18th September 2018
OLAF: UP TO FRANCE TO REQUEST HELP ON GENUINE CIGARETTES SMUGGLED FROM ALGERIA
EurActiv on 17th September reported that the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) stands ready to assist EU Member States, such as France, in the fight against illicit tobacco trade with third countries, but it’s up to the national authorities to make a request. EURACTIV had contacted OLAF following the publication of KPMG’s annual study ‘Project Sun’, which revealed that there had been a rise of genuine products, illegally smuggled, into France, especially from Algeria. The illicit flow from outside the EU and more specifically from Algeria is still very high, reaching 2.44 billion cigarettes in the illicit market. Marlboro was one of the most counterfeited brand in France in 2017. It also says that “Illicit whites” with no country-specific labelling remained the largest source of counterfeit and contraband (C&C) cigarettes, despite a decline in volume. Illicit whites are an emerging trend and have established their position on the EU black market. These cigarettes may be legally produced in a country, mainly in Belarus and Ukraine, but are then smuggled and traded illegally.
POLICE IN EUROPE TIE CARD FRAUD TO PEOPLE-SMUGGLING GANG
Bankinfosecuruity.com on 17th September reported that co-ordinated police raids in Germany and Sweden have resulted in the arrest of 2 individuals suspected of running a cyber fraud gang that used stolen payment card data to book hundreds of airline and train tickets to help smuggle people from the Middle East into Europe.
VIETNAMESE MAFIA UPS ROLE IN IVORY SMUGGLING
VN Express on 17th September reported that Vietnam remains a hub for ivory smuggling. It says that a report from the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), a London-based NGO, has released a report titled “Exposing the Hydra: The growing role of Vietnamese syndicates in ivory trafficking”. It says that most of the ivory seized by Vietnamese authorities originate in African countries and enter the country via sea, air and land routes with the help of some “specialists”, and that for each kilogram of ivory, these specialists charge between $145 – $417 for services like “clearance and transportation from Laos and Cambodia into Vietnam; “delivery”; or “sourcing ivory and clearance in Vietnam”. Typically, the ivory is concealed among legal goods like timber, agricultural products, art works and other items.
VIETNAMESE CRIME GANGS ‘MOUNTING THREAT TO ENDANGERED WILDLIFE’
Ekklesia on 18th September also reported on the NGO report
NEW DETAILS EMERGE OF FUEL SMUGGLING OFF MALTESE SHORES
The Malta Independent on 17th September reported that a UN Panel of Experts on Libya had presented a letter and a report addressed to UN Security Council detailing illegal activities off the coast of Malta. The Panel documented 6 attempts by the eastern National Oil Corporation in Benghazi to illicitly export crude oil, by both land and sea. It The explains how vessels involved in fuel smuggling sail south from Malta to the Gulf of Gabes, off the shores of Tunisia. The vessels then go off radar approximately 40 to 60 nautical miles off the Tunisian coast by, usually, turning off their AIS. After loading, they usually return to Malta or discharge the fuel at sea onto other vessels that carry it to its final destination. he Noor is one of the tankers used as an example. Activities came to a temporary halt in 2017 after arrests in Italy, but resumed in 2018.
KOREA’S FSC TO MANDATE REPORTING CASH TRANSACTION OF ABOVE $8,900
Pulse in South Korea on 18th September reported that South Korea’s financial regulator will require financial institutions to report all cash transactions over 10 million won ($8,884) from the second half of next year. Currently, it is compulsory for banks, financial investors and insurance firms to report any cash transactions over 20 million won ($17,768). Account holders who will withdraw or deposit 10 million won or more in cash from financial institutions are subject for reporting their cash transactions. Any activities that are traceable such as account transfer, foreign currency remittance, and cheque withdrawal are excluded from the reporting requirement. The change comes as the financial regulator is preparing for the FATF peer review in 2019.
ISRAEL: PROPOSAL TO EASE REQUIREMENTS FOR OPENING BUSINESS ACCOUNTS
Bloomberg BNA on 17th September reported that the Bank of Israel and Israel Tax Authority want feedback on plans to permit banks to accept solely signed declaration when opening accounts for public companies. This marks a departure from the usual process of considering a long list of potential warning signs. The move is part of regulatory moves “to ease the process of opening and managing a business account,” the Bank of Israel said.
IRISH HIGH COURT EXAMINES LAW ON ISAAC WUNDER ORDERS RESTRICTING CERTAIN MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC FROM ISSUING LEGAL PROCEEDINGS
On 13th September, McDowell Purcell published an article saying that the Irish High Court, in 2 separate cases, recently examined the law surrounding the granting of an Isaac Wunder Order restricting certain members of the public from issuing legal proceedings. This is an order restraining a person from instituting further proceedings against a party, where they are essentially a repeat of previous proceedings which have already been decided. The article includes links to the decisions.
WIDE-REACHING IMPLICATIONS OF THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE (CORRUPTION OFFENCES) ACT 2018 FOR CORPORATES IN IRELAND
On 3rd August, an article from law firm Matheson says that the Act which was signed into law by the President on 5th June, overhauls existing anti-corruption laws and introduces a number of new offences. One of the most important developments is the new corporate liability offence which allows for a corporate body to be held liable for the corrupt actions committed for its benefit by any director, manager, secretary, employee, agent or subsidiary. The Irish government has not issued any guidance to date on what will be considered to be ‘reasonable steps’ for the purposes of a defence; but Matheson says that guidance issued by the UK government on the similar defence under the UK’s Bribery Act 2010 can offer some assistance.
NCA RAMPS UP ITS AML DRIVE – PROFESSIONAL ADVISERS BE WARY
On 17th September, an article from MacFarlanes says that the NCA has announced a ramping up of its AML drive, as part of which we can expect to see a notable increase in the use of Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWO). Significantly, this looks likely to include a new focus on the AML arrangements in place at professional service providers such as lawyers, accountants and financial advisers though the use of UWO has been notably low since their introduction. It says that it appears that, going forward, the NCA will expect such advisers to file more SAR than they currently do and will subject their AML procedures to increased scrutiny.
THAILAND’S NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION LAW TARGETS FOREIGN CORPORATES
An article from Herbert Smith Freehills on 17th September reported that Thailand is the latest Asian jurisdiction to strengthen its anti-graft legislation. India, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and China have all introduced anti-bribery legislation this year. It says that the new law expands the definition of persons who can commit bribery to include foreign companies. Companies operating in Thailand, despite not being registered there, should put in place appropriate internal control measures or re-evaluate their measures so that they comply with relevant guidelines. The article describes the background and key principles of the new legislation. It also says that existing guidelines issued by the authorities continue to apply and include the 8 key principles.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE ON CORRUPTION COMPLIANCE IN FRANCE: GENERALLY UNSATISFACTORY
On 18th September, a news release from the Council of Europe’s GRECO body on corruption prevention in respect of members of parliament, judges and prosecutors concludes that France has implemented only 4 of the 11 recommendations made since 2013. GRECO concludes that the current level of compliance with its recommendations is “globally unsatisfactory”.
THE FIFTH AML DIRECTIVE AND CRYPTOCURRENCIES
A briefing from HFW on 17th September reports that the 5th AML Directive, published on 19th April directly tackles the cryptocurrency market, bringing the key gatekeepers to crypto-trading within the ambit of the EU’s AML regime, and considers its impact on the cryptocurrency market and ICO. It says that whilst the deadline for implementation of the Directive is 10th January 2020, after the March 2019 Brexit deadline, the UK is likely to implement the Directive in its own national law.
NIGERIAN FINANCE MINISTER RESIGNS OVER FORGERY ALLEGATIONS
On 17th September, defence web reported that Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun had resigned over allegations of using a forged certificate to avoid participation in the country’s mandatory 1-year national youth service scheme.
SUDAN ECONOMY UNRAVELLING
On 17th September, Defence Web reported on the state of the economy of Sudan. It says that restrictions on how much cash is available to commercial banks are among measures aimed at curbing rampant inflation and addressing an economic crisis. At over 60%, Sudan’s inflation rate is among the world’s highest.
AUSTRALIA: PHARMACEUTICAL GIANTS NAMED AND SHAMED IN TAX AVOIDANCE INVESTIGATION
9 News in Australia on 18th September reported that 4 pharmaceutical giants have been named and shamed for depriving Australia of $215 million a year in tax avoidance by posting a combined 7% loss in Australia, while simultaneously posting an overall average 31% profit in tax havens. A new Oxfam report uncovered evidence that 4 of the world’s largest global pharmaceutical companies “systematically stash their profits in overseas tax shelters” like Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands and Singapore.
COMPANY LINKED TO ALLEGED BRIBERY IN NAURU RECEIVED REFUGEE HOUSING CONTRACT
Radio New Zealand on 18th September reported that Australian police arrested and charged a director of Radiance International Pty, Mozu Bhojani, for conspiracy to bribe a foreign public official. They allege the Sydney-based businessman provided Nauruan officials with more than US$70,000 in kickbacks in exchange for favourable phosphate shipments between 2015 and 2018.
ANTI-TERRORISM BILL ‘UNDERMINES ACCESS TO LEGAL ADVICE’
The Law Society Gazette on 18th September reported that suspects detained under latest terrorism legislation making its way through parliament, the Counter-Terrorism and Border security Bill, could be questioned for an hour unaccompanied by a solicitor, the Law Society has warned. Even then, the onus is on the detainee to request a solicitor and consultations would not be private.
SOUTH KOREA’S IRANIAN CRUDE OIL IMPORTS PLUNGE 86.5%
On 17th September, Customs Today reported that South Korea’s crude oil imports from Iran plunged 86.5% in August from a year earlier due to pending re-imposition of US sanctions on Tehran, according to preliminary data released by the Korea Customs Service.
SRI LANKA IS BUILDING A $15 BILLION METROPOLIS TO RIVAL CITIES LIKE HONG KONG & DUBAI
Customs Today on 17th September reported that Sri Lanka’s $1.4 billion Port City development has elicited parallels to a number of major urban centre. At 269 hectares, the project is about the same size as central London, but its design resembles cities like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. According to the site’s developer, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC), the project is still on track to complete its reclamation efforts and the first phase of infrastructure by 2020. Port City is set to be finished in 2041.
15 WAYS YOU COULD BE THE NEXT VICTIM OF CYBERCRIME
On 18th September, Europol published a news release about its latest cybercrime report that provides insights into emerging threats and key developments.
EUROPE: JOINT INDUSTRY POSITION ON MARITIME SINGLE WINDOW
On 17th September, an e-Flash from FIATA reported that a coalition of European organisations in maritime logistics including CLECAT, ECASBA, EMPA, ESC, ESPO, FEPORT and IPCSA issued a joint position paper welcoming the Commission proposal for a Regulation which established a European Maritime Single Window environment (EMSWe). The aim is to simplify and harmonise the administrative procedures applied to maritime transport with obligation for Member States to establish National Single Windows (NSW) for reporting formalities from ships arriving in and/or departing from ports. The proposal for a new EMSWe Regulation is intended to solve these issues and achieve the original goals of harmonisation and increased efficiency.
TAXATION OF CRYPTOCURRENCIES IN EUROPE
On 17th September, Osborne Clarke published an article providing brief details of how cryptocurrencies are taxed in various EU Member States.
US DROPS CHARGES AGAINST EX-SENEGAL OFFICIAL IN CHINESE ENERGY BRIBERY CASE
Baker McKenzie on 17th September reported that US federal prosecutors have quietly dismissed charges against a former Senegalese government official, Cheikh Gadio, but offered no explanation for the decision. He had been accused of conspiring with a representative of a large Chinese energy company in a bribery case.
US AND RUSSIA TRADE ACCUSATIONS OF INTERFERENCE IN UN EXPERT PANEL’S NORTH KOREAN REPORT
A news release from UN on 17th September said that representatives from the US and Russia traded accusations over the report of the Panel of Experts relating to the sanctions imposed on the DPRK, as the UN Security Council met to consider non‑proliferation.
IS FENTANYL DEADLY TO THE TOUCH?
The Crime Report on 17th September reported that despite recent “scare” stories, there’s no evidence that simply touching fentanyl can lead to overdoses. No one disputes that it’s a dangerous drug, but unsupported fears about the effects of exposure could make first responders less willing to help individuals who are overdosing.
THE DARK UNDERBELLY OF CRYPTOCURRENCY MARKETS
A article published by Medium on 18th September focuses on the incentives that cause ranking sites to uncritically include junk exchange volume in their data. The major stakeholders in this market are exchanges (naturally), altcoin/cryptocurrency/fork issuers, and coin rankings sites, which mutually work together to extract value from one group: retail investors. Unwitting investors juice the whole operation with infusions of capital. The article seeks to explain the role of each player in turn.
US NATIONAL TERRORISM ADVISORY SYSTEM BULLETIN
On 14th September, the US Department of Homeland Security reissued the Bulletin summarising the terrorism threat to the US homeland, and highlighting that the threat – from outside and domestic, homegrown terrorists continues to be high.
‘DEVIOUS’ YORK CONMAN MUST REPAY £1 MILLION FROM GLOBAL FRAUD
York Mix on 18th September reported that Paul Blanchard, 73, was involved in a multimillion-pound fraud spanning the UK, Spain, Gibraltar and Tenerife. In February 2008 he was sentenced to 6½ years’ imprisonment for his part in a ‘bold and audacious fraud’ to steal £4.3 million from a bank in Dublin and transfer the cash to Spain. He has now been made subject to a confiscation order in the sum of £1,026,887.45, from the sale of properties in York and Essex, together with a high-value personalised registration number. The court ordered that nearly £800,000 of the confiscated money be paid in compensation to his victims. If he fails to pay up within 3 months, he will go back to prison for a further 5 years, but serving that sentence will not extinguish the confiscation order.
GARUDA INDONESIA AIRLINE SUES ROLLS ROYCE OVER FRAUD CLAIMS
On 18th September, Nikkei Asian Review reported that the engine maker and its subsidiary, Rolls Royce Total Care Service, is being sued over an allegedly fraudulent contract that was signed when Emirsyah Satar, who was later named as a suspect in a corruption case involving the British multinational, was the CEO of the carrier. He spent 9 years as the head of Garuda between 2005 and 2014, but was named as a suspect by the country’s anti-graft agency in January 2017 in a multinational bribery scandal involving Rolls Royce, and is alleged to have received more than $3 million in kickbacks.
ITALIAN COURT SET TO GIVE FIRST RULING IN OPL 245 OIL BRIBERY CASE
Energy Mix Report on 18th September reported that Shell and Eni will be carefully monitoring a first ruling by a Milan judge in one of the energy industry’s biggest corruption scandals for clues to what might be around the corner for them. The companies are embroiled in a long-running graft case revolving around the purchase in 2011 of one of Africa’s biggest oilfields – Nigeria’s OPL 245 – for about $1.3 billion. In addition to these 2 companies, 13 defendants were sent to trial by an Italian judge in December 2017.
NCA STATEMENT ON CONTINGENCY PLANNING AND BREXIT
On 18th September, NCA issued a statement from Director General (Operations) Steve Rodhouse. Amongst other things, he says that the NCA and the wider UK law enforcement community remain committed to maintaining close relationships with EU partners to make most effective use of the tools and processes available to us after the UK leaves the European Union.
FCA POINTS WAY TO COMBATING £1 BILLION PAYMENTS SYSTEM FRAUD
On 18th September, Baker McKenzie reported that the FCA has published guidance to help the financial services sector combat payments fraud, which costs £1 billion a year, by requiring them to roll out tougher procedures on customer authentication and to report breaches, in an overhaul of payments services legislation. The FCA set out guidelines for payments companies.
INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT SENTENCES FORMER DR CONGO VICE-PRESIDENT FOR WITNESS TAMPERING
On 18th September, Jurist reported that the ICC had sentenced the former Vice President of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Jean-Pierre Bemba, to 12 months in prison and a $50,000 fine for bribing witnesses during his war crimes trial in 2016.
MALTA: 10 TONNES OF CANNABIS RESIN WORTH €28.5 MILLION INSIDE CONTAINER SHIP
Malta Today on 18th September reported the ‘largest ever drug find in Malta’ as over 15 tonnes of cannabis resin intercepted at Malta Freeport inside container ship sailing to Libya.
FRANCE: EX-SARKOZY AIDE CHARGED WITH BRIBERY IN ELECTION FINANCING PROBE
Baker McKenzie on 18th September reported that judges probing the financing of Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign, allegedly with cash from Libyan dictator Moamer Kadhafi, charged the French ex-president’s former right-hand man with taking bribes. Claude Gueant, who was interior minister in Sarkozy’s government, was also charged with misuse of public funds and conspiracy in illegal campaign financing.
ILLEGAL, UNREPORTED AND UNREGULATED (IUU) FISHING
On 18th September, the EU Parliament Research service produced a report and infographic on IUU. It says that The IUU Regulation (1005/2008) is the core of EU’s legal framework for action against global IUU fishing. Its primary objective is to prevent, deter and eliminate the trade of IUU-caught products into the EU. One of its key components is a multiple-step procedure for dealing with non-EU countries considered unco-operative in the fight against IUU fishing.