OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 15

15th October 2018

DO DATA POLICY RESTRICTIONS INHIBIT TRADE IN SERVICES?

A working paper from the European Centre for International Political Economy (ECIPE in October examines whether restrictive data policies impact trade in services over the internet.  It distinguishes between policies regulating the cross-border movement of data and policies regulating the domestic use of data.  It is said to show that strict data policies negatively and significantly impact imports of data-intense services.  This negative impact is stronger for countries with better developed digital networks.

http://ecipe.org/publications/do-data-policy-restrictions-inhibit-trade-in-services/

MALDIVES: YAMEEN’S DESPERATE MOVES TO STAY IN POWER

Eurasia Review on 15th October published an article which says that, after losing the election by an overwhelming margin and after conceding defeat publicly, President Yameen is said to now up to his old tricks to stay in power with the help of his former cronies in the Judiciary and the Security Forces.

http://www.eurasiareview.com/15102018-maldives-yameens-desperate-moves-to-stay-in-power-analysis

OFFSHORE WEALTH: LOOPHOLES FOUND IN EU ANTI-TAX EVASION RULES

The Guardian on 15th October published an article saying that European common reporting standards rules designed to make it harder for wealthy individuals and companies to hide their cash offshore have loopholes that mean foreign accounts can be kept secret from tax collectors, a report from the European Green party, shared with the Guardian, has warned.  It says that, as of June 2018, at least 43 countries were not committed to implementing the common reporting standard, including Montenegro, Serbia and Ukraine.  It points out 2 commonly used loopholes – setting up bank accounts in one of the 43 countries or in the US using a company name, or using “golden visas” to obtain citizenship.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2018/oct/15/offshore-wealth-loopholes-found-eu-anti-tax-evasion-rules

HMRC BOSSES ‘BLACKLIST’ MORE THAN 150 PUBLIC FIGURES FOR HONOURS INCLUDING KNIGHTHOODS OVER TAX AVOIDANCE

The Daily Mail on 15th October reported that HMRC is said to alert the Cabinet Office when nominees are involved in controversial tax schemes, assigning them a rating of low, medium or high risk.  A freedom of information request has found that up to 43 people recommended for an honour have been flagged as red, or high risk, since January 2013.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6274917/Customs-bosses-blacklist-150-public-figures-Honours.html

NEW HUNGARIAN LEGISLATION ON NATIONAL SECURITY VETTING OF FOREIGN INVESTORS TO APPLY FROM 1ST JANUARY

Allen & Overy on 12th October published an article saying that the Hungarian Parliament adopted a new law – still awaiting Presidential sign-off and publication – which will require ministerial approval for foreign direct investment into specific sectors – defence, dual use products, cryptography and wire-tapping products, financial services, energy, government registries and the electronic communications sector.

http://www.allenovery.com/publications/en-gb/Pages/New-Hungarian-legislation-on-national-security-vetting-of-foreign-investors-to-apply-from-1-January-2019.aspx

CHEMICAL WEAPONS TREATY: TIME FOR CHEMICAL INDUSTRY TO STEP UP

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on 12th October reported that the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) is preparing to move its focus from purely the disarmament of nation-states, to expand to include preventing terrorist groups and other “non-state actors” from acquiring chemical weapons — while also preventing the re-emergence of chemical weapons among states.  The article suggests the chemicals industry could help by funding the work of the OPCW.

https://thebulletin.org/2018/10/time-for-the-chemical-industry-to-step-up-to-the-plate/

TACKLING ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE IN AFRICA: ECONOMIC INCENTIVES AND APPROACHES

Chatham House on 11th October published a paper saying that illegal wildlife trade (IWT) significantly impacts African economies by destroying and corroding natural, human and social capital stocks.  It argues that the economic value of African ecosystems is often under-recognised because they remain unquantified, partly due to the lack of available data on the broader economic costs of IWT.  Improved monitoring and evaluation with key performance indicators would help governments and citizens to appreciate the economic value of combating IWT.

https://www.chathamhouse.org/publication/tackling-illegal-wildlife-trade-africa-economic-incentives-and-approaches

SYRIA: HOW CHEMICAL WEAPONS HAVE HELPED BRING ASSAD CLOSE TO VICTORY

On 14th October, the BBC published a lengthy article about a joint investigation by BBC Panorama and BBC Arabic shows for the first time the extent to which chemical weapons have been crucial to his war-winning strategy.  It says use of chemical weapons has been widespread, with 106 attacks documented.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-45586903

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FORMER KREMLIN OFFICIAL “CHARGED WITH LUXURY WATCHES FRAUD”

The Moscow Times on 15th October reported that an active Russian security official and former Kremlin staffer has been reportedly charged with embezzling more than $300,000 from a luxury watch pawnbroker.  Mikhail Gorbatov, a Federal Security Service (FSB) colonel and the presidential administration’s former chief of monitoring and inspection, faces up to 2 years in prison.

https://themoscowtimes.com/news/former-kremlin-official-charged-with-luxury-watches-fraud-media-reports-63190

EX-CHIEF OF CHINA ASSET MANAGEMENT FIRM PROSECUTED FOR GRAFT
Channel News Asia on 15th October reported that Lai Xiaomin, chairman of the Hong Kong-listed China Huarong Asset Management Co, the former chairman of the Chinese state-controlled asset management firm will be prosecuted for corruption, authorities said, the latest senior figure to be felled in the government’s anti-corruption dragnet.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/business/ex-chief-of-china-asset-management-firm-prosecuted-for-graft-10828728

SPAIN SET FOR CLAMPDOWN ON GAMBLING ADS

iGaming Business on 15th October reported that tougher advertising rules imposed by the Spanish government, similar to those placed on tobacco, may be included in the country’s 2019 Budget.  In 2005, Spain introduced regulations that prohibit the sponsorship of tobacco products, as well as all kinds of advertising and promotion in the media, with a handful of exceptions.  This would follow a blanket ban on advertising of gambling in Italy earlier this year.

http://www.igamingbusiness.com/news/spain-set-clampdown-gambling-ads

POLICE RECORD LARGEST-EVER BUST OF DRUGS SMUGGLED INTO SOUTH KOREA

The Yonhap News Agency on 15th October reported that the scheme involved Taiwanese and Japanese organised crime and Korean dealers.  6 people were arrested in the attempted trafficking of 112 kg of methamphetamine, according to police, estimated to be worth $326.56 million.

http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/news/2018/10/15/0200000000AEN20181015005751315.html?input=rss

90% OF MAJOR EUROPEAN BANKS ALREADY SANCTIONED FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

EurActiv on 15th October reported that, according to a British report, 18 of the 20 leading European banks have already been sanctioned for money laundering offences over the past decade.  It says that the huge scandal which recently rocked Danske Bank highlighted the deficiencies in money laundering checks. This problem is not unique to this Danish bank but concerns the entire European banking sector at various levels.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/economy-jobs/news/90-des-grandes-banques-europeennes-deja-sanctionnees-pour-blanchiment/

FRENCH PROSECUTOR RECOMMENDS DROPPING CHARGES AGAINST SENIOR RWANDAN OFFICIALS

Defence Web on 15th October reported that a French prosecutor has recommended dropping charges against 8 senior Rwandan officials, including the defence minister, being investigated over the death of President Juvenal Habyarimana in 1994 – the act that sparked the genocide in the country.  The probe, started in France in 1998 following demands by relatives of the French crew who died in the air crash.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53433:drop-charges-against-senior-rwandan-officials–french-prosecutor&catid=56:diplomacy-a-peace&Itemid=111

https://www.jurist.org/news/2018/10/france-prosecutors-move-to-dismiss-rwanda-genocide-charges/

 

UK PUBLIC SECTOR COUNTER FRAUD PROFESSION

There are 10 Core Disciplines and 5 Sub-Disciplines in the counter fraud framework:

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Each discipline (in this example, Investigation) breaks down into Key Components, and then individual Elements, against which members can assess themselves:

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https://quarterly.blog.gov.uk/2018/10/15/we-need-to-talk-about-fraud/

CYPRUS: MAN ARRESTED IN BELGIAN MATCH-FIXING CASE APPEALS EXTRADITION

The Cyprus Mail on 15th October reported that a 52-year-old man, a national of another European country and a holder of a Cypriot passport who has been living in Cyprus for the past 20 years, who was arrested in Cyprus as part of a major investigation by Belgian authorities into financial fraud and possible match-fixing, is challenging his extradition to Belgium.

https://cyprus-mail.com/2018/10/15/man-arrested-for-belgian-match-fixing-appeals-extradition

BAHAMAS IMMIGRATION FRAUD CASE ILLUSTRATES TOUGH US ENFORCEMENT PROBLEMS

On 15th October, an article from the US-based Center for Immigration Studies posed the question: how does US law enforcement tackle immigration fraud happening in another country without seeking the co-operation of that nation’s officials — on the apparent grounds that some of them are not trustworthy?  It then seeks to answer using evidence from 2 documents filed in the federal courts in the District of Columbia, dealing with the arrest of an alleged Bahamian fraudster.  The would-be migrants to the US were 4 Haitians living in the Bahamas and 1 Bahamian.

https://cis.org/North/Bahamas-Immigration-Fraud-Case-Illustrates-Tough-Enforcement-Problems

HOW A MAJOR WESTERN BANK ENABLED A SUSPECTED RUSSIAN MONEY LAUNDERER

On 15th October, Buzz Feed published an article about how documents show how in 2012 the bank loaned $3 million to a company linked with Cyprus and connected to Russian tax fraud and later linked to the special counsel’s investigation – despite the fact that its owner had been fined after an Israeli money laundering investigation and suspicions that the company was a beneficiary of the largest tax fraud in Russian history.  The details are coming to light as a result of the investigation into suspected Russian interference in the 2016 US election.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/azeenghorayshi/prevezon-mueller-investigation-td-bank

BAHAMAS CENTRAL BANK OUTLINES STEPS TAKEN TO INCREASE CORRESPONDENT BANK COMFORT WITH BAHAMIAN RISK

The Nassau Guardian on 15th October reported that the Central Bank of The Bahamas (CBOB) is making it easier for correspondent banks to track the positive and negative developments of local banks, by providing more access to public information and private information flows.  It is also said that CBOB will soon produce the first in an annual series of publications that will summarise AML/CFT risk management in The Bahamas, and that by next year, a website with archives and news sources on matters relating to Bahamian AML/CFT risk will be launched.

https://thenassauguardian.com/2018/10/15/central-bank-outlines-steps-taken-to-increase-correspondent-bank-comfort-with-bahamian-risk

ALGERIA: 5 GENERALS BEHIND BARS ON CORRUPTION CHARGES

Asharq Al-Awsat reported on 15th October that the military court in Algeria has imprisoned 5 top military members, who were dismissed for alleged corruption and bribery, charged with “illicit enrichment” and “use of a senior officer’s function for personal purposes”.

https://aawsat.com/english/home/article/1427186/algerian-army-five-generals-behind-bars-corruption-charges

RICIN AND THE THREAT IT POSES

A post from Bellingcat on 15th October is intended to provide an overview of ricin and the threat it poses.  Ricin has been used or implicated in many criminal and/or terrorist cases, including this year.  The post explains that ricin is a toxin and is naturally occurring, found in castor beans and it takes its name from the botanical name (ricinus communis) of the castor bean plant.  Ricin can be found as a by-product of the manufacture of castor beans.  In fact, the mash that is left over after processing castor beans has a reasonably high ricin content.  In its pure form, ricin is a powder. Ricin can be injected, inhaled, and absorbed through the eyes.  Unlike nerve agents, ricin does not readily absorb through the skin, so merely handling the powder is not as dangerous as breathing it or ingesting it.  Ricin is covered by both the Chemical Weapons Convention and the earlier, broader Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention and, technically, is or can be classified as a WMD.

https://www.bellingcat.com/resources/2018/10/15/use-of-ricin-is-this-amateur-hour/

FDA WARNS CHINESE VAPING FIRM OF STIFF CONSEQUENCES FOR ADDING VIAGRA TO E-CIG LIQUID

Illicit Trade on 15th October reported that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has told a Chinese electronic cigarette manufacturer, HelloCig Electronic Technology, not to sell vaping juice laced with erectile dysfunction drugs such as Viagra and Cialis – threatening it with “stiff” penalties(!).

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2018/10/fda-warns-chinese-vaping-firm-of-stiff-consequences-for-adding-viagra-to-e-cig-liquid/

SCOTTISH POLICE LAUNCH CRACKDOWN ON MODERN SLAVERY AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING

Illicit Trade on 15th October reported that Police in Scotland have launched a new campaign to raise awareness of human trafficking, modern slavery and sexual exploitation.  Launching the campaign this morning, the force revealed that 44 women and 2 men have identified themselves as victims of trafficking in Scotland for the purposes of sexual exploitation since the beginning of this year, 7 of whom were girls under the age of 18.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2018/10/scottish-police-launch-crackdown-on-modern-slavery-and-human-trafficking/

PANAMA SECURITY OFFICIALS IMPLICATED IN INTERNATIONAL ARMS TRAFFICKING NETWORK

Insight Crime on 15th October reported that authorities in Panama are asking the US for assistance in investigating an international arms trafficking network that may have included the participation of former security officials, raising questions about the country’s role in the regional arms trafficking trade.  The case implicates several former officials from the Central American nation’s Public Security Directorate (Dirección Institucional de Asuntos de Seguridad Pública – DIASP).  Authorities are said to be investigating 9 individuals, 8 of whom are former DIASP officials, for their alleged role in importing 100 weapons into Panama after they were purchased in the US.  It says that, in 2006, UNODC found that Panama acts as the “principal port of entry” for illicit firearms from the US and Central America that are traveling into Colombia.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/panama-security-officials-international-arms-trafficking/

US JUSTICE DEPARTMENT DESIGNATES MS-13 AND HEZBOLLAH AND 3 OTHERS GROUPS AS TRANSNATIONAL CRIME GROUPS

The Washington Examiner and others on 15th October reported that the DoJ has designated 5 groups – MS-13 and Lebanese Hezbollah, Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generación, the Sinaloa Cartel, and Clan del Golfo – as transnational crime groups, making the groups among the highest priority of law enforcement.  The DoJ has also formed a task force to tackle the groups, and will present the Attorney General with specific recommendations within 90 days.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/doj-designates-ms-13-hezbollah-as-transnational-crime-groups

CHEMICAL WEAPONS: EU COUNCIL ADOPTS A NEW SANCTIONS REGIME

An EU news release on 15th October announced that the EU Council had decided to adopt a new regime of restrictive measures to address the use and proliferation of chemical weapons – to impose sanctions:

  • On persons and entities involved in the development and use of chemical weapons anywhere, regardless of their nationality and location; and
  • To target persons and entities who are directly responsible for the development and use of chemical weapons as well as those who provide financial, technical or material support, and those who assist, encourage or are associated with them.

Sanctions are to involve a travel ban on entering the EU and an asset freeze for persons, and an asset freeze for entities.  In addition, EU persons and entities would be forbidden from making funds available to those listed.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/10/15/chemical-weapons-the-council-adopts-a-new-sanctions-regime/pdf

ANTIGUA & BARBUDA AML/CFT MUTUAL EVALUATION REPORT

On 15th October, FATF published the mutual evaluation report following an on-site visit by the CFTAF in June 2017.   Amongst its key findings were that –

  • The co-operation co-ordination mechanisms are not being fully utilised by the domestic competent authorities to develop evidence and trace criminal proceeds related to money laundering, predicate offences and terrorist financing leading to confiscation;
  • “Fit and proper” requirements for licensed entities are not employed consistently;
  • There are no licensing requirements for a number of sectors, including high-value dealers, estate and travel agencies;
  • AML/CFT supervision is not consistent across the DNFBP sector;
  • Examinations by authorities are rules-based rather than on a risk-based approach
  • Requirements to identify ultimate beneficial owners are not applied to International Business Companies and other legal persons;
  • The quality and levels of SAR reported by financial institutions and particularly by DNFBP is low; and
  • Financial institutions and DNFBP do not consistency refuse business where CDD information is incomplete. EDD and mitigation measures for PEP and other high-risk customers are not consistently applied.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/mutualevaluations/documents/mer-antigua-barbuda-2018.html

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In addition –

FATF SCHEDULE OF MUTUAL EVALUATION ASSESSMENT RESULTS UPDATED

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/mutualevaluations/documents/assessment-ratings.html