10th September 2018
INDIAN SMUGGLED IDOL TRACED AFTER 36 YEARS TO AUSTRALIA
The Hindu on 10th September reported on the case of an idol, smuggled 36 years ago from a temple in India has been traced to a museum in Australia. The 2½-feet high idol weighing around 100 kg was removed from the temple in 1982.
CARTEL SMUGGLING SUGAR INTO TANZANIA FROM THAILAND
The Standard in Kenya on 10th September reported that a “powerful cartel” is illegally bringing in sugar and repackaging it as local brands. The sugar is said to be from Thailand and is repacked before finally distributed to unsuspecting retailers. It claims that Junior police officers allege that the smugglers were getting protection from senior officers who have been made to believe that some powerful individuals were behind the trade, and would attract punishment should they interfere with the smuggling.
INDONESIA DETAINS VESSEL FOR SMUGGLING DIESEL FUEL FROM SINGAPORE
The Strait Times on 10th September reported that the Indonesian navy has detained a vessel illegally importing 5,000 tonnes of high-speed diesel fuel from Singapore. The Mongolia-flagged vessel, MV Eastern Glory, captained by an Indonesian national, did not have any import documentation or proper sailing permit when it was intercepted. The 5,000 tonnes of undocumented fuel was allegedly loaded from another vessel. The authorities identified that vessel as the Singapore-flagged MV Cougar, which then returned to Singapore. The article says that authorities have been cracking down on the smuggling of fuel out of the country. Rampant cases of smuggling have also involved food commodities, such as shallots from India and sugar from Thailand.
AUSTRALIAN FINANCIAL REGULATOR ASIC TO DEVELOP NEW RULES FOR CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGES
Tokenpost on 10th September reported that the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) has revealed its plans to develop new approach for regulating cryptocurrency exchanges and increase monitoring of initial coin offerings (ICO) in order to protect investors. It said that though this sector still represents a very small portion of global assets, the fast growth is resulting in increased regulatory monitoring.
EU FUND TARGETS FISH LAUNDERING IN THE PACIFIC
Radio New Zealand on 10th September reported that the EU says its new funding agreement with marine agencies in the Pacific will help prevent fish laundering in the region. A spokesman said that illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is theft and tighter rules are essential, and that much of the fish caught in Pacific waters is transferred from one ship to another and up to 80% of it is processed in Asian countries. He said the EU was working through the FFA (Forum Fisheries Association) with the countries to look more at trans-shipments.
IRISH MEDIA GROUP PREPARES FOR LIFE UNDER THE EYES OF THE INSPECTORS
The Irish Independent on 10th September reported on a story close to home – re the decision of the High Court to grant the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) – the State’s corporate watchdog – its application to appoint inspectors to investigate the conduct of the affairs of Independent News & Media (INM), which publishes the newspaper among others. The ODCE alleges a list of 19 prominent individuals had their private data “interrogated” in a suspected data breach. The bill for this was allegedly paid for by Isle of Man company, Blaydon, which is controlled by Denis O’Brien, described elsewhere as the wealthiest and most successful Irish businessman of his generation, and also one of the most controversial. It is alleged that data appeared to have been searched against the names of no fewer than 19 individuals, including that of 2 senior counsel who had previously acted for the tribunal that had investigated allegations relating to the awarding of the second GSM licence to O’Brien’s company, Esat. The bills for the data interrogation exercise were presented to an entity controlled by O’Brien called Island Capital and paid by an Isle of Man company called Blaydon Ltd, of which O’Brien is the beneficial owner. It has been alleged that the investigation involves “various regulatory regimes”, from company law to stock market rules to protected disclosures legislation and to potential breaches of data protection law.
NEW LAWS TO ‘LEVEL PLAYING FIELD’ FOR SMALL FIRMS ACCESSING INVOICE FINANCE IN UK
Business Daily on 10th September reported that new laws could soon arm smaller firms against contracts that prevent them raising money from unpaid invoices. A small supplier’s contract with a larger business may prevent it from securing invoice finance from banks and other investors, and large companies sometimes stop their suppliers from assigning ‘receivables’, which is the right to receive the proceeds of an invoice. However, changes being brought forward by the Small Business Minister could mean that any such contractual restrictions entered into after December 31st 2018 would, with certain exceptions, no longer stand.
FCA WARNS AUDITORS OVER CLIENT ASSET REPORTING
Accountancy Daily on 7th September reported that audit firms’ performance has come under fire from the new head of the FCA, who has said audit quality needs to improve ‘urgently’ and warned that some firms are failing to produce adequate reporting on client assets.
IRAN COMPLETES FACILITY TO BUILD CENTRIFUGES
EurActiv on 10th September reported that Iran has completed a facility to build advanced centrifuges, Iran’s nuclear chief has said, as Tehran prepares to increase its uranium-enrichment capacity if the nuclear deal collapses after the US exits.
MINIMISING EXPOSURE TO THE ADDITIONAL US TARIFFS VIA EXCLUSION REQUESTS
HKTDC on 10th September reported the details of the application process by which interested persons – including non-US importers, exporters, traders and trade associations – could request that particular products classified within one of the affected tariff subheadings should be excluded from the additional tariffs. The USTR is allowing any interested persons, including trade associations on behalf of their members, to submit a product-specific rather than petitioner-specific exclusion request. As of end-August, although some 1,100 exclusion requests have been submitted with regard to the first tranche of the additional tariffs, no exemptions have yet been granted.
INTERPOL ISSUES RED-CORNER NOTICE AGAINST NIRAV MODI’S SISTER, PURVI MODI
The Economic Times in India on 10th September reported that the Notice had been issued against the Belgian national and absconding billionaire jeweller Nirav Modi’s sister, in connection with the alleged $2 billion PNB money laundering case, officials said.
AFGHANISTAN’S NEW MINING LAW ‘RISKS FALLING SHORT IN THE FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION’
Ekklesia on 10th September reported that the Afghan government’s revision of the Minerals Law has significant gaps in protections needed to reduce the major threat of corruption and abuses in the sector, and to ensure the country’s huge mineral wealth benefits its people, Afghan and international civil society organisations have warned. The Afghan government’s lost revenue from mining is roughly estimated at around $300 million a year.
NEW ZEALAND: TRIAL BEGINS FOR FIRST PERSON CHARGED WITH INSIDER TRADING
Radio New Zealand reported on 10th September that Hamish Mark Sansom charged with using information not available to the public to trade shares.
MODERN SLAVERY: PREPARING FOR GREATER SUPPLY CHAIN TRANSPARENCY IN AUSTRALIA
On 10th September, Allen & Overy produced a briefing saying that Australia has become the latest jurisdiction to target modern slavery, with the Modern Slavery Bill 2018 being introduced into Federal Parliament on 28th June. Modelled on the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015, if passed, the Bill would introduce significant reporting obligations on entities carrying out business in Australia regarding the presence of slavery, human trafficking and child labour in their global supply chains and operations.
AT A GLANCE GUIDE TO THE CAYMAN ISLANDS FOUNDATION COMPANY
Ogier on 7th September produced a briefing an infographic on Cayman foundation companies.
PHILIPPINES CUSTOMS ALERTED ON KOREAN SCRAP TRUCK SMUGGLERS
Rappler on 9th September carried an article saying that the Department of Trade and Industry and a Davao-based truck dealer say the trucks were smuggled from Korea without the proper registration, after a number of shipments of used trucks arrived.
REPORT TO US CONGRESS UNDER CAATSA ACT REGARDING INTER-AGENCY EFFORTS IN THE US TO COMBAT ILLICIT FINANCE RELATING TO THE RUSSIAN FEDERATION
On 6th August, the US Treasury published a report required by section 243 of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017 (CAATSA) that requires the Secretary of the Treasury to submit to the appropriate Congressional committees not later than 1 year after CAATSA’s enactment, and at the end of each 1-year period thereafter until 2021, a report describing interagency efforts in the US to combat illicit finance relating to the Russian Federation. As this report details, this Administration’s efforts against this threat are among its top priorities, resulting in an unprecedented level of financial pressure against those working on behalf of the Kremlin and in key sectors of the Russian economy targeted by US sanctions. Amongst other things, the report details engagement with foreign partners, including the EU and UK. It says that the scale of the UK financial services market and access to the EU have made London and UK overseas territories such as the BVI an attractive destination for illicit financial flows – and the US and UK have regularised consultation and co-operation to coordinate our respective efforts to counter Russian malign influence, including its financial activity. Also of note are comments on Latvia and Cyprus. The report says that the Administration is aggressively targeting and disrupting the illicit financial networks supporting Russian malign activity, and that additional information on the full range of the Administration’s efforts were contained in the classified annex to the report.
NICARAGUA IN CRISIS
The International Institute for Strategic Studies has published an article saying that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega’s political base has eroded, and he is likely to continue brutal authoritarian tactics against a discontented population. The organised internal opposition appears unable to mount effective armed resistance and international pressure so far has been light. In the short term, he will probably be able to maintain effective control over Nicaragua.
https://www.iiss.org/publications/strategic-comments/2018/nicaragua [$5 digital download]
US TREASURY EXEMPTS REVOLVING ACCOUNTS FROM OWNERSHIP RULE
On 7th September, the Wall Street Journal reported that the exemption applies to specific products, such as a certificate of deposit, that automatically renew. FinCEN said it would not require banks to collect identification from the holders of specific, revolving financial products such as certificates of deposit, loan accounts or safe deposit boxes each time they roll over.
THE BUGBEAR OF CHINESE DEFORESTATION: THE REAL THREAT TO RUSSIA’S FORESTS
On 10th September, the Carnegie Moscow Center published an article saying that fear that the Chinese will cut down all of Siberia’s mighty forests is a very popular notion in Russia right now. Thousands of people in Siberia’s Irkutsk and Krasnoyarsk regions have signed petitions against the Chinese “takeover” of the Siberian taiga, advocating for a complete ban on Russian timber exports to China. China has gradually become a world leader in unprocessed timber imports, accounting for 16.6% of global imports in 2017. Russia is the country’s number 1 timber supplier, accounting for 30% of Chinese timber and lumber imports. Russia is not the only country in whose forestry industry the Chinese are active. Chinese businesses’ behaviour largely depends on the degree of control exercised by the local authorities, and forestry is a great illustration of this. It gives New Zealand (the second-largest source of timber for China) as an example of a country with a good licensing system that prevent environmental problems.
COUNTER-TERRORISM AND BORDER SECURITY BILL 2018: GOVERNMENT AMENDMENTS
On 10th September, the Home Office issued updated documents relating to the Bill, including 2 letters detailing Government amendments. The amendments included to Clause 3 (viewing terrorist material over the internet – it would be an offence to view, or otherwise access, for example by listening to an audio recording, any terrorist material online) adding to the existing reasonable excuse defence. Another amendment, to Clause 6, increases the maximum penalty for offence of failure to disclose information about acts of terrorism from 5 to 10 years.
COUNTER-TERRORISM AND BORDER SECURITY BILL 2017-19: COMMITTEE STAGE REPORT
Meanwhile, on 10th September, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper in preparation for the 3rd Reading of the Bill.
UK: FAMILY WHO RAN COUNTERFEIT DRUG BUSINESS JAILED
IP Pro the Internet website on 10th September reported that 3 members of a family in the UK have pleaded guilty to producing counterfeit drugs for sale online. Daniel Hackland, his wife Jenna Hackland, and his brother Matthew pleaded guilty to producing and supplying unlicensed Class C drugs, unlicensed medicines and money laundering. They ran an online bodybuilding supplement business, but they also sold drugs used to treat conditions ranging from severe acne to cancer. The illegal products were a mix of Chinese imports and homemade versions. Enforcement agents also found £49,000 hidden in a safe in Hackland’s house.
BROTHER OF FORMER SRI LANKA STRONGMAN INDICTED OVER FRAUD
Channel News Asia on 10th September reported that Gotabhaya Rajapakse, a brother of ex-president Mahinda Rajapakse, and 6 of his officials were indicted on charges of siphoning off over $250,000 in state funds to build a memorial for his parents by a Sri Lankan anti-corruption court. The government created the special court in May following criticism of the slow pace of handling cases from Rajapakse’s controversial decade of rule that ended in January 2015.
TURKISH COURT PRISON SENTENCE OVER SUNFLOWER SEED OIL FRAUD
On 10th September, Hurriey daily reported that a Turkish court has handed down a 1-year jail sentence to the owner of a firm over sunflower seed oil fraud. During an inspection of a company in 2015, authorities detected adulteration in oil with a cheaper kind of soybean oil.
RUSSIAN NATIONAL BEHIND MASSIVE JP MORGAN HACK EXTRADITED TO US
Finextra on 10th September reported that Andrei Tyurin, a Russian citizen behind the largest theft of customer data from a US financial institution in history has been extradited to the US to face multiple charges of computer fraud. The stolen data was then allegedly used to operate a “Pump-and Dump” scheme, in which Tyurin and co-conspirators contacted data theft victims to offer bogus investment advice and stock recommendations. Tyurin was arrested in Georgia and extradited to face charges in a New York.
THE IMPERIAL BANK SCANDAL IN KENYA CONTINUES
The Daily Nation in Kenya on 10th September published an article containing further allegations following the collapse of the Imperial Bank, including that despite being placed under receivership, money was still withdrawn from some suspicious accounts at the centre of the investigations. The DPP had charged Deputy Chief Justice Mwilu for “inducing the receiver manager”, the Kenya Deposit Insurance Corporation (KDIC), to part with some land security and for “abuse of office” by using her position to get favours from the controversial bank. It is said that it was bank officials who blew the whistle on the bank in 2015 after managing director, Mr Abdulmalek Janmohammed, died.
BINARY OPTIONS ‘CITY TRADER’ LIVED HIGH LIFE ON CLIENTS’ CASH IN £475,000 SCAM
The Evening Standard on 10th September reported that a bogus City trader who splashed out on luxury hotel rooms, 5-star restaurants and designer clothes with the proceeds of a £475,000 shares scam has been jailed for 4½ years. Lee Denton, 33, through his company, TB Options, promised 20% monthly profits to his clients as he claimed to be betting on the share price of precious metals, oil and foreign currency. He cold-called investors and lured them into the binary options scheme with a £5,000 minimum stake. He mocked up fake, password-protected accounts for his customers to view their investments.
CAMPAIGNERS CALL FOR PROBE INTO HOW UKRAINIAN OLIGARCH FIGHTING £1.4 BILLION FRAUD CLAIMS WAS GIVEN ‘GOLDEN VISA’ FOR UK
The Evening Standard on 10th September reported that Gennadiy Bogolyubov was also granted British citizenship after moving to the UK in 2009 and lived in a mansion on Belgrave Square while helping to run his country’s biggest bank. He is now embroiled in High Court litigation in which he and another Ukrainian tycoon — Igor Kolomoisky — are accused by the bank of siphoning off vast sums through a complex string of financial transactions which lawyers believe were carried out by algorithm. 3 English companies were among the hundreds used in what was described in court as a “fraud of byzantine complexity”.
LITIGATION PRIVILEGE: RATIONALE AND SCOPE DEFINED
On 10th September, the UK Human Rights Blog from 1 Crown Office Row contained a post on the background to the recent Court of Appeal case, SFO v ENRC.
RUSSIA TO STRENGTHEN DEFENCE ALLIANCE WITH VIETNAM
Janes.com on 10th September reported that Russia has pledged to deepen defence industrial ties with Vietnam with a view to expanding military supplies and technology transfers to the SE Asian country.
HEATED AND ABANDONED: THE ECUADOR-COLOMBIA BORDER
Open Democracy on 10th September published an article saying that figuring out what is going on at the northern border of Ecuador is like trying to put together a puzzle with a huge number of pieces – namely, organised crime, drug trafficking, paramilitary forces and human trafficking. It examines the recent and current situation on the border. It says that the situation on the northern border of Ecuador in the 1990s was marked by violence triggered by the presence of the various conflicting groups, including FARC. It says that the current situation on Ecuador’s northern border is a consequence of processes which have been going on for years. The situation of violence generated by the various groups operating in the region and the illegal activities there are still at play. Even though the AUC and the FARC have demobilised, the Colombian cartels have entered into alliance with the Mexican mafias. The big change has been the shift of Ecuador’s strategy, from refraining to get involved in the Colombian conflict, to being now actively engaged in the traditional Colombian war on drugs and insurgency.
US SHIP SEIZES CACHE OF 2,521 AK-47 RIFLES IN GULF OF ADEN
Homeland Security Today on 6th September reported that the guided-missile destroyer USS Jason Dunham seized an illicit weapons shipment found aboard a stateless skiff in the international waters of the Gulf of Aden on 28th August – now said to be 2,521 AK-47 automatic rifles. The original count was just 1,000 rifles.
The count follows an initial estimate of over 1,000 rifles. The origin and intended destination of the skiff have not yet been determined. The UK-based investigative organization Conflict Armament Research studied and linked 3 of the previous caches to weapons that plausibly derive from Iranian stockpiles.