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.