OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – OCTOBER 25

25th October 2018

BVI AEOI UPDATE AND INTRODUCTION OF COUNTRY-BY-COUNTRY REPORTING

On 24th October, Maples published an article saying that, as part of the ongoing commitment of the BVI to international tax transparency pursuant to the Common Reporting Standard (“CRS”), the BVI Mutual Legal Assistance (Tax Matters) Act, 2003 has been amended w.e.f. 18th September (save for the parts relating to country-by-country reporting which were deemed to have come into force on 1st January 2018).  It describes the key changes made by the amendments and provides details –

  • All BVI financial institutions are required to establish, implement and maintain written policies and procedures for the purposes of complying with their CRS obligations;
  • They are required to register with the BVI International Tax Authority by 30th April 2019 (or by 30th April of the year following becoming a financial institution);
  • They now have reporting obligations, and are required to file nil returns if they have no reportable accounts in respect of the previous calendar year; and
  • Country-by-country reporting has been introduced, which essentially implements in the BVI the model legislation published pursuant to the OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action 13 Report (Transfer Pricing Documentation and Country-by-Country Reporting).

https://www.maplesandcalder.com/news/article/bvi-aeoi-update-and-introduction-of-country-by-country-reporting-1794/

THE SEATRADE VERDICT: HAS SCRAPPING JUST GOT A LOT MORE ONEROUS?

On 2nd October, Ince & Co published an article about a Dutch case involving a breach of the EU Regulation No. 1013/2006 on shipments of waste (EWSR) which, it says, has potentially wide-reaching implications for ship-owners based in Europe and beyond who are considering scrapping their vessels.  In 2012, Seatrade sold 4 reefer vessels for scrapping.  The vessels sailed from the ports of Rotterdam and Hamburg to India, Bangladesh and Turkey, where they were beached then scrapped.  3 out of the 4 ships carried cargo en route to their destinations.  Under the EWSR seagoing vessels flying the flag of an EU Member State must be recycled at a recycling facility that meets the requirements set out in the Regulation.  The case demonstrates that the practice of selling vessels to buyers who then re-flag the vessels and scrap them may not help ship-owners avoid liability.

https://www.incelaw.com/en/knowledge-bank/the-seatrade-verdict-has-scrapping-just-got-a-lot-more-onerous

GREECE: NUMBER OF SMUGGLED AND COUNTERFEIT GOODS SEIZED DOUBLES

On 24th October, Ekathimerini reported that Greece’s financial crime squad has announced that the number of counterfeit and smuggled goods it had confiscated in January-September 2018 came to almost twice that seized in the same period last year.  Apparel items account for the lion’s share.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/233995/article/ekathimerini/business/number-of-smuggled-and-counterfeit-goods-seized-doubles

IRELAND: PRIVATE MEMBER’S BILL AIMS TO TACKLE SMUGGLING OF CIGARETTES AND ALCOHOL

RTE on 24th October reported that a new Bill introduced by a border TD is aimed at stepping up the fight against smuggling aims to introduce on the spot fines for purchasing illicit goods.  It is claimed that 13% of all packs of cigarettes in Ireland are illegal and this represented a €229 million loss to the exchequer last year.   However, the Irish Government is not supporting the Bill as the approach of tackling purchasers of illicit goods instead of suppliers “raises a number of serious issues.”

https://www.rte.ie/news/politics/2018/1024/1006481-bill-aims-to-tackle-smuggling-of-cigarettes-and-alcohol/

WASHING POWDER BEING SMUGGLED ACROSS BORDER IN NORTHERN IRELAND

The Guardian on 24th October reported that washing powder is one of the latest commodities being smuggled across the border, MPs on a Common Select Committee were told amid warnings that the region could become a significant gateway for mislabelled meat and other food to enter the UK post-Brexit.  At present, just 3 categories of goods, alcohol, tobacco and fuel have different duties north and south of the border.  PSNI and Gardaí operations show that criminals from all over the world are using Ireland as a potential gateway into the UK including gangs from Russia, Lithuania, Africa and Asia, it was claimed.

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/24/washing-powder-being-smuggled-across-border-in-northern-ireland-brexit-mps-told

FAMILY CAUGHT SMUGGLING DEAD RELATIVE INTO UKRAINE BY STRAPPING HER INTO CAR SEAT AND PRETENDING SHE WAS ALIVE

The Independent on 24th October carried this bizarre story about a family taking the corpse from Russia, and the explanation that they were trying to get the corpse into Ukraine in order to bury it in the Zaporozhye region, around 190 miles from Kharkiv.  It is unclear, however, why they attempted to smuggle the body.  Ukrainian law requires corpses be transported in sealed zinc coffins when crossing state borders.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/ukraine-dead-woman-family-car-smuggling-kharkiv-russia-death-certificate-a8600116.html

OVER 200,000 CONGOLESE DRIVEN OUT OF ANGOLA IN DIAMOND SMUGGLING ROW

The Chronicle in the US on 24th October reported that Angolan officials in less than a month evicted between 200,000 and 400,000 migrants, mostly Congolese from the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), claiming the migrants were plundering Angola’s resources – specifically diamonds.  The UNHCR said the Congolese had been working as informal miners and the mass expulsions were contrary to obligations under the African Charter.  “Operation Transparency” is aimed at reducing diamond smuggling and raising more revenues from the lucrative sector.  Diamonds seized in the operation were worth more than $1 million, a Minister is quoted as saying, and over 200 premises for illegal diamond trading were closed with 59 weapons seized.  Angola is the world’s No.4 diamond producer by value and No.6 by volume, with companies such as Australia’s Lucapa Diamond frequently finding massive precious rocks beneath the soil.  The operation is scheduled to continue for 2 years.

https://www.charlestonchronicle.net/2018/10/24/over-200000-congolese-driven-out-of-angola-in-anti-smuggling-row/

AUSTRALIA: AUSTRAC ANNUAL REPORT HIGHLIGHTS INCREASED SUSPICIOUS MATTER REPORTING

Regulation Asia on 25th October reported that a 70% increase in suspicious matter reporting over the previous year was partly attributed to the strong message sent by AUSTRAC’s A$700mn enforcement action against the CBA bank.  AUSTRAC (the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre) has released its latest annual report.  It received more than 136 million reports, a 22% increase from the previous year. This figure represented more than 370,000 reports per day.

https://www.regulationasia.com/austrac-annual-report-highlights-increased-suspicious-matter-reporting/

The report is available at –

http://www.austrac.gov.au/sites/default/files/AUSTRAC_annual_report_2017-18.pdf

US STEPS IN TO CLEAN UP CYPRUS

Lawyer Monthly on 24th October carried an article that, in the light of ongoing discussions around the Cypriot failure to tackle money laundering and economic crime, a global banking expert discusses US efforts to force the island to improve its policies.

https://www.lawyer-monthly.com/2018/10/us-steps-in-to-clean-up-cyprus/

FCA PUBLISHES REVIEW OF AML/CFT CONTROLS IN E-MONEY SECTOR

Brodies LLP has published an article about a recent FCA report that makes clear that identifying and addressing financial crime risks must remain a key priority for those at senior management and board level. The report sets out the FCA’s findings following its review of AML/CFT controls and policies across the e-money sector, which includes pre-paid cards and digital wallets.  The article comments that, in many ways there is nothing particularly new in report.  As many recent cases of cyber- crime have shown, it says, those engaged in money laundering and cybercrime are skilled at what they do and seem adept at probing into any systemic weaknesses.  The rewards appear to justify the effort.  Businesses must be equally adept at responding to the challenges and as the report shows, this requires a good deal of commitment and vigilance within a business.

https://brodies.com/blog/corporate/fca-publishes-review-of-anti-money-laundering-and-counter-terrorist-financing-controls/#page=1

The FCA report is at –

https://www.fca.org.uk/publication/thematic-reviews/tr18-3.pdf

1MDB SCANDAL EXPLAINED: A TALE OF MALAYSIA’S MISSING BILLIONS

The Guardian on 25th October published an article seeking to explain the 1MDB scandal, explaining that it began as a Malaysian state fund, set up in 2009 to promote development through foreign investment and partnerships, and with the then prime minister, Najib Razak, was its chairman.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/oct/25/1mdb-scandal-explained-a-tale-of-malaysias-missing-billions

2 FORMER OFFICERS OF AFREN OIL COMPANY CONVICTED OF FRAUD AND MONEY LAUNDERING, SAYS SFO

The Nigerian Guardian on 25th October reported that the UK SFO said that 2 former executives of the defunct Afren Plc were convicted of fraud and money laundering in a $300 million deal.  The company had presence in Nigeria at the time the offences were committed and was an oil and gas exploration and production company once valued at $2.6 billion on the stock market, but which collapsed into administration in July 2015 after it was unable to service heavy debts, laying off hundreds of Nigerians in its employ.  Nigerian banks, according to reports, lost $185 million following Afren’s liquidation.  Former CEO, Osman Shahenshah, and former chief operating officer, Shahid Ullah, received more than $17 million and laundered $45 million, some of which were used to buy luxury properties in Mustique and the BVI.

https://guardian.ng/news/two-afren-ex-workers-convicted-of-fraud-money-laundering-says-sfo/

MONTENEGRO: BANKS RECEIVE STRICTER RULES ON MONEY LAUNDERING

Total Montenegro News on 24th October reported that new stricter rules have increased the obligation on banks to monitor and analyse transactions from high-risk countries and offshore.

http://www.total-montenegro-news.com/business/2462-banks-got-stricter-rules-on-money-laundering

FOOTBALL COACH COACH CHARGED BY BELGIAN POLICE IN MONEY LAUNDERING SCANDAL

Inside World Football on 25th October reported that police have arrested Lokeren FC coach Peter Macs in the latest move linked to the wide-ranging investigation into the damaging match-fixing and money laundering scandal hitting Belgian football.  In total, 20 people, including club executives, players’ agents, 2 referees and a player, have been charged in the case which concerns 2 matches supposedly fixed in a failed effort to save formerly top-tier KV Mechelen from relegation to the second division.

http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2018/10/24/lokeren-coach-maes-charged-belgian-police-money-laundering-scandal/

ADMINISTRATION OF CANADA’S SANCTIONS REGIME GETS A MAKEOVER

On 23rd October, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP published an article saying that the Global Affairs Canada (GAC) has established a new Sanctions Policy and Operations Coordination Division (the Sanctions Division) with a view to improving the effectiveness of the Canadian sanctions regime and streamlining its interactions with business and other stakeholders.  The aims are said to be –

  1. improving GAC’s capacity to effectively apply sanctions as an instrument of Canada’s foreign policy; and
  2. improving GAC’s ability to work with stakeholders, including the private sector, to enhance understanding of and adherence to Canada’s sanctions.

http://blg.com/en/News-And-Publications/Publication_5438

EU – 2018 UPDATE OF THE EU CONTROL LIST OF DUAL-USE ITEMS

Baker McKenzie on 18th October reported that, to bring its legislation up to date, a new regulation brings it in line with the decisions taken within the framework of the international non-proliferation regimes and export control arrangements in 2017.  The majority of the changes this year result from amendments that were agreed at the 2017 Plenary of the Wassenaar Arrangement.

http://www.internationaltradecomplianceupdate.com/2018/10/18/eu-2018-update-of-the-eu-control-list-of-dual-use-items/#page=1

A detailed description of the changes made is available at –

http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2018/october/tradoc_157452.pdf

SINGAPORE CUSTOMS POSTS CHANGES TO THE PROHIBITION OF IMPORTS, EXPORTS, TRANSSHIPMENTS AND GOODS IN TRANSIT FROM OR TO NORTH KOREA

Baker McKenzie on 18th October reported that, on 16th October Singapore Customs posted a Circular which announces updated regulations governing the prohibition of imports, exports, transshipments and goods in transit from or to North Korea.  With the adoption of UNSC Resolution 2397 (2017), Singapore has updated the relevant domestic legislation, with new prohibitions taking effect from 17th October.  Traders are reminded that the import, export, transhipment, and transit of any goods that are for the purposes of trade with any person in the DPRK continue to be prohibited.

http://www.internationaltradecomplianceupdate.com/2018/10/18/singapore-customs-posts-changes-to-the-prohibition-of-imports-exports-transshipments-and-goods-in-transit-from-or-to-north-korea/#page=1

BUGS ON A PLANE – THE RISKS OF BUSINESS AIRCRAFT TRANSPORTING PESTS

An article in Blue Sky uses the fruit fly as an example of how a pest, potentially dangerous to crops or even human health, may be transported by business aircraft.

https://blueskynews.aero/contributors/Tastefully-Yours_Bugs-on-a-Plane.html

PUTIN ‘BAG MAN’ RISKS US TRIAL AFTER EU COURT RULING

EU Observer on 25th October reported that Austria may extradite Ukrainian oligarch Dmitry Firtash, who used to oversee the Russia-Ukraine gas trade, to face bribery allegations in the US, the EU court has said in a ruling on cooperation with extra-EU jurisdictions. Firtash is believed to hold information on Russian corruption schemes and election-meddling, which could come out in the US trial.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/143201

EU MECHANISM FOR IRAN TRADE TO BE SYMBOLICALLY READY ON 4th NOVEMBER

EurActiv on 25th October reported that the new European Union mechanism, a so-called special purpose vehicle (SPV), to facilitate payments for Iranian exports should be legally in place by 4th November, when the next phase of US sanctions hit, but will not be operational until early next year.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/eu-mechanism-for-iran-trade-to-be-symbolically-ready-on-4-november/

EU REPORT: A SERIES OF DELAYS IN CUSTOMS IT SYSTEMS: WHAT WENT WRONG?

On 25th October, the EU Official Journal announced that the European Court of Auditors published a report on 10th October saying that implementation of new customs IT systems in the EU has suffered from a series of delays.  Despite the progress made, some of the key systems will not be available for the 2020 deadline.  The next programme will need to take on board the lessons learnt, say the auditors.

https://www.eca.europa.eu/en/Pages/NewsItem.aspx?nid=10874

TURKEY’S COMPETITIVE INCENTIVE SCHEMES

HKTDC on 25th October published an article saying that to facilitate investment, Turkey currently has 2 ambitious incentive programmes.  The article details these programmes.

http://economists-pick-research.hktdc.com/business-news/article/Economists-Pick-Research-Articles/Turkey-s-Competitive-Incentive-Schemes/rp/en/1/1X32LK39/1X0AFGDB.htm

ZIMBABWE LIFTS A BAN ON THE IMPORT OF BASIC GOODS AND FOODSTUFFS

Defence Web on 24th October reported that Zimbabwe lifted a ban on the import of basic goods and foodstuffs after shelves were emptied by consumers panicking over a currency crisis.  It introduced a ban on the imports of many basic goods in 2016 as it sought to help its manufacturing recover after more than a decade of contraction.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53529:zimbabwe-lifts-import-ban&catid=54:Governance&Itemid=118

UK: USER GUIDE TO POLICE POWERS AND PROCEDURES

On 25th October, the Home Office published a guide to Police Powers and Procedures Statistics, designed to be a useful reference guide with explanatory notes on the statistics.  Originally published in 2013, it contains a glossary of terms, notes on interpreting the figures, and information on sources of data on other police powers.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/police-powers-and-procedures-in-england-and-wales-201112-user-guide

MOZAMBIQUE: FORMER LABOUR MINISTER ACCUSED OF CORRUPTION

All Africa on 24th October reported that former Labour Minister, Helena Taipo, who is currently Mozambican ambassador to Angola, is reported to be the main suspect in a case of corruption involving the illicit removal of about $1.7 million U from the National Social Security Institute (INSS).

https://allafrica.com/stories/201810250182.html

DENMARK TO REVAMP FINANCIAL WATCHDOG IN WAKE OF DANSKE BANK SCANDAL

Reuters reported on 25th October that Denmark plans to strengthen its financial regulator to make it better able to fight money laundering, its business minister said, as the country’s largest bank, Danske Bank, is embroiled in a major scandal.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-danske-bank-moneylaundering/denmark-to-revamp-financial-watchdog-in-wake-of-danske-bank-scandal-minister-idUKKCN1MZ0SY

US DEMANDS DOCUMENTS FROM GLENCORE OVER CORRUPTION ALLEGATIONS IN NIGERIA AND ELSEWHERE

This Day Live in Nigeria on 25th October reported that the DoJ is seeking documents from Glencore about intermediary companies that the commodities firm has worked with in Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Venezuela.  Swiss-based Glencore, a major exporter of Nigerian and Venezuelan crude oil, was among the 50 local and international oil traders that won crude oil lifting contracts that would run from July 1st 2018 to June 2020.

https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2018/10/25/us-demands-documents-from-glencore-over-corruption-allegations-in-nigeria

THE COST AND BENEFITS OF TAX TREATIES WITH INVESTMENT HUBS: FINDINGS FROM SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

An IMF Working Paper published on 25th October which investigates the costs and benefits of concluding double tax treaties with investment hubs.  Based on a sample of 41 African economies from 1985–2015, the results suggest that signing treaties with investment hubs is not associated with additional investments; yet, these treaties tend to come with non-negligible revenue losses.  Building on a theoretical model, the paper investigates the role of treaty shopping in driving nominal investment flows and provides indirect evidence for its importance in the sample.

https://www.imf.org/en/Publications/WP/Issues/2018/10/24/The-Cost-and-Benefits-of-Tax-Treaties-with-Investment-Hubs-Findings-from-Sub-Saharan-Africa-46264

DATE SET FOR US TRIAL OF FORMER BARBADOS GOVERNMENT MINISTER

The Gleaner in Jamaica on 24th October reported that a US federal judge has set June 24th next year as the date for the start of a trial against former Barbados government minister, Donville Inniss, who has pleaded not guilty to money laundering charges.  The indictment alleges that in 2015 and 2016, he took part in a scheme to launder approximately $36,000 in bribes that he received from high-level executives of a Barbadian insurance company, and that he used his position as a government minister to help the insurance company secure Barbados government contracts and that he concealed the nature of the bribes by receiving them through a dental company and a bank located in New York, under the guise of payments for consulting services.

http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/news/20181024/date-set-us-trial-former-barbados-government-minister

US TREASURY OFFICIAL POINTS FINGER AT TURKEY OVER VENEZUELAN GOLD TRADE

UPI reported on 24th October that a US Treasury official has said that the US should publicise Turkey’s involvement in the Venezuelan gold industry.  He said that the Turkish government has skirted international sanctions by purchasing tons of Venezuelan gold in recent months.

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018/10/24/Treasury-official-points-finger-at-Turkey-over-Venezuelan-gold-trade/7441540417708/

FISHERIES BILL TO TAKE BACK CONTROL OF UK WATERS

DEFRA on 25th October announced a Bill which creates powers to build a sustainable, profitable UK fishing industry and deliver a “Green Brexit” with new protections for a precious marine environment.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/gove-launches-fisheries-bill-to-take-back-control-of-uk-waters

Meanwhile…

EU PLANNING REVISION OF ITS FISHERIES CONTROL

On 25th October, the EU Parliament Research Service published a briefing paper which provides an initial analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the European Commission’s impact assessment accompanying the proposal, submitted on 30th May and referred to Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries (PECH).

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2018/627132/EPRS_BRI(2018)627132_EN.pdf

HONG KONG CUSTOMS OFFICERS SEIZE HK$2.6 MILLION WORTH OF CONTRABAND HOOKAH TOBACCO IN SHIPMENT FROM JORDAN

Customs Today on 24th October reported that about 6.6 tonnes of suspected untaxed hookah tobacco was found hidden in a shipping container arriving from Jordan.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/hong-kong-customs-officers-seize-hk2-6-million-worth-of-contraband-hookah-tobacco-in-shipment-from-jordan/

FINNISH CUSTOMS: SNUS SMUGGLING RING EVADED €4.6 MILLION IN TAXES

On 24th October, Customs Today reported that customs officials said that they suspect a group of 8 people are behind an organised smuggling operation that illegally brought a total of 12,700 kg of snus, a powdered tobacco product, into Finland from Sweden between 2016 and 2018.  Sales of the substance are banned in all EU countries except Sweden – but individuals are allowed to bring from abroad a maximum of 1 kg per calendar day into Finland for personal consumption.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/finnish-customs-snus-smuggling-ring-evaded-e4-6m-in-taxes-2/

FRANCE: ENACTMENT OF THE NEW LAW ON THE REINFORCEMENT OF THE FIGHT AGAINST FRAUD

Allen & Overy on 22nd October reported that, after much parliamentary debate, the law on reinforcement of the fight against fraud has finally been enacted.  Amongst its provisions, the new legislation will introduce a number of significant changes as regards the prosecution of tax evasion offences, including the possibility to settle the tax proceedings with the French Tax Authorities even when criminal proceedings on grounds of tax evasion have been initiated or are considered.

http://www.allenovery.com/publications/en-gb/Pages/Adoption-by-French-Parliament-of-the-new-bill-on-the-reinforcement-of-the-fight-against-fraud.aspx

US FENTANYL SEIZURE SUGGESTS EVOLVING MEXICAN-DOMINICAN LINKS

Insight Crime on 24th October reported that US authorities have arrested 2 Dominican citizens in connection to a multimillion-dollar fentanyl shipment delivered from Mexico, suggesting that relations between these groups may be evolving in the context of the opioid crisis in the North American nation.  The synthetic opioid fentanyl is at the heart of the opioid crisis ravaging US cities.  Earlier this year in May, US authorities in western Nebraska state seized more than 50 kg of fentanyl — one of the largest busts in the country’s history.  the latest fentanyl seizure suggests that Mexican criminal groups may be expanding their relationship with their Dominican associates – their relative low profile in the US may make them more attractive associates for Mexican drug trafficking groups to work with.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/fentanyl-seizure-evolving-mexican-dominican-links/

ADIDAS EXECUTIVE AND 2 OTHERS FOUND GUILTY IN COLLEGE BASKETBALL CORRUPTION TRIAL

The Wall Street Journal on 24th October reported that a federal court in the US has found an Adidas AG executive and 2 others guilty on fraud charges stemming from payments they steered to families of top-ranked high-school basketball players, a verdict that it says could have far-reaching implications for efforts to root out alleged corruption in college sports.  Wire taps are said to shed light on a sordid underbelly of college basketball, with secret exchanges of cash among apparel companies, coaches, sports-talent managers and players’ families.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/adidas-executive-two-others-found-guilty-in-college-basketball-corruption-trial-1540408813?mod=searchresults&page=1&pos=1

FORMER INDIAN FINANCE MINISTER FACES BRIBERY ACCUSATION

The Seattle Times on 25th October reported that India’s economic intelligence agency has accused an P. Chidambaram, opposition Indian National Congress party leader, of conspiring with a Mauritius-based firm to illegally obtain money for his son’s company while serving as the country’s finance minister in 2006.  It accused him of exceeding his powers as finance minister by approving an $800 million investment proposal by the Mauritius-based company.  His son, Karti Chidambaram, has already been named a defendant in the money-laundering case involving $157,750.

https://www.seattletimes.com/business/former-indian-finance-minister-faces-bribery-accusation

UK: REVISED CROWN PROSECUTORS CODE ADDS DISCLOSURE DUTIES FOR PROSECUTORS

The Law Society Gazette on 25th October reported that Crown Prosecutors will have to follow a revised code of practice, requiring them for the first time to consider whether there is any material held by the police or material that may be available which could affect a charging decision.  Prosecutors will also have to consider the degree to which a suspect benefited financially from an alleged offence when making a charging decision.  The CPS says this will help the court to recover assets such as homes, luxury cars, designer clothes, jewellery or money.

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice/revised-code-adds-disclosure-duties-for-prosecutors/5068066.article

CHARTERED INSTITUTE OF TAXATION WRITES TO UPPER TRIBUNAL ABOUT THE COSTS SHIFTING REGIME

Accountancy Daily on 25th October reported that the CIOT thinks there is still an appetite to explore the recommendation by the Costs Review Group in its report of December 2011 that in non-complex cases a taxpayer who is successful before the First-tier Tribunal should be able to opt for the continuance of the no-costs regime in the Upper Tribunal.

https://www.accountancydaily.co/cch_uk/cln/news_007173_costshiftreg

MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORIST FINANCING CONTROLS IN OVERSEAS JURISDICTIONS – HM TREASURY ADVISORY NOTICE

On 25th October, HM Treasury published a Notice providing updated guidance about risks posed by unsatisfactory money laundering and terrorist financing controls in certain jurisdictions.  It has been updated in the light of decisions at the recent FATF Plenary.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/751298/Annex_A_-_Advisory_notice_OCT_PDF.pdf

GDPR’S FAQ: IS A LAW FIRM REQUIRED TO RESPOND TO A DATA SUBJECT RECTIFICATION REQUEST?

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner on 24th October answered this, which it says is one of the most often asked question about the effect of the GDPR of law firms.  The basic answer is yes – to the extent that a law firm is considered a controller of data, it is responsible for responding to a data subject that requests the “rectification of inaccurate” personal information that is held by the law firm.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/gdpr-s-most-frequently-asked-questions-31431/

GERMAN COURT RULES THAT BITCOIN IS NOT A FINANCIAL INSTRUMENT

Clifford Chance on 25th October reported that the criminal senate of the higher regional court in Berlin has questioned the administrative practice of the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) in relation to licensing requirements for virtual currencies.

https://onlineservices.cliffordchance.com/online/freeDownload.action?key=OBWIbFgNhLNomwBl%2B33QzdFhRQAhp8D%2BxrIGReI2crGqLnALtlyZexPhe%2BADsmGYNIWcAsne9XDp%0D%0A5mt12P8Wnx03DzsaBGwsIB3EVF8XihbSpJa3xHNE7tFeHpEbaeIf&attachmentsize=389533

OFAC ANNOUNCES AMENDMENT OF 2 ENTRIES ON IRAN SANCTIONS LIST

On 25th October, OFAC announced amendments to the entries for Mohammad Ebrahim OWHADI and Esma’il RAZAVI, both of whom are said to be linked to Revolutionary Guard in Iran and the Taliban.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20181025.aspx

NEW EUROPOL REPORT ON CHILD TRAFFICKING IN EUROPE PROVIDES UP-TO-DATE INTELLIGENCE ON GLOBAL CRIMINAL PHENOMENON

On 23rd October, Homeland Security Today in the US published an article on a recent report from Europol which provides an in-depth picture of the features of criminal networks involved in the abuse of vulnerable children.  Many of these smuggling networks are poly-criminal and engage in other criminal activities, including document fraud, property crime, drug trafficking, excise fraud, and trafficking of counterfeit goods.  Apart from the significant use of forged documents and aliases by both suspects and victims, the smuggling network members also regularly change SIM cards purchased in different countries and use numerous phone operators. Other common means of countering police investigations are traditional religious threats to scare victims and their families in order to instil general fear and reticence against reporting the criminal activity.  Criminal profits are mainly redirected to the country of origin of the key suspect, in small amounts via money transfer services and in larger sums using criminal money couriers and mules.

https://www.hstoday.us/subject-matter-areas/customs-immigration/new-report-on-child-trafficking-in-europe-provides-up-to-date-intelligence-on-global-criminal-phenomenon/

BURUNDI: EU RENEWS SANCTIONS UNTIL 31ST OCTOBER 2019

On 25th October, a news release from the EU announced the continuance of sanctions consisting of a travel ban and asset freeze against 4 persons whose activities were deemed to be undermining democracy or obstructing the search for a political solution to the crisis in Burundi – activities that include acts of violence, repression or incitement to violence and acts which constitute serious human rights violations.  They are renewed until 31st October 2019.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/10/25/burundi-l-ue-renouvelle-les-sanctions-jusqu-au-31-octobre-2019/

UKRAINE: COURT ARRESTS OF OSCHADBANK DEPUTY CHAIRMAN AND OTHER PERSONS INVOLVED IN CASE OF STATE FUNDS MISAPPROPRIATION

On 25th October, Interfax Ukraine reported that a court in Kiev had issued a decision on a form of arrest with an alternative of bail for the deputy chairman of Oschadbank, the head of the corporate business department of PrJSC Creative Group and 2 employees of PJSC Creative Group.

https://en.interfax.com.ua/news/economic/540411.html

CROATIAN TYCOON LOSES APPEAL AGAINST EXTRADITION FROM UK

Focus carried an AFP report on 25th October that Croatian tycoon Ivica Todoric, the founder of food and retail giant Agrokor, has lost his court appeal against extradition from Britain to Croatia where he is wanted for suspected fraud.  He was arrested in November last year on a European arrest warrant for allegedly falsifying accounts to hide huge debts at his company, the biggest employer in the Balkans.

http://www.focus-fen.net/news/2018/10/25/435336/afp-croatian-tycoon-loses-appeal-against-extradition-from-uk.html

115 KG OF COCAINE WITH A POTENTIAL ESTIMATED STREET VALUE OF £9 MILLION SEIZED IN PORT OF TYNE

On 25th October, a news release from the NCA reported that Border Force officers at the Port of Tyne International Passenger Terminal, have seized approximately 115 kg of cocaine.  Inward controls stopped a Polish-registered lorry recently arrived on a ferry from Amsterdam.

http://www.nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/1496-9-million-of-cocaine-seized-at-port-of-tyne

SPANISH CUSTOMS CLARIFIES INTERPRETATION OF UNION CUSTOMS CODE FOR YACHTS

Superyacht News on 25th October reported that Department of Customs and Duties of the Spanish Tax Agency (AEAT) has published an information note in which it clarifies various interpretative criteria relating to the entry and exit of yachts into and from the Union Customs Territory (UCT), as well as the use of the Temporary Admission (TA) scheme under the Union Customs Code (UCC).  The article claims that one of the changes made means yachts are now allowed to operate commercially (charter) in Spain under TA, without prior import and release for free circulation.

http://www.superyachtnews.com/business/spanish-customs-puts-interpretation-of-the-union-customs-code-in-writing

ALBANIA HAS MADE GOOD ON ITS THREAT TO BAN GAMBLING OPERATIONS IN RESIDENTIAL AREAS

Calvin Ayre on 25th October reported that Albania’s government has made good on its threat to ban gambling operations in residential areas, while enacting a (likely temporary) blanket ban on online gambling.

https://calvinayre.com/2018/10/25/business/albania-government-ban-gambling-betting/

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT PASSING NEW LAW TO MAKE IT EASIER TO BOOT OUT FOREIGN CRIMINALS

Illicit Trade on 25th October reported that the Australian government is introducing tough new laws that will see foreign criminals convicted of offences that carry a punishment of 2 years or more behind bars booted out of the country. Under the new rules, foreign criminals could have their visas rescinded regardless of whether or not they were sentenced to time behind bars.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2018/10/australian-government-passing-new-law-to-make-it-easier-to-boot-foreign-criminals-out-of-country/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

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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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