3rd September 2018
AUSTRALIA OPENS CONSULTATION ON LIVE EXPORT STANDARDS FOR SHEEP
The Maritime Executive reported on 2nd September that Australia’s Department of Agriculture is calling for public comments on the Australian Standards for the Export of Livestock (ASEL). The review will consider conditions for the export of sheep to the Middle East during the northern hemisphere summer following the recent storm over whistleblower video and the suspension of a licence for a leading exporter. The consultation is open to September 19th and the Technical Advisory Committee expects to release a draft report for further consultation in late October.
US: RECENT RULE REDUCES EXPORT LICENCE REQUIREMENTS FOR INDIA
National Law Review on 2nd September published an article addressed to US or foreign companies exporting or re-exporting US goods to India, including aerospace, defence and other high-tech goods. It says the rule changes in August expand the range of US goods that may be exported/re-exported to India under the authority of “No License Required (NLR)” or certain licence exceptions and should particularly benefit the aerospace, defence and other high-tech manufacturing sectors. The article explains the changes and their implications.
BRITISH MAN, 57, ARRESTED IN COLOMBIA FOR “SMUGGLING COCAINE DISGUISED AS DOG FOOD AND FERTILISER”
iNews on 2nd September reported that Andrew Deamer, aka “The Monkey” or “Marcos”, is the alleged ringleader of a drug smuggling operation. Police said 18 others were arrested last November as part of the operation. Mr Deamer moved from the East Midlands to Florida, before resetting in Colombia.
AUSTRALIA: LARGEST HONEY COMPANY AND SUPERMARKETS ACCUSED OF SELLING “HONEY” MIXED WITH SYRUPS FROM CHINA
The Daily Mail in Australia on 3rd September reported that tests have claimed that nearly half of ‘pure’ honey contains other syrups and the Beekeeping Association has referred the results to Interpol for investigation. The report claims what is involved is some kind of syrup that has been converted to look like honey, it tastes like honey. It says that criminal gangs in China allegedly produce this type of honey product cheaply and sell it on to unsuspecting suppliers. This story follows recent reports of “smuggling” by misdescription of Chinese honey in the US.
GERMANY: SEIZURE OF DOCUMENTS RELATING TO INTERNAL INVESTIGATIONS – LEGISLATIVE CHANGES AHEAD?
CMS Law on 3rd September published a briefing on the position in Germany, saying that the question as to whether and to what extent documents relating to an internal investigation can be seized from lawyers is not new, but there is broad consensus that documents relating to an internal investigation and stored in the company are in principle not covered by legal privilege. However, documents held by a lawyer where a company is or is threatened to become a secondary participant or secondary interested party in criminal proceedings are normally covered by privilege. However, a June decision by the Federal Constitution Court rejected the general prohibition on the seizure of such documents. The decision involved the seizure of documents that were obtained during a dawn raid at the law firm commissioned by the complainant to carry out an internal investigation. It says that it remains to be seen whether and how legislators will react to the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court.
CARRIAGE OF GOODS BY SEA: PRINCIPLES OF AGENCY AND FUNCTIONS OF BILLS OF LADING
Elios Neocleous & Co LLC from Cyprus published a briefing on 29th August that referred to a Cypriot Supreme Court case that it says considered the principles of agency and functions of bills of lading and provided a useful summary of this area of law. The case involved the carriage of a cargo of potatoes from Limassol to Felixstowe on the basis of the terms of a bill of lading and a fees invoice. Citing leading cases, it says that a bill of lading is not in itself the contract between the shipowner and the shipper of goods, though it has been said to be excellent evidence of its terms – the contract has come into existence before the bill of lading is signed. Once the bill of lading is endorsed, its terms become conclusive evidence of the terms of the contract of carriage as between the shipowner and the endorsee. It concludes that a bill of lading is a transferable document which, depending on its holder, can operate as: an acknowledgement of receipt of the quantity and condition of goods, as well as any leading marks required to identify the goods; evidence of a contract of carriage; conclusive evidence of a contract of carriage in the hands of an endorsee; and a document of title. The briefing says that the case involved demonstrates the importance of expressly specifying the capacity in which various parties are acting when negotiating or entering into a contract – e.g. whether they are acting as principals in their own right or as agents on behalf of someone else.
EU ENDS ANTI-DUMPING CONTROLS ON CHINESE SOLAR PANELS
EU Observer on 3rd September reported that anti-dumping measures on solar panels from China expire at midnight on 3rd September after the European Commission rejected industry requests for an expiry review investigation.
SBM OFFSHORE SETTLES WITH BRAZIL OVER CORRUPTION CLAIMS
Dutch News on 3rd September reported that oil industry service group SBM Offshore has reached a deal with the Brazilian authorities to pay the equivalent of €41 million to oil and gas group Petrobras following a scandal over corrupt deals made in Brazil. It says that this means the company has reached an end to a problem that has existed since 2014 and involved deals made in Angola, Kazakhstan, Iraq and Equatorial Guinea as well as Brazil. SBM Offshore has paid $347 million to avoid legal action in Brazil to $347m; following previous deals involving payment of $240 million in the Netherlands and $238 million in the US.
IMF BACK TO BASICS: WHAT ARE CRYPTOCURRENCIES?
In the March 2018 edition of Finance & Development Magazine from the IMF included a beginner’s guide to cryptocurrencies.
IS THERE A REMITTANCE TRAP?
In the latest edition of the IMF Finance & Development Magazine an article asks if high levels of remittances can spark a vicious cycle of economic stagnation and dependence. Amounting to over $400 billion in 2017, remittances rank between official development assistance and foreign direct investment in terms of size.
ROYAL MAIL LAUNCHES SHIPPING TOOL TO SUPPORT LARGER RETAILERS
Postal Technology on 28th August reported that Royal Mail has launched a new shipping tool and API designed to help larger retailers fulfil complex shipping needs. Royal Mail Pro Shipping provides retailers with a range of capabilities making it simpler to manage orders and returns across distributed sites. It complements the suite of in-house shipping tools already available to customers. Alongside Click & Drop – Royal Mail’s shipping platform for SME – the new tool is future-proofed and can be quickly updated in response to the changing needs of customers.
RUSSIA-ERITREA RELATIONS GROW WITH PLANNED LOGISTICS CENTRE
Customs Today on 3rd September reported that Russia and Eritrea expanded their diplomatic relationship when Moscow announced plans to build a logistics centre at a port in the East African country. The scope, location and timeline of the project have not been announced. For Eritrea, a deepening Russia alliance is the latest sign that decades of isolation may be ending, after a historic peace deal in July with neighbouring Ethiopia.
NEW OECD REPORT: THE 2018 BUSINESS AND FINANCE OUTLOOK
On 3rd September, the OECD published a new report that highlights a number of major risks having the potential to disrupt global economic growth. It notes that the gradual normalisation of monetary policy in an environment of growing debt will be a major test of whether the Basel III regulatory reforms have achieved their goal of ensuring safety and soundness in the financial system. The areas that the report says could benefit cross-border infrastructure investments from greater alignment with international standards include that open and transparent arrangements for procurement, especially for large infrastructure investments, are needed; the heavy costs that bribery and corruption can impose must be avoided, both in the case of large infrastructure projects and elsewhere; social and environmental costs need to be taken into account by ensuring responsible business conduct that minimises disruption to local communities; and open and transparent regimes for cross-border investment are needed to reduce costs and increase options regarding technology.
UNEXPLAINED WEALTH ORDERS AND FAILURE TO PREVENT TAX EVASION
Carey Olsen has produced a briefing that looks in particular at two sections of the Criminal Finances Act 2017: sections 45 and 46, heralding the newly-focused corporate criminal offences of failure to prevent facilitation of tax evasion, and section 1, introducing powers for HMRC and other UK enforcement bodies to obtain an Unexplained Wealth Order (UWO), and an associated interim freezing order (IFO) in respect of property owned by certain individuals.
BVI AML AMENDMENTS TO KEEP PACE WITH DEVELOPMENTS IN THE DIGITAL WORLD
Another briefing from Carey Olsen saying that the BVI introduced amendments to the Anti Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing Code of Practice 2008 on 1st August, which help to support the use of digital services for AML purposes in this new digital era.
EU-US PRIVACY SHIELD UNDER THREAT
An article from Walker Morris on 31st August says that the EU-US Privacy Shield, one of the approved mechanisms for the transatlantic transfer of personal data, is under threat on a number of fronts. On 5th July, the European Parliament issued a non-binding resolution to suspend the Privacy Shield unless the US complies with EU data protection rules by 1st September – it says that there is a need for better monitoring of the agreement following the recent Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data breach. The Parliament is also concerned about a new US law known as the CLOUD Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data), which grants the US and foreign police access to personal data across borders.
KENYA’S FIRST BLOCKCHAIN CRYPTOCURRENCY TO BE LAUNCHED
CGTN Africa on 28th August reported that Kenya is set to launch its first Blockchain cryptocurrency known as tmxglobalcoin.com coin. It says that the first phase of the currency will be rolled out towards the end of September 2018 and it is hoped that by May 2019, the currency will have been adopted fully in the trading sector.
NEW IRANIAN MISSILE FACILITY MAY BE UNDER CONSTRUCTION IN SYRIA
Following recent media reports of Iran supplying or situating surface-to-surface missiles in Iraq, and Iran’s denials, Missile Threat on 31st August reported that geospatial imaging and intelligence company ImageSat International released aerial imagery of a suspected Iranian surface-to-surface missile facility under construction outside Wadi Jahannam in north-western Syria. The site lies close to a Russian S-400 SAM battery deployed in October 2017, and a missile research facility nearby at Masyaf was targeted during a September 2017 Israeli airstrike.
POLISH BOSS WITH £860,000 HIDDEN IN SUITCASES JAILED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING IN UK
On 3rd September, KYC 360 reported that a haulage company boss from Gdańsk has been jailed for 3 years and 4 months after he tried to leave the UK with £862,560 concealed in 2 suitcases, but Border Force officers at the Port of Dover intercepted the man.
JAPANESE OIL WHOLESALERS ‘PREPARE TO SUSPEND’ IRANIAN IMPORTS
Rferl on 3rd September reports that Japanese news media are reporting that the country’s major oil wholesalers are preparing to suspend crude imports next month in response to US sanctions. Japan is reliant on outside sources for energy, importing 80% of its oil from the Middle East in recent years. The Japanese government said Saudi Arabia is Japan’s largest supplier of crude at 39%, Iran is 6th at about 5%.
GUN VIOLENCE HAS KILLED 6.5 MILLION PEOPLE WORLDWIDE SINCE 1990 – THREE-QUARTERS OF GUN DEATHS OCCUR IN JUST 15 COUNTRIES
MICROWAVE WEAPONS ARE PRIME SUSPECT FOR US EMBASSY WORKERS SUFFERINGS IN CUBA
The New York Times on 1st September reported that doctors and scientists say such unconventional weapons may have caused the baffling symptoms and ailments that, starting in late 2016, hit more than 3 dozen American diplomats and family members in Cuba and China.
ASSET MANAGER WHO HELPED US FIND TAX CHEATS BEATS SWISS SPY CHARGES
Reuters on 31st August reported that Martin Egli, a Swiss asset manager who in 2013 provided US prosecutors with more than 100 files from clients suspected of dodging taxes has been cleared of spying-related charges in Switzerland.
COUNTY LINES DRUGS NETWORKS: POSTERS FOR LETTING AGENTS AND LANDLORDS
On 3rd September, the Home Office published posters to support the government’s work to deal with county lines – where urban drug dealers expand their activity into small town markets. These posters have been designed to help letting agents and landlords to identify criminal tenants and report concerns to protect those exploited through this criminal activity.
IRAN, IRAQ DITCH THE DOLLAR IN TRADE
Prensa Latina on 3rd September reported that Iran and Iraq are to ditch the US dollar to maintain their ties intact, according to the head of the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce. In most of the transactions, he said, the Iraqi dinar, the Iranian rial and the euro will be used.
NEW SFO BOS PLEDGES TO KEEP AGENCY INDEPENDENT
Reuters reported on 3rd September that the new American head of the UK’s SFO will keep the organisation independent, but will work more closely with international enforcement watchdogs and the private sector to stop fraud, drawing on her experience with the FBI.
LORRY DRIVER CHARGED WITH SMUGGLING GUNS INTO LINCOLNSHIRE PORT
The BBC on 3rd September reported that the NCA said 10 Heckler and Koch P2000 pistols and 250 rounds of ammunition were found in Czech driver David Abeles’ lorry at the port of Killingholme, having arrived from the Netherlands.
FINNISH TEENAGER AND PARENTS CONVICTED OF FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING IN ONLINE CASINO CASE
Uutiset reported on 3rd September that a teenager who scammed an online casino in Malta out of more than €130,000 has been convicted of aggravated fraud. He was 16 at the time when he allegedly took advantage of an IT glitch to register as a customer with a fake date of birth. The casino’s system was set up to give clients the option of cancelling the return of their funds, so that the refund was paid into an online wallet as well as the customer’s bank account. Over the course of about a month he reportedly exploited the bug to transfer a total of more than €132,000 of the casino’s funds to his personal bank account. His father received a 5-month suspended sentence for aggravated money laundering and was also ordered to hand over €14,500 that had been transferred to his account. His mother received a 60-day suspended sentence for money laundering, and was ordered to repay €2,300 and a motorcycle valued at more than €5,000 that was purchased using the ill-gotten gains.
CHECK THE STATUS OF UK TAX POLICY CONSULTATIONS
On 3rd September, HMRC published an updated list of ongoing and closed consultations.
US LAWMAN CONVICTED OF HELPING THE “CODFATHER” SMUGGLE PROFITS TO PORTUGAL
Customs Today on 3rd September reported that Jamie Melo, 46, a Captain with the Bristol County Sheriff’s Office was convicted by a federal jury in connection with helping Carlos Rafael, known as the “Codfather” in the fishing industry, and the owner of one of the largest commercial fishing businesses in the US, smuggle bulk cash, the profits of his illegal overfishing scheme to Portugal.
BRIBERY TRIAL TO START AGAINST SWEDISH TELECOM BOSSES
OCCRP on 3rd September reported that a massive corruption trial is to kick off, involving hundreds of millions of dollars in alleged bribes, top executives of Sweden’s largest telecommunications company and the jet-set daughter of the late president of Uzbekistan. The prosecutor claims that between 2007 and 2010, Telia Sonera – now called Telia Company – bribed President Islam Karimov’s powerful daughter Gulnara Karimova with more than $400 million in return for being allowed to operate in Uzbekistan.
NICARAGUA BECOMING REGIONAL SAFE HAVEN FOR LATIN AMERICAN FUGITIVES
Insight Crime on 3rd September reported claims that the recent granting of political asylum in Nicaragua to a fugitive from Guatemala, Gustavo Herrera Castillo, is the latest sign that the Central American nation is becoming a regional safe haven for wanted criminals, which could be an attempt to undermine the region’s efforts to address crime and widespread corruption.
UK: LAWYERS AND JUDGES STRUGGLING WITH ELECTRONIC BILLS OF COSTS
Local Government Lawyer on 3rd September reported that a survey by the Association of Costs Lawyers (ACL) reveals that many solicitors and judges were not ready for the electronic bill of costs when it became compulsory in April and few are keen on it now. Just 6% of the 86 Costs Lawyers who took part in the survey said that their colleagues or clients had managed a smooth transition to the new regime, while only 16% reported that at least some judges were ready for the new bill while only 5% found that the courts were “keen to get going” with it. Many expected that judges would use their discretion to waive use of the bill for as long as they could while some judges had still not received the training or technology required.
THE SMALL ARMS TRADE TRANSPARENCY BAROMETER: INTERACTIVE MAP
The Small Arms Survey offers an online interactive map that assesses the transparency of top and major exporters — states that are believed to have exported at least $10 million worth of small arms and light weapons, including their parts, accessories, and ammunition, for at least 1 calendar year since 2001.
CHINA OUTLAWS FRESH BATCH OF SYNTHETIC DRUGS AND AGREES TO HELP FIGHT SPREAD OF NEW PSYCHOACTIVE SUBSTANCES
Illicit Trade on 2nd September reported that, in a move described as a bid to slow an increase in the production of illicit synthetic drugs across the country, China’s National Narcotics Control Commission (NNCC) has added a further 32 new psychoactive substances (NPS) to its list of controlled drugs, including 2 fresh forms of fentanyl. The 170 drugs that appear on its list of controlled substances now includes those that are produced in the country exclusively to be shipped overseas. Illicit Chinese drug factories are key drivers of the growing global market for NPS.