The Malta Independent on 14th September reported that Star Xu, the founder of a cryptocurrency exchange OKEx was apparently detained for questioning by the Shanghai police, allegedly in connection with certain fraud allegations. It says that police were responding to several complaints they received about WFee coin – likely from investors who had lost money in the scheme. Star Xu is allegedly a shareholder of WFee coin.
EU Regulation 2018/1231/EU, with effect from 13th September and following the amendment made in August to UN lists, has amended the entry relating to PRO-GAIN GROUP CORPORATION.
THE ISLE OF MAN AND UK AMENDED THEIR NORTH KOREAN SANCTIONS ACCORDINGLY
EU Regulation 2018/1230/EU, with effect from 14th September and following a review by the EU Council, has amended a great many of the designations of individuals and entities in Annex I to EU Regulation 269/2014/EU concerning restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.
On 13th September, the often very interesting Export Control Blog posted an item reflecting on problems that can arise when US exporters have to check the Entity List, which contains the names of foreign entities subject to US export control restrictions. The Export Administration Regulations (EAR) contain a list of names of certain foreign persons – including businesses, research institutions, government and private organizations, individuals, and other types of legal persons – that are subject to specific licence requirements for the export, re-export and/or transfer (in-country) of specified items. These persons comprise the so-called “Entity List”. The posting concerns the case of Mohawk Logistics Corporation, recently subject to penalties for the export of items to institutions on the Entity List without the required licence – though, in both instances, Mohawk screened against the list, but things went wrong. For example, one of the exports was for the University of Electronic Science and Technology of China. Rather than screen against the full name of the university, Mohawk just screened the university’s commonly-used acronym — UESTC. As a result, it failed to flag the transaction. Another export was to a Russian entity, the abbreviation for which was translated into VNIIEF from the Cyrillic, but was still missed by the company. It seems that due to change in the listing, searches for VNIIEF, the common name of that entity, prior to 2011 would not have turned up anything – and so the posting cautions, don’t (just) search on abbreviations or acronyms. The same argument should apply to sanctions list checks too.
Der Spiegel in Germany on 13th September reported that that Germany, France and UK will create a “special-purpose entity” that will allow EU oil importers and other companies to finance their business with Iran — circumventing banks and other traditional channels, and hence US sanctions. A French idea, the new vehicle will not be a bank, but will have the legal form of a so-called special purpose vehicle.
Australian Financial Review on 13th September reported that the government could require real estate agents to report suspicious real estate purchases by foreign buyers as part of efforts to strengthen AML protection. Parliament’s joint public accounts and audit committee is considering deficiencies in data on the federal government’s crackdown on foreign property buyers. Currently, foreign investors are required to gain approval before buying real estate in Australia, with residential rules banning the purchase of existing properties but not new builds. The article provides a summary of a recent crackdown by the Australian Tax Office involving formal disposal orders had been issued for 75 properties since 2015, worth a combined $135 million, and 156 properties around Australia being sold in voluntary disposals by foreign investors, worth a combined $150 million.