26th October 2018
EXITING EURATOM – AN UPDATE ON THE EFFECT OF BREXIT ON THE NUCLEAR INDUSTRY
On 22nd October, Burges Salmon LP published an article, the sixth in a series about the impact of Brexit on the nuclear sector. It says that since the last update in January there have been a number of key developments. These include updates on the UK Government no-deal planning and the Brexit White Paper of July. The latter includes reference to (hoped for) “minimising” of barriers and simplifying export control arrangements in the trade and transfer of sensitive nuclear technology between the UK and the Euratom Community in the EU.
INDIA ASKS CHINA FOR CRACKDOWN ON SMUGGLING OF ARMS AND NARCOTICS INTO INDIA’S NORTHEAST.AND TO ACT AGAINST FUGITIVE ULFA LEADER PARESH BARUAH
The Economic Times in India on 26th October reported that Barua who fled from Bangladesh in 2008 is understood to be hiding along the Myanmar-China border and undertakes frequent visits to China. Baruah remains elusive and has also been named in a case of arms smuggling from China by the Bangladesh government in 2004. ULFA – the United Liberation Front of Assam – is seeking separation for Assam from India.
VIETNAM SUSPECTS KOREAN STEEL GIANT POSCO OF SMUGGLING CAR PARTS
VN Express on 25th October reported that South Korean steelmaker Posco has rejected allegations by Vietnamese customs that it has smuggled in car parts though its Posco SS Vina Co subsidiary. In September, the company had received 15 containers, and declared the content as scrap iron and steel, bought from Singaporean company Stamcorp International and shipped from Melbourne, Australia. On inspecting the containers, customs authorities discovered 3 of them containing unused goods, which they said were car components.
HONG KONG CUSTOMS DISCOVER HK$30 MILLION HIGH-END GOODS IN SMUGGLING ATTEMPT AT LAND BORDER
The South China Morning Post on 25th October reported that customs found US$3.83 million worth of goods in a China-bound truck in the biggest seizure of cross-border contraband in 3 years. The 100 boxes included 400 kg of bird nests, cameras and lenses, computers, hard drives etc.
IRELAND: EXTRADITION OF IRISH STEROID SMUGGLING SUSPECT IS BLOCKED
The Irish Independent reported on 26th October reported that the High Court has refused to extradite an Irish woman to the US over allegations she was at the centre of a major international steroid smuggling ring. The request was refused on health grounds after the court found the mother of one was mentally ill and likely to deteriorate significantly if extradited. She was alleged to be central to the smuggling operation with almost €1 million in wire-transfers being sent to 2 Austrian bank accounts in her name. It is alleged that the smuggling ring imported a variety of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone and misbranded prescription pills into the US from China and Moldova. These were repackaged, to give the impression they came from a legitimate laboratory, and sold via websites used by weightlifters and bodybuilders.
EUROPEAN SUPERVISORS ANNOUNCE 2019 WORK PRIORITIES INCLUDING ON AML/CFT
Shearman & Sterling published an article on 26th October saying that the Joint Committee of the European Supervisory Authorities published its 2019 Work Programme and that this programme mentioned AML/CFT. It says that the Joint Committee will continue to provide a forum for consideration of emerging risks and sharing information and good practice and will focus mainly in 2019 on the implementation of aspects of the EU AML Roadmap. This includes: updating Joint Guidelines on AML/CFT risk factors; own-initiative Guidelines for enhancing collaboration and co-operation between national regulators; the review and updating of existing guidelines and technical standards where necessary; and developing an enhanced framework for co-operation between AML/CFT and prudential supervisors. The Joint Committee is the forum in which the 3 authorities, namely the European Banking Authority (EBA), the European Insurance and Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) and the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) collaborate.
JERSEY: FORMER DECKCHAIR BUSINESS OWNER CLEARED OF MONEY LAUNDERING
Jersey Evening Post on 25th October reported that the courts in Jersey have cleared Joanne Jones, 49, who ran a deckchair business in St Brelade’s Bay, of concealing and converting alleged drugs profits by purchasing a house in Wales, as well as £300,000 in bonds and depositing almost £30,000 in a Welsh bank. She has been in prison in Jersey for the last 14 months, having already pleaded guilty to possessing cannabis with intent to supply and 5 counts related to tax evasion.
E-SPORTS GETS LEGALISED BETTING AS UNIKRN LICENSE APPROVED IN ISLE OF MAN
Sports Pro on 25th October reported that fans in the US and various other countries can now gamble on competitive gaming after Las Vegas-based esports betting company Unikrn had its gambling licence approved by the Isle of Man. Said to be the first betting firm globally built entirely on blockchain, it is said to be immediately starting to roll out online products to 20 countries in the wake of the ruling, and will soon offer esports gambling to most of Europe, South Korea and other Asian countries, and parts of Latin America. Certain types of esports gambling will also be made available in the US, although spectator betting will not yet be permitted. The platform will offer skill-based bets, allowing gamers to bet on their own performance in games like Fortnite.
EU EXTENDS ITS SANCTIONS REGIME INVOLVING MOLDOVA (TRANSNISTRIA)
EU Council Decision 2018/573/CFSP extends EU sanctions regime involving Moldova to 31st October 2019. The sanctions relate to the Transnistrian region and the leadership of the Transnistrian region.
FORMER IMF CHIEF TO SERVE 4 YEARS IN PRISON OVER ‘BLACK CARDS’ CASE
EurActiv reported on 26th October that the former managing director of the IMF and ex-finance minister of Spain, Rodrigo Rato, has begun a 4-year prison sentence over his involvement in the so-called ‘black cards’ case, i.e. participation in a credit card fraud scheme when he was head of state-owned lender Bankia.
ALBANIA BANS SPORTS BETTING AND RESTRICTS CASINOS IN BID TO TACKLE ORGANISED CRIME
EurActiv on 26th October reported that Albania’s parliament has passed a law banning a large sports betting industry and restricting casinos in a bid to clamp down on organised crime, it also bans online betting sites, and will go into effect in January. Albania has 4,200 sport betting offices and Albanians spend up to €150 million annually wagering on sports, according to official figures, but that hits €700 million when accounting for illegal bets. The new law restricts casinos to 5-star hotels in licensed tourist resorts.
US CUSTOMS NEAR-TERM PRIORITIES
On 25th October, HKTDC published an article on the goals are set forth in CBP’s “Trade Strategy 2020,” which builds on the tools and authorities provided by the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act and provides a framework for agency priorities within its overarching mission of providing trade security, enforcement and facilitation.
- CBP is looking to enhance the trusted trader concept by expanding the Customs Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT);
- managing imports and exports through the 1USG single window;
- ensuring that e-commerce shipments are secure;
- developing a “Customs Modernization Act 2.0” to update statutory authorities to reflect the contemporary international trade and customs environment (said to be a high priority);
- modernising the export process by obtaining advance information, extending single-window functionality to exports and investing in export front-line operations;
- implementation of the Enforce and Protect Act and focus on forced labour and priority trade issues;
- strengthening targeting efficiencies using predictive analytics and intelligence and to drive “consequence delivery” through importer risk assessment and network investigations; and
- enhancement of the Automated Commercial Environment (ACE), sustaining the single window and investigating emerging technologies.
BREXIT: EFFECT ON THE AVIATION SECTOR OF THE UK LEAVING THE EU
On 25th October, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper in preparation for a Westminster Hall debate on 31st October.
REPORT ATTRIBUTES DECREASE IN CROSS-BORDER PURCHASES TO SLOW AND EXPENSIVE SHIPPING
Postal Technology on 25th October carried an article about a report from Pitney Bowes, a technology developer in the areas of e-commerce, shipping, mailing and big data, which has published key findings from its 2018 Global Ecommerce Study. Amongst other things, the report found that, for the first time, fewer consumers said they were shopping cross-border, dropping from 70% in 2017 to 64% in 2018. The US, China and Japan were the only countries where the number of cross-border shoppers increased in 2018, but the market continues to grow, because those who are shopping cross-border are doing so more frequently. Frustrations with shopping cross-border can be attributed primarily to shipping that is too slow, or too expensive, and other frustrations include the inconvenience of returning unwanted items and poor customer service.
UPU DEPUTY DIRECTOR GENERAL STATEMENT ON US DECISION TO LEAVE UPU
Postal Technology on 22nd October reported that the UPU deputy director general, has released a statement responding to the news that the US is set to withdraw from the Universal Postal Union treaties. He is quoted as saying that the decision of the US to withdraw from the UPU treaties is a serious one, but he says he believes that, with the support of other members, the matter can be resolved amicably.
UK: 83-YEAR-OLD CONSTRUCTION VAT CHEAT JAILED
Construction Inquirer on 26th October reported that Derek Hole, 83, the sole director of Briar Building Ltd, submitted almost £650,000 in fraudulent VAT repayments 2012-17, and has been jailed after an investigation by HMRC. He claimed the company was constructing new-build residential properties, which are generally zero-rated for VAT purposes but investigations discovered the purchases were fictitious.
WHAT COMMERCIAL DRIVERS MAY NEED TO DO TO DRIVE IN THE EU AND EEA WHEN THE UK LEAVES THE EU
On 25th October, the UK Department for Transport issued a news release saying that, “in the unlikely event that the UK leaves the EU without a deal” on 29th March, commercial drivers will need extra documentation. From 29th March, if there is no EU exit deal, EU and EEA countries may not recognise UK issued community licences. The restrictions would apply to Northern Ireland/Republic traffic, as well as to/on the Continent. Also, from 28th March 2019, one must register commercial trailers over 750 kg and all trailers over 3,500 kg.
ITALIAN POLICE BUST GANG SMUGGLING FUEL FROM LIBYA TO EUROPE
Customs Today reported on 26th October that Italian police said that they had broken up a network selling low-quality Libyan diesel fuel worth €30 million at service stations in Sicily and as far away as France and Spain. Smugglers were obtaining fuel destined for ships from a refinery operated by Libya’s National Oil Corporation.
CIGARETTE SMUGGLING PERSISTS IN VIETNAM
On 24th October, Customs Today reported that while the production and trading of cigarettes in the country is strictly managed by law, cigarette smuggling has increased. Cigarettes are subject to a range of taxes, including 70% special consumption tax, 10% VAT, and 135% import tax. Smugglers of cigarettes are mainly jobless residents living on the border, mostly with Cambodia.
UN INVESTIGATING WHETHER IRAN SUPPLIED WEAPONS SEIZED BY US NAVY NEAR YEMEN
Rferl on 26th October reported that UN inspectors are examining more than 2,500 AK-47 rifles and other guns seized by the crew of a US destroyer off the coast of Yemen to determine whether the weapons originated in Iran or Somalia – to determine whether the weapons provide proof that Iran is smuggling arms to allied Shi’ite Huthi rebels that are battling the Yemeni government in a four-year civil war. Iran has denied providing weapons to the Huthis.
POLICE ARREST ANTIQUITIES SMUGGLER IN RHODES
Greek City Times on 24th October reported that Police authorities on the island of Rhodes have arrested a 65-year old man charged with antiquities smuggling.
SPANISH DEFENCE COMPANY BEING INVESTIGATED FOR SAUDI BRIBES
The FCPA Blog on 25th October reported that a special court in Spain is investigating executives at a state-owned defence company Defex that allegedly paid millions in bribes to win weapons contracts with Saudi Arabia spanning 2 decades 1992-2004. Defex allegedly used a Cayman-headquartered shell company, Peninsula Inc Ltd, to pay around $69 million in connection with arms deals in Saudi Arabia, according to investigators.
COUNTER-TERRORISM AND BORDER SECURITY BILL FAILS TO PROTECT CONSTITUTIONAL PRINCIPLES, WARNS HOUSE OF LORDS COMMITTEE
A news release from the UK Parliament on 26th October reported that the House of Lords Constitutional Committee criticises the Government for failing to protect fundamental constitutional principles in the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill. This follows 2 critical reports on the Bill by the Joint Committee on Human Rights. The Committee raises concerns about the limits placed on access to confidential legal advice, noting detainees under the Bill are not afforded this fundamental constitutional protection. The Committee also warns that individuals are not given a fair opportunity to know about the law that applies to them, as individuals could be prosecuted in the UK for criminal offences that do not exist in another country.
RUSSIA’S SANCTIONS AGAINST UKRAINE: WHO COULD BECOME A TARGET?
Hromadske International in Ukraine on 26th October posed this question in an article that began by saying that Russian President Putin has decided to impose economic sanctions against Ukraine for “unfriendly actions.” While the list of businesses and individuals has not yet been specified, the news site explores who could be affected by these sanctions. Russian Prime Minister Medvedev specified that potential sanctions included blocking assets as well as prohibiting the withdrawal of funds and supplies of certain goods. He added that the sanctions would apply to “hundreds of individuals and entities” that were harming Russia and that the list would be made shortly. Despite the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas, Ukrainian companies are still working with Russia. Ukraine largely exported mineral and chemical products as well as machinery and equipment to the Russian Federation. Food, fat and oil products are also among the leading exports. Therefore, it is likely that these goods and enterprises could be subjected to Russian sanctions.
TURKISH CYPRIOT SENTENCED FOR FRAUD IN UK DETAINED IN NORTH CYPRUS
Cyprus Mail on 26th October reported that the Turkish Cypriot authorities said that they have detained a man wanted by British authorities in connection with VAT fraud worth £25 million. Timur Mehmet, 44, had been arrested on suspicion of possession of cocaine with 2 other suspects. They were subsequently released on bail. Mehmet is among the most wanted by the NCA for his role in a conspiracy to cheat public revenues by operating a complicated VAT fraud known as a carousel fraud, was to re-sell goods several times and claim VAT which they then failed to pass on to HMRC. He had appeared in court in June 2007 and was told that failure to return for his trial in October 2007 could result in him being tried and sentenced in his absence. However, he did fail to attend and was subsequently found guilty – and sentenced to 8 years in absentia. Reports said Mehmet was a leading member of a gang involved in a complex fraud involving the buying and selling of computer parts and gold bullion.
MALTA’S FINANCIAL REGULATOR WARNS AGAINST FRAUDULENT CRYPTO TRADING WEBSITE
Cryptoglobe on 26th October reported that Malta’s financial regulator has issued a warning against Primetradingbot, a potentially fraudulent crypto investment scheme.
BELGIUM’S BLACK LIST OF CRYPTOCURRENCY SCHEMES KEEPS GROWING
Finance Feeds on 26th October reported that there are 21 new additions to the list, taking the total number of entries to 99. The 21 new sites are listed. The Belgian regulator began its blacklist in February. France has also started publishing a blacklist, beginning in March.
IRISH HIGH COURT FREEZES UK FILM PRODUCER’S RETIREMENT FUND
The Irish Times on 26th October reported that the High Court has made orders freezing a retirement fund belonging to an UK-based film producer who is being investigated by the UK authorities over his alleged role in an alleged fraud. The fund, with a current value of £167,000 is held by an Irish-registered financial services company. The case concerns monies allegedly paid by Michael “Lionella Boscardi” Cowan. The order was made at the request from the UK authorities. The judge heard the UK authorities are investigating claims that Mr Cowan and others allegedly defrauded some 246 individuals in £11.2 million and laundered those funds through a range of company funds, bank accounts, disbursements to third parties, and personal expenditure between 2012 and 2016.
ROMANIA ADOPTS DISPUTED MONEY LAUNDERING LAW
Baker McKenzie on 26th October reported that the parliament had voted to adopt a disputed law on money laundering meant to implement a EU Directive (the 4th ML Directive) in the field, 1½ years after the deadline had passed and months after Brussels referred the country to the European court for failing to comply.