on 1 June the Federal Council initiated the consultation on a number of amendments to the Anti-money Laundering Act.  The Bill marks the third bundle of legislative measures to comprehensively implement the recommendations of FATF in its latest mutual evaluation report on Switzerland. The amendments extend the Act to cover providers of services relating to establishing, managing or administering companies and trusts;  explicitly require financial intermediaries to verify information on beneficial owners; reduces the threshold for cash payments in precious metals and gem trading to SF15,000; and extends coverage to non-profit organisations.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/White-Collar-Crime/Switzerland/CMS-von-Erlach-Poncet-Ltd/Amendments-to-Anti-Money-Laundering-Act-consultation-process-initiated

HOW NORTH KOREAN DEFECTORS USED CHINA TO REMIT MONEY HOME

The South China Morning Post on 27 August reported on how North Koreans smuggle money home to their families.  Relatives travel to the border and use smuggled Chinese SIM cards to tap into telecommunications signals across the Yalu River.  It says remittances vary but a 2016 survey found that about 60% of the 200 respondents sent $900-$1,800 each year via agents in China and North Korea while one person reported sending $9,000 a year.  About 70% said they transferred money regularly. Money was sent via a network of trusted Chinese and North Korean brokers, including smugglers who carried the cash across the border, together with other smuggled Chinese goods – and brokers take a heavy cut, usually 30% of the total, according to defectors.

https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy-defence/article/2161469/brief-and-dangerous-chinese-lifelines-north-korean

SHIPOWNERS FACE DRUG SMUGGLING THREAT AT BRAZIL PORTS

Tradewinds cautions on 27 August that much of cocaine reaching Europe thought to have moved through Port of Santos.  Shipowners using Brazilian ports have been warned that drug smugglers may target their vessels in a bid to export drugs to the west.

http://www.tradewindsnews.com/casualties/1563609/shipowners-face-drug-smuggling-threat-at-brazil-ports

ISRAELI SAILOR HELD IN COLOMBIA ACCUSED OF SMUGGLING 234 KG OF COCAINE

The Times of Israel on 27 August reported that story of Roy Arez, who Colombian authorities say they are holding an Israeli sailor on suspicion of drug trafficking after more than 200 kg of cocaine were found on board his yacht.  It is said he had been in Panama and agreed to take on 2 Israeli passengers. After 3 days of sailing, he dropped the pair off in Panama and then set off alone for Jamaica. At some point while he was out at sea, a fishing boat, apparently operated by pirates, caught up with him and forced him at gunpoint to take on a man he had never met before.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-sailor-held-in-colombia-accused-of-smuggling-234-kilograms-of-cocaine/

REPORT TO US CONGRESS ON IRAN’S THREATS, THE STRAIT OF HORMUZ, AND OIL MARKETS

USNI News on 27 August provided an August 6th US Congressional Research Service Report, “Iran’s Threats, the Strait of Hormuz, and Oil Markets: In Brief”.  The report says that the exchanges of threats between members of the governments of Iran and the US, including the presidents of both countries, have again raised the specter of an interruption of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz (the Strait), a key waterway for the transit of oil and natural gas to world markets.

https://news.usni.org/2018/08/24/report-congress-irans-threats-strait-hormuz-oil-markets

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“MISSING” TANKER DOCKS IN TOGO

Defence Web on 27 August reported that a tanker – the Panama-registered Pantelena – with 19 crew members on board docked at a port in Togo after going missing for over a week in a suspected hijacking off the West African coast,  2 Russian nationals and 17 Georgians are aboard the vessel, a dual purpose oil or chemicals tanker managed by Athens-based Lotus Shipping. The Gulf of Guinea is an increasing target for pirates who steal cargo and demand ransoms.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=52901:missing-tanker-docks-in-togo&catid=108:maritime-security&Itemid=233

QUALIFIED, NOT ABSOLUTE, PRIVILEGE APPLIES IN A CASE WHERE DEFAMATORY STATEMENTS WERE MADE IN THE COURSE OF A US FEDERAL GOVERNMENT INVESTIGATION

An article from Hodgson Russ on 27 August reported that according to a recent decision from New York’s highest court, a person providing a statement to an investigatory body is not completely immune from a defamation suit based on the statement, unless the subject of the statement has an opportunity to contest it.  In the case, a doctor alleged that the representatives of her former employer made defamatory statements to the Food and Drug Administration during its investigation. In line with US defamation law, the burden of proof will be on the plaintiff to show that the defamatory statements were made with malice.

https://www.hodgsonruss.com/newsroom-publications-10575.html

SYDNEY AIRPORT SEIZURE OF PHONE AND LAPTOP ‘ALARMING’, SAY PRIVACY GROUPS

Customs Today on 25 August reported that a British-Australian citizen travelling through Sydney airport has had his devices seized, and believes his laptop password cracked and his digital files inspected by Border Force officers, in what privacy groups say is a worrying development.  Nathan Hague, a 46-year-old software developer, was detained apparently at random for 90 minutes while the officers took his phone and password-protected laptop into a back room. The ABF acknowledged that Hague’s devices were examined, but declined to comment on whether the files had been copied.  Under the Customs Act, officers have the right to examine travellers’ personal items, including accessing electronic devices and making copies of their files. The Customs Act imposes no legal threshold or requirement that officers need to meet in order to use this power.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/sydney-airport-seizure-of-phone-and-laptop-alarming-say-privacy-groups/

IRAN CALLS ON INTERNATIONAL COURT OF JUSTICE TO BLOCK US SANCTIONS

Jurist reported on 27 August that the ICJ heard from Iran’s legal counsel in a lawsuit filed by Iran alleging that US sanctions violate the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2018/08/iran-urges-icj-to-block-us-sanctions/

EU INVESTIGATION SHOWS HOW HUNGARY RIGGED PUBLIC TENDERS

OCCRP reported on 27 August that OLAF found evidence of “serious irregularities” and “conflict of interest” in the way government contracts for the modernization of streetlights throughout Hungary were awarded and this was reported in January 2018.  A local NGO obtained the information after a court order forced the city of Vac to respond to the NGO’s freedom of information request. For 2 years OLAF was investigating how EU funds were spent on the project. It found serious irregularities and conflicts of interests.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/8521-eu-investigation-shows-how-hungary-rigged-public-tenders

UN REPORT INVESTIGATION AND PROSECUTION OF MYANMAR’S TOP MILITARY GENERALS FOR GENOCIDE, CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY AND WAR CRIMES

Jurist on 27 August reported that the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar called for the the investigation and prosecution of Myanmar’s top military generals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2018/08/un-report-urges-prosecution-of-myanmar-top-military-generals-for-genocide/

FORMER PAKISTAN PRESIDENT ASIF ALI ZARDARI SUMMONED IN MONEY LAUNDERING CASE

Baker McKenzie reported on 27 August that Pakistan’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has summoned former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister in a money laundering and fake bank accounts case.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/former-pakistan-president-asif-ali-zardari-summoned-in-money-laundering-case/

SUSPENSION OF ENTIRE LOCAL POLICE FORCE SHOWS DEPTH OF MEXICO CORRUPTION

Insight Crime on 27 August reported that authorities disarmed and relieved of their duties an entire municipal police force in Tehuacán in central Puebla state amid suspicions of corruption and ties to organised crime.  205 were disarmed, another 113 officers, including the municipal police director, are suspected to have gone on the run.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/suspension-entire-local-police-force-shows-depth-mexico-corruption/

 

US TO MAINTAIN SANCTIONS AGAINST BOSNIAN SERB PRESIDENT

Janes.com on 27 August reported that US authorities’ decision to maintain sanctions against Bosnian Serb President Milorad Dodik of the Serb autonomous region Republika Srpska (RS) indicates commitment to Bosnia’s territorial sovereignty.  US sanctions were imposed on Dodik after the RS held a referendum in September 2016 on the introduction of a public holiday celebrating RS’s declaration date, in defiance of a ruling by Bosnia’s Constitutional Court that this discriminated against RS’s Muslims and Croats.

https://www.janes.com/article/82574/us-authorities-decision-to-maintain-sanctions-against-bosnian-serb-president-indicates-commitment-to-bosnia-s-territorial-sovereignty?from_rss=1

ADDITIONAL US SANCTIONS COME INTO FORCE

Rferl on 27 August reported that US sanctions against Russia over the March poisoning in Britain of a former Russian agent and his daughter have gone into effect, targeting foreign aid, the sale of defence and security goods, and US government loans for exports to Russia.  The US Federal Register contains details of the sanctions that came into effect on 27 August.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/27/2018-18503/determinations-regarding-use-of-chemical-weapons-by-russia-under-the-chemical-and-biological-weapons

 

US FEDERAL JUDGE EXTENDS PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION EFFECTIVELY FORBIDDING A TEXAN GUN-RIGHTS ACTIVIST FROM PUBLISHING PLANS FOR UNTRACEABLE 3D PRINTED FIREARMS

Jurist reported on 27 August that the injunction prevents the federal government from implementing a settlement agreement it had reached in June with Cody Wilson, the activist who intended to publish the plans, that would have let him publish the plans as well as change rules surrounding the publication of files for the production of 3D printed weapons.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2018/08/federal-judge-extends-ban-on-publishing-certain-instructions-for-3d-printed-firearms/

 

FinCEN UNVEILS NEW INSIGNIA

A news release from FinCEN on 27 August unveiled its new insignia

It says the insignia represents –

  • The globe represents FinCEN’s worldwide reach, influence, authorities, and responsibilities.
  • Binary numbers, spell out FinCEN in binary code, and represent the financial data FinCEN uses to keep our country strong and prosperous, our financial system secure, and our communities and families safe from harm.
  • The American eagle represents the strength, power, and determination of the American people, and its position in the center symbolizes the power and commitment of our protection.
  • The shield represents our national security mission.
  • The silhouette of a bank represents the complex financial system we protect, use, help supervise, and administer.

https://www.fincen.gov/news/news-releases/fincen-unveils-new-insignia

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US CUSTOMS STOPS IMPOSTER WITH NEW FACIAL RECOGNITION TECH

Customs Today on 25 August reported that using a new facial recognition system implemented just days earlier, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers stopped an imposter who attempted to enter the US with someone else’s passport.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/us-customs-stops-imposter-with-new-facial-recognition-tech/

EU ADDS 3 NAMES TO ITS ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LISTS

EU Regulation 2018/1204/EU of 27 August added 3 additional names to the EU ISIL/Al-Qaida sanctions lists, this following the adding of the names to UN lists by the relevant UN sanctions committee – Mohammed Yusip Karim (Indonesian); Mohamad Rafi Bin Udin (Malaysian); and Muhammed Reza Lahaman Kiram (Filipino).

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.LI.2018.217.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2018:217I:TOC

MAKING MONEY WHILE BEING UNBANKABLE – HOW GUPTAS RECEIVED THEIR BILLIONS AND SPECIAL TREATMENT FROM SARS

The Daily Maverick on 27 August carried an article on the Gupta scandal in South Africa.  It asks how, if by mid-2016 the Guptas were unbankable, so how did they receive, and continue to receive, their billions?

https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2018-08-27-making-money-while-being-unbankable-how-guptas-received-their-billions-and-special-treatment-from-sars/