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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
UK PUBLIC SECTOR COUNTER FRAUD PROFESSION
There are 10 Core Disciplines and 5 Sub-Disciplines in the counter fraud framework:
Each discipline (in this example, Investigation) breaks down into Key Components, and then individual Elements, against which members can assess themselves:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
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(!).
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.