OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – SEPTEMBER 14

14th September 2018

3 HELD ON SUSPICION OF DRUG RUNNING AND YACHT SEIZED OFF COAST OF IRELAND

The Irish Times and others on 13th September reported that 3 men – 2 Irish and 1 Czech – were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking following the detention of a yacht off the Irish coast in a joint operation involving the Garda, Navy and Customs.  It says that it is understood the Naval Service had been tracking the yacht for some time and it was detained in Irish territorial waters and escorted into Kinsale.  The yacht is said to have set sail from the Azores and travelled to South America, before returning to this side of the Atlantic.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/three-held-on-suspicion-of-drug-running-and-yacht-seized-off-coast-1.3628097

https://www.thesun.ie/news/3116494/yacht-seized-drug-smuggling-op/

BULGARIA ARRESTS MAN SUSPECTED TO BE SMUGGLING WEAPONS TO SYRIA’S IDLIB

Devdiscourse on 13th September reported that Bulgarian authorities have charged a Swiss citizen with terrorism and arms smuggling after he was arrested trying to cross the border with Turkey to reach Syria.  A search of his Swiss-registered SUV revealed 3 rifles, a pistol, more than 400 rounds of ammunition and at least 24 knives.  They also founded a map with a route that ended in Syria’s northern Idlib province.  Authorities said his father had alerted the authorities in Switzerland that he was missing along with the SUV, weapons, and ammunition.

https://www.devdiscourse.com/Article/179245-bulgaria-arrests-man-suspected-to-be-smuggling-weapons-to-syrias-idlib

AUSTRALIAN BORDER FORCE OFFICERS ARREST 2 CHINESE NATIONALS OVER SEIZURE OF 1.3 MILLION CIGARETTES

News.com in Australia reported on 13th September that ABF have seized more than 1.3 million allegedly illegally imported cigarettes concealed inside boxes marked “outdoor furniture”.  Officers arrested 2 Chinese nationals after they intercepted the men collecting the shipment at the Adelaide Container Examination Facility.

https://www.news.com.au/national/south-australia/australian-border-force-officers-arrest-two-chinese-nationals-over-seizure-of-13-million-allegedly-illegally-imported-cigarettes/news-story/1e07abaff223f6cb91cabd19c49743a6

CANADA LOOKING TO STRENGTHEN DOMESTIC, FOREIGN CO-OPERATION TO BETTER TACKLE HUMAN TRAFFICKING

ACFCS reported on 14th September that a discussion paper from Public Safety Canada says that Canada is looking to create stronger domestic partnerships between investigative agencies, the FIU and banks, and bolster international communication, co-ordination and information-sharing in a bid to better tackle human trafficking, with a new national policy to be introduced in 2019.  It says that In June 2012, Canada launched the “National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking,” which was guided by the UN Trafficking in Persons Protocol.  The discussion paper says that in Canada there are several groups considered particularly vulnerable, including: First Nation, Inuit, and Métis women and girls, youth in care, runaway and homeless youth, persons with disabilities, refugees and migrants and LGBTQ2 persons.  The UNODC is quoted as saying that for its perpetrators, it is a low risk, highly profitable endeavour believed to be one of the fastest growing crimes on a global basis.  Canada’s current laws are said to be fairly broad, prohibiting trafficking in persons “for any exploitative purpose, regardless of whether the trafficking occurs wholly within Canada or whether it involves the bringing of persons into Canada”.  Project PROTECT in 2016 also shed light and added a greater understanding of the true scope of human trafficking.

https://www.acfcs.org/news/418239/Canada-looking-to-strengthen-domestic-foreign-accords-to-better-tackle-human-trafficking-report.htm

NEW REGULATORY FRAMEWORK TO STRENGTHEN INTEGRITY OF SWISS FINANCIAL SECTOR AND IMPLEMENT FATF RECOMMENDATIONS

An article from Meyerlustenberger Lachenal on 14th September says that Swiss authorities are building a regulatory framework which considers the most important recommendations from the FATF mutual evaluation report on Switzerland in order to strengthen the integrity of the Swiss financial sector.  This includes amendments to the Anti-money Laundering Act, a revised Anti-money Laundering Ordinance from the Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA) and the Swiss Banking Association (SBA) published its revised agreement on Swiss banks’ code of conduct regarding the exercise of due diligence.  Both the code and Ordinance take effect from 1st January 2020.  The article says that the FATF review identified weaknesses in certain areas and issued recommendations, and that Switzerland is in an enhanced follow-up procedure.  To exit this procedure successfully, Switzerland must implement a number of changes.  The article provides brief details of the changes proposed to the financial sector regulatory framework.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Banking/Switzerland/Meyerlustenberger-Lachenal/New-regulatory-framework-to-strengthen-integrity-of-Swiss-financial-sector

AFRICAN SWINE FEVER REACHES BELGIUM

Politico on 13th September reported that the arrival of African swine fever in Western Europe has long been the worst fear for many in the pork industry, in part because it could mean import bans from key non-EU markets.  Belgium’s food safety agency AFSCA said it had identified 2 boars carrying the disease around the southern village of Étalle.  Although the disease reached mainland Europe in 2007, it only breached the EU in 2014, in the Baltic States and Poland.  It quickly spread across Eastern Europe, where food safety authorities have struggled to contain the disease.

https://www.politico.eu/article/belgium-investigating-suspected-case-of-african-swine-fever/

FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN ITALY: NEW BILL TO GO BEFORE PARLIAMENT

An article from a member of the CMS Law grouping in Italy reported that on 6th September the Council of Ministers approved a Bill on “Measures on offences against the public administration” (also called “Spazza Corrotti“), and this Bill follows the approval of the so called Severino law, the establishment of ANAC (Italian National Anti-corruption Authority), as well as the approval of new regulations on procurement, the introduction of civic access and the protection of whistleblowers.  The article details the main amendments made by the Bill.

https://cms.law/it/ITA/Publication/Lotta-anticorruzione-in-Italia-prossimi-passi (in Italian)

ONLINE TRADE WITH SWITZERLAND AND SWISS VAT: FOREIGN ONLINE TRADERS TO LOSE VAT TAX ADVANTAGES

On 12th September, MME Legal tax Compliance reported that the Federal Council has decided that foreign online traders should not benefit from VAT tax advantages, and foreign online traders and mail order companies will also have to pay VAT on small consignments from January 1st – meaning that online platforms like Alibaba and Amazon will be subject to new obligations and risks as of 1st January.

https://www.mme.ch/en/magazine/magazine-detail/url_magazine/online_trade_with_switzerland_and_swiss_vat_authorities_tighten_reins_as_per_01012019/

WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON WAYS TO STRUCTURE AN INTERNATIONAL JOINT VENTURE?

Herrington Carmichael Solicitors in the UK published a guide on 12th September which it says contains advice from lawyers from various countries including its own Alex Canham, which answer the question, and which is published in IR Global’s Collaborations Across Borders Virtual Series.

https://www.herrington-carmichael.com/international-joint-ventures-part-1/

TURKEY BANS USE OF FOREIGN CURRENCY IN PROPERTY MARKET

The BBC reported on 13th September that Turkey is banning the use of foreign currencies in the country’s property market as it looks to stem the dramatic fall of its own currency, and contracts for sales, rent and leasing must in future be made in lira.  All current agreements in the property sector made in foreign currencies must be changed within 30 days.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45508672

THE 10 COMMON US TAX REPORTING OBLIGATIONS FOR GLOBAL INDIVIDUALS WITH CROSS-BORDER ASSETS OR ACTIVITIES

On 13th September, Greenberg Traurig has produced what is describes as a countdown of 10 common tax reporting obligations that may be relevant to global individuals with cross-border assets or activities, taking into account the CRS requirements.

https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2018/9/international-tax-survival-guide-countdown-to-common-reporting-obligations-for-global-individuals

IN SEARCH OF AN EFFECTIVE TRADE POLICY FOR THE FILM INDUSTRY

The European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE) has published an article which explores which trade-related policies are effective – that is both economically and culturally sound – to promote the Korean film industry that has recently been highlighted more due to its prominent political, economic and cultural dimensions. By examining the trade-related policies of 9 major countries for their film industries over the last 40 years, several important findings are extracted which contribute towards a more pragmatic debate on ‘trade and culture’.  It recommends that regulatory barriers such as import or screen quotas should be avoided at all costs since they do not protect the domestic film industry; tax relief schemes are unreliable; subsidies should be kept reasonable in size and focus on consistent goals; well-designed trade agreements can contribute greatly to enhance film policies; and once combined, these results explain to a large extent the remarkable success of the Korean film industry over the last 2 decades, which can be a good bench marker for countries that want to enhance their film industry and to promote their culture.

http://ecipe.org/publications/in-search-of-an-effective-trade-policy-for-the-film-industry-lessons-from-korea/

THE SHANGHAI CO-OPERATION ORGANISATION

In May, ETH Zurich published a comprehensive study which provided detailed analysis of the history and position of the SCO.  The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a multilateral group initially comprised of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  It was founded in 2001 and enlarged in 2017 to include India and Pakistan.  Since its formation, the SCO has been focused on regional non-traditional security, with counterterrorism being a priority: the fight against the “3 evils” of terrorism, separatism and extremism has become its hallmark.  During the life of the co-operation, however, the organisation’s agenda has gradually expanded.  Today, themes such as economics and culture are also on the agenda.  The study says that, for Europe, China’s growing economic power, the westward push of its regional initiatives, such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), combined with a more recent political assertiveness and willingness to shape global governance in areas of its interest.  In contrast to the BRI, the SCO has an institutionalised multilateral framework and a geostrategic focus.  It may offer some additional entry points in engaging with China, which are not provided in the BRI framework.

http://www.css.ethz.ch/content/dam/ethz/special-interest/gess/cis/center-for-securities-studies/pdfs/Maduz-080618-ShanghaiCooperation.pdf

ETH

https://isnblog.ethz.ch/international-relations/shanghai-cooperation-organisation-timeline

NCA

MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE TO MAKE BUSINESSES AWARE OF MAKING TAX DIGITAL SAYS ICAEW

On 13th September, the Institute for Chartered Accountants in England & wales issued a news release saying that research by ICAEW has revealed that over 40% of businesses about to be affected by Making Tax Digital (MTD) for VAT are not yet aware of it – and this is despite the changes being mandatory for most VAT registered businesses from April 2019.

https://www.icaew.com/en/about-icaew/news/press-release-archive/2018-press-releases/more-needs-to-be-done-to-make-businesses-aware-of-making-tax-digital-says-icaew

ROMANIAN JOURNALIST DETAINED IN BULGARIA WHILE INVESTIGATING EUROPEAN FUNDS FRAUD

Novinite on 14th September reported that RISE Project announced that journalist Attila Biro was detained by Bulgarian police while documenting a Bulgarian journalist’s case of fraud with European funds.

https://www.novinite.com/articles/192144/Romanian+Journalist+Detained+in+Bulgaria+while+Investigating+European+Funds+Fraud?src=ilaw

UK VISA REQUIREMENTS: LIST FOR AIRLINES ETC

On 13th September, UK Visas and Immigration published updated information to help carriers check their passengers’ travel documents.  It lists the countries and territories of citizens who need a visa for the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-visa-requirements-list-for-carriers

BORNEO CUSTOMS FOILS ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE 45 CONTAINERS OF LIQUORS AND CIGARETTES

The Borneo Post on 14th September reported that Sarawak Customs Department of Malaysia successfully foiled an attempt to smuggle 45 containers of liquors and cigarettes in the biggest seizure of 2018.  Of the 45 containers, 43 are suspected to contain alcoholic drinks – beers and one container, suspected to contain alcoholic drinks of Stout type, while another container suspected to contain cigarettes of D & J brand.  They were suspected to have originated from Ho Chi Minh City.

http://www.theborneopost.com/2018/09/14/customs-foils-attempt-to-smuggle-45-containers-of-liquors-cigarettes/

SPAIN BACKTRACKS ON SUSPENDING LASER-GUIDED BOMB SALE TO SAUDI ARABIA

Janes.com on 13th September reported that the Spanish Foreign Minister has said that a laser-guided bomb sale to Saudi Arabia will now go ahead, despite the Spanish government stating the previous week that it was being suspended.

https://www.janes.com/article/82962/spain-backtracks-on-suspending-laser-guided-bomb-sale-to-saudi-arabia

IRAN: THE CASE FOR PROTECTING HUMANITARIAN TRADE

The European Council on Foreign Relations on 14th September published an article saying that new US sanctions will put the health of ordinary Iranians at risk. Europe can take concrete steps to minimise this – steps which also support its ongoing commitment to the nuclear deal.  European and US companies that can provide the advanced medicine and equipment needed to treat chronic diseases inside Iran are grappling with how to sustain their operations.  The UN special rapporteur for human rights warned that the sanctions will undermine human rights in the country, drive people into poverty, and make imported goods unaffordable. The impact of incoming sanctions on the humanitarian sector contradicts the US administration’s repeated statements in support of the Iranian people.  The human cost of sanctions in countries such as Iraq, Iran, Syria, and Venezuela has been severe.  Going forward, the articles says, the international community must implement safeguards to fully protect humanitarian sectors of trade.

https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_iran_the_case_for_protecting_humanitarian_trade?utm_content=bufferd6dd2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

UN SECURITY COUNCIL ISIL (DA’ESH) AND AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS COMMITTEE REVISES ITS GUIDELINES

On 13th September, a UN news release reported that the Sanctions Committee adopted revised Guidelines for the Conduct of its Work.  A number of sections have been amended, including the sections on the ISIL (Da’esh) and Al‑Qaida Sanctions List, Listing, Delisting, Narrative Summaries of Reasons for Listing, and Exemptions to the Assets Freeze (Section 11).

https://www.un.org/press/en/2018/sc13504.doc.htm

The revised Guidelines are at –

https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1267/committee-guidelines

US ACCUSES RUSSIA OF ALTERING UN REPORT ON NORTH KOREA SANCTIONS

Rferl on 14th September reported that the US has accused Russia of altering an independent UN report to cover up Moscow’s alleged violation of UN sanctions on North Korea, saying Russia pressured the independent sanctions monitors to amend a report that was eventually submitted to the Security Council’s North Korea sanctions committee last month.  The amended report is said to have had removed some references to Russians accused of breaching North Korea sanctions, and several paragraphs referring to Russian oil trade were removed at Moscow’s urging.

https://www.rferl.org/a/u-s-accuses-russia-of-altering-un-report-on-north-korea-sanctions/29489277.html

US WARNS THAT SANCTIONS ARE POSSIBLE OVER NORD STREAM 2 PIPELINE

Rferl on 13th September reported that the US may follow through on threats to impose sanctions over the construction of an underwater natural-gas pipeline between Russia and Germany, US Energy Secretary Rick Perry has said.  The 1,230 km link would deliver natural gas directly to Germany under the Baltic Sea, circumventing the traditional route through Ukraine.

https://www.rferl.org/a/us-warns-sanctions-possible-on-nord-stream-pipeline/29488617.html

DESPITE CLEAN-UP VOWS, SMARTPHONES AND ELECTRIC CARS STILL KEEP MINERS DIGGING BY HAND IN CONGO

The Wall Street Journal on 13th September reported that Apple Inc, Volkswagen AG and about 20 other global manufacturers found themselves on the defence when Amnesty International reported 2 years ago that the cobalt in some of their batteries was dug up by Congolese miners and children under inhumane conditions. Many of the companies said they would audit their suppliers and send teams to Congo to fix the problem.  However, the Journal says that supply chains at Apple, VW and others still include the owner of a mine where workers produce cobalt without safety equipment.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/smartphones-electric-cars-keep-miners-digging-by-hand-in-congo-1536835334

US PROBES DANSKE BANK OVER RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERING ALLEGATIONS

The Wall Street Journal on 14th September reported that US law enforcement agencies are probing Denmark’s largest bank over allegations of massive money laundering flows from Russia and former Soviet states, according to a person familiar with the matter and documents reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.  The DoJ, US Treasury and SEC are each examining Danske Bank after a confidential whistleblower complaint was filed to the SEC more than 2 years ago.  Probes are ongoing and are related to transactions at Danske’s tiny Estonian branch over several years through 2015.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-probes-danske-bank-over-money-laundering-allegations-1536924529

SHIP FINANCE IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS

In an article for “Getting the Deal Done: Ship Finance 2018”, the authors discuss registration of vessels, ship mortgages and tax considerations under Cayman law.

https://www.harneys.com/media/1648/getting-the-deal-through-cayman-islands-ship-finance-ndp-eyc.pdf

CAYMAN ISLANDS: THE AHAB FRAUD – THE MOST SUBSTANTIAL TRIAL EVER TO BE HEARD IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS – AND PERHAPS THE BIGGEST CASE YOU HAVE NEVER HEARD OF?

On 31st August, Harneys published an article saying that, in a landmark ruling for the Cayman Islands jurisdiction, the Grand Court in May emphatically dismissed a multi-billion dollar claim in the case of Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Company (AHAB) v SICL & Ors, involving allegations of fraud arising from one of the largest corporate collapses of the financial crisis.  The authors says that this case rivalled if not surpassed in respects, the notorious Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme which was also uncovered during the financial crisis, and has been described, both in terms of length and value, as the most substantial trial ever to be heard in the Cayman Islands.  The proceedings began as a family dispute between the AHAB partners and Maan Al-Sanea who was the head of AHAB’s investment division over a 30–year period and married to the daughter of one of the AHAB founding partners.  The fraud case is said to have involved allegations of fraud of an estimated $9.2 billion, and the proceedings began in the Cayman in 2009, but it was 6 years before the substantive trial began.  Proceedings involved debts owed by AHAB to Saudi banks.  The Cayman Islands was not the only trial venue in the saga; in 2011, 5 of the defrauded banks went to trial in London’s Commercial Court over AHAB’s unpaid borrowings.  There were also insolvency proceedings in New York by 2 of the defendant groups, and proceedings in Bahrain, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.  The article concludes that  the proceedings grew from a family dispute to the most substantial trial in Cayman Islands history, and that it also contributed to the development of US bankruptcy and Cayman Islands law.

https://www.harneys.com/media/1584/a-cauldron-of-fraud-ahab-v-sicl-ors-from-the-middle-east.pdf

‘CARTEL’ OF SIERRA LEONE OFFICIALS RAN PASSPORT SCAM FOR US VISAS

Reuters on 14th September reported that corrupt Sierra Leonean officials have been selling fraudulent service and diplomatic passports for thousands of dollars to individuals hoping to use them to enter the US, the country’s anti-corruption commissioner has said.  It said that Africa has a thriving black market for illegal passports, and a recent investigation uncovered a large network of bureaucrats in Sierra Leone selling passports for up to $7,000 and assisting buyers to apply for US visas with them.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/idUKKCN1LU254

DEUTSCHE BANK WARNING ABOUT DANSKE BANK CLIENTS

The Irish Times on 14th September reported that Deutsche Bank warned Danske Bank that it would only be comfortable dealing with 1 in 10 of a sample of customers at a branch that has emerged as the centre of one of Europe’s largest money-laundering scandals. Germany’s largest bank broke off its relationship as a correspondent bank for US dollars with Danske in Estonia in September 2015 because of concerns over non-resident customers.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/financial-services/deutsche-bank-warned-about-danske-clients-1.3629462

BAHAMAS: CENTRAL BANK INSPECTOR OUTLINES WHAT’S NEEDED TO INSULATE FINANCIAL SECTOR FROM CRIME

On 14th September, the Nassau Guardian reported that the Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) Inspector of Banks and Trust Companies has said while there has been a change in the culture toward AML/CTF, more is needed to insulate the entire financial sector.  He said that the issue with money laundering is, particularly in the wholesale end, is if someone is trying to launder say $100 million, they’re not amateurs.  In April, CBOB draft guidance notes on financial crime risk management and proliferation financing were released for consultation.  He was speaking ahead of the CBOB’s first national AML/CFT risk management conference scheduled for September 17th-18th.

https://thenassauguardian.com/2018/09/14/central-bank-inspector-outlines-whats-needed-to-insulate-financial-sector-from-crime/

BULGARIA: SPECIALISED PROSECUTION OFFICE INVESTIGATES ORGANISED CRIME GROUP INVOLVED IN ILLEGAL CIGARETTE PRODUCTION

On 14th September, the Bulgarian News Agency reported that the Specialised Prosecution Office is investigating an organised crime group involved in the illegal production of cigarettes and money laundering.  On August 24th, the Plovdiv District Prosecution Office charged 23 persons with possession of cigarettes without excise revenue stamps, produced in 4 illegally operating factories.  In the course of the investigation, the Plovdiv District Prosecution Office found evidence that the four illegal factories were managed by persons who were not among the 23 detainees, and that the production of cigarettes without excise revenue stamps was carried out by an organized crime group.  More searches and confiscations have now taken place.

http://www.bta.bg/en/c/DF/id/1869759

https://sofiaglobe.com/2018/09/14/bulgaria-prosecutors-raid-sofia-establishments-in-money-laundering-probe/

NOTICE TO EXPORTERS 2018/22: EXPORT CONTROL ORDER 2008 AMENDED AND FIREARMS EXPORT GUIDANCE NOTE PUBLISHED

In the UK on 14th September the Department for International Trade published a Notice to Exporters which says that the amending order extends the controls on firearms to include devices capable of being converted to firearms.  Also released is updated guidance provided to help direct exporters to the appropriate legislation when exporting firearms and their parts, components, accessories or ammunition and related software and technology, to either the EU Member States or to non-EU countries.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notice-to-exporters-201822-export-control-order-2008-amended-and-firearms-export-guidance-note-published

FRAUDSTERS JAILED FOR £2.4 MILLION FRAUDULENT CARBON CREDIT SCHEME

ITV News on 14th September reported that 4 men have been sentenced at Southwark Crown Court for conspiracy to defraud and money laundering offences.  The men were sentenced for their involvement in mis-selling carbon credits to 130 victims.  They miss-sold carbon credits to unsuspecting victims through 2 companies: Harman Royce Ltd and Kendrick Zale Ltd, between January 2012 and August 2013.

http://www.itv.com/news/london/2018-09-14/fraudsters-jailed-for-2-4-million-fraudulent-carbon-credit-scheme/

GERMANY AND SWEDEN TAKE ACTION AGAINST SYRIAN CYBER FRAUD GANG

On 14th September, Europol reported that 2 suspects were arrested on 12 September in a series of coordinated raids across Germany and Sweden in an investigation targeting a Syrian organised crime group suspected of cyber fraud.  The intelligence-led operation uncovered the organised crime group, composed of Syrian nationals, which was involved in fraudulently purchasing airline and train tickets.  According to information from Germany, more than 493 fraudulent bookings were identified. In most cases the tickets were one-way tickets from Beirut to European Member States.  The tech-savvy smugglers avoided detection by making the bookings using compromised corporate credit cards and credentials, purchased online from other criminals.  The fraudulent bookings were brought to the attention of law enforcement by the private sector, highlighting once again how instrumental public-private partnerships are in fighting this type of fraud.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/germany-and-sweden-take-action-against-cyber-fraud-gang

COURT OF APPEAL: SUBSEQUENT DECEIT CLAIM WAS NOT ABUSE OF PROCESS IN PLAYBOY CLUB CASINO CASE

Out-Law reported on 14th September that it was not an abuse of process for a casino to bring a further claim for deceit against a bank which had successfully defended a professional negligence claim against it, as significant new evidence had become available to the casino during the course of the original trial.  The original case arose out of Playboy Club’s decision to extend a significant credit facility to a customer of Banca Nazionale del Lavoro, following a favourable credit reference from the bank.  The customer, Hassan Barakat, ultimately defaulted on the facility, leaving Playboy Club with a total net loss of more than £800,000.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/september/subsequent-deceit-claim-not-process-abuse/

6 SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN FRANCE AND POLAND FOR €1.5 MILLION MOTORWAY CARGO ROBBERY

Europol on 14th September reported that French Gendarmerie and Polish Criminal Police have dismantled an organised crime group suspected of having committed at least 36 cargo thefts for a total estimated damage of €1.5 million.  Cargo theft in Europe is increasing in numbers of incidents, and also in the cost of lost goods, as the highly-organised criminal groups, originating mainly from Eastern Europe, frequently target high-value products.  This organised crime group under investigation targeted trucks at unsecured parking sites in Eastern France, although it is believed the criminals’ activities span across several other EU countries.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/new-motorway-robbery-6-suspects-arrested-in-france-and-poland-for-eur-15-million-cargo-robbery

EAST AFRICAN CUSTOMS CHANGES IN THE OFFING

The Citizen in Tanzania reported on 14th September on a proposed law change that would mean that customs services in the East African Community bloc are to receive advance information on goods crossing national borders from overseas, the advance information intended to facilitate the movements of the imported goods ahead of the arrival of vessels carrying them.

http://www.thecitizen.co.tz/News/EAC-customs-changes-in-the-offing/1840340-4759072-aq5jjnz/index.html

VENEZUELA, THE NEW REGIONAL CRIME HUB

Insight Crime on 13th September republished a New York Times article saying that Venezuela has become a regional crime hub, with profound consequences for Latin America and beyond.  It claims that Maduro is now maintained by a regime with suspected deep criminal roots and he is surrounded by people involved in criminal activity.  The author says that 3 years ago InSight Crime started collecting information on senior figures in the Venezuelan government involved in drug trafficking, the so-called “Cartel of the Suns” – the name came from the golden stars that the generals of the Bolivarian National Guard wear on their epaulets. The National Guard is responsible not only for internal security but also the frontiers, ports and airports, access to which every drug trafficker needs. It was the first institution to be systematically bribed by Colombian drug traffickers to allow cocaine shipments to transit Venezuela – however, it stopped opening new files when it hit 123 people sitting in senior positions in government in more than 12 state institutions, running out of manpower, not leads.  Cocaine is pouring into Venezuela from neighbouring Colombia and drug production has never been higher.  But, it says, the real money was being made, with no risk, through pillaging state coffers, and the lynchpin of this kleptocracy is the artificial currency control system.  For its fellow Latin American states – Central America, particularly Honduras and Guatemala and the Dominican Republic are affected by drugs smuggling, Aruba and Trinidad and Tobago have become contraband centres, and cheap Venezuelan gasoline gushes across the Colombian and Brazilian borders.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/venezuela-new-regional-crime-hub/

SINGAPORE’S NEW S-VACC FUND STRUCTURE

CMS Law produced an article explaining the new corporate structure for investment funds, the Variable Capital Company.  It says that alongside the recently-introduced new venture capital fund manager (VCFM) regime it promises to further strengthen Singapore’s position as a key asset management hub.

http://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2018/09/singapores-new-s-vacc-fund-structure-worth-waiting-for

NEW UNMANNED BOMB BOAT FOUND OFF YEMEN

Janes.com on 14th September reported that a new type of unmanned explosive-rigged boat has been discovered by pro-government forces off Yemen’s Red Sea coast, described as a “booby-trapped boat belonging to the Houthi militia”.  The craft was set up to be controlled by GPS and carried explosives in wooden boxes that were distributed in various locations.

https://www.janes.com/article/82987/new-unmanned-bomb-boat-found-off-yemen

LIKELY NEW JIHADIST CELL IN EASTERN BURKINA FASO POSES ELEVATED KIDNAP, DEATH AND INJURY RISKS TO FOREIGNERS

Janes.com on 13th September that the affected region where jihadist attacks that have spread to – in Burkina Faso’s Est region and killing at least 16 people, mostly military personnel, in the past month alone, also contains large gold reserves around Boungou, which international companies are beginning to exploit.

https://www.janes.com/article/82956/likely-new-jihadist-cell-in-eastern-burkina-faso-poses-elevated-kidnap-death-and-injury-risks-to-foreigners?from_rss=1

CITIES WITH THE MOST ULTRARICH PEOPLE

On 12th September, Rferl published a infographic –

RFERL

https://www.rferl.org/a/ultrarich-people/29486191.html

8,300 OFFICERS JOIN FORCES TO TACKLE CRIME FROM THE WESTERN BALKANS

A Europol news release on 14th September reported that almost half a million people, vehicles and premises were checked during a week’s Joint Action Days, co-ordinated by EMPACT Firearms and Europol, in the fight against crime originating from the Western Balkans.  For 4 days, 5th to 9th September, 8,300 officers from 28 countries, parties, EU’s Frontex and Interpol, were active at Europol’s headquarters and on the ground to fight against the illegal trafficking of firearms and drugs, facilitated illegal migration and document fraud.  A total of 482,014 people, vehicles, premises and parcels were checked against existing databases.  The operation saw 180 people arrested; 32 in the preliminary intelligence phase and 148 during the operational phase.

https://www.europol.europa.eu/newsroom/news/8-300-officers-join-forces-to-tackle-crime-western-balkans

26 PEOPLE APPREHENDED OFF PACIFIC COAST FOR MARITIME SMUGGLING IN 24-HOUR PERIOD

Homeland Security Today on 12th September reported that the US Border Patrol agents working in coordination with DHS Regional Coordinating Mechanism (ReCoM) partners arrested 26 people off the Pacific Coast associated with maritime smuggling in a 24-hour period.  In 17 days, the partners had apprehended 54 illegal aliens including 6 suspected human smugglers in 5 separate maritime events.  Over the last 10 years, ReCoM maritime operations have accounted for over 5,000 arrests and the seizure of more than 554,000 lb of drugs.

https://www.hstoday.us/federal-pages/dhs/cbp/26-people-apprehended-off-pacific-coast-for-maritime-smuggling-in-24-hour-period/

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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