OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 3

3rd November 2018

UK TO EXTRADITE POLISH SUSPECTS DESPITE CONCERNS

EU Observer reported on 2nd November that the High Court has said 3 Polish suspects can be extradited under a European Arrest Warrant (EAW), despite the “current concerns regarding changes that impact the independence of the Polish judiciary”. They had hoped the UK would follow Ireland, which blocked a Polish EAW this year on those grounds.

https://euobserver.com/tickers/143277

FATF PUBLISHES COOK ISLANDS MUTUAL EVALUATION REPORT

FATF has published the mutual evaluation report on Cook Islands’ AML/CFT regime prepared for the Asia Pacific Group (APG), a FATF-style regional body and based on an on-site visit undertaken in November/December 2017.

http://www.fatf-gafi.org/publications/mutualevaluations/documents/mer-cook-islands-2018.html

2 MEN ADMIT TO TONER FRAUD THAT PROSECUTORS CLAIM COST XEROX $21 MILLION

The Rochester Democrat & Chronicle in the US on 2nd November reported that 2 men have admitted defrauding Xerox Corp. through a “labyrinthine” scheme.  They and others created the Florida-based company, HDH Graphics, which also went by the name Aldar Securities. The entities were “sham” printing companies, prosecutors say.  All 5 of the accused are Florida residents.

https://www.democratandchronicle.com/story/news/2018/11/02/xerox-corp-toner-fraud-21-million-men-prison-aldar-hdh-kyle-haynes-bryan-day/1856268002/

‘CRACKS SHOWING’ AS HMRC SEEKS TO MANAGE DAUNTING WORKLOAD

The Parliament website on 2nd November published a report from the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee which says that HMRC has a daunting task as it prepares for the UK’s exit from the EU, in whichever form that takes, whilst reprioritising its ongoing projects and day to day services.  The recently announced further delay to HMRC’s new Customs Declaration Service, which means that it is very unlikely to be ready for exporters by the time of Brexit, and the need for further development of HMRC’s systems so that by March 2019 they can handle postponed accounting for import VAT in the event of no deal, underline the risks.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/public-accounts-committee/news-parliament-2017/hmrc-performance-17-19/

USA

New US Army lighter personal armour

CONTRADICTORY FORCES: FINANCIAL INCLUSION OF REFUGEES AND KYC REGULATIONS

On 30th October, a paper in the Journal of Banking Regulation said that providing access to financial services for asylum seekers and refugees is made difficult by KYC financial regulations adopted as part of efforts to tackle money laundering and terrorist financing activities.  Difficulties in identifying asylum seekers and refugees further complicate the urgent necessity of opening simple bank accounts, which is a crucial step towards integration.  The authors review certain financial inclusion initiatives and assess EU banking regulations from the perspective of offering financial services to asylum seekers and refugees.  The conclusion is that the solution to the financial inclusion problem is not to ease regulation, but to tailor it to the specific needs of refugees, while offering clear guidelines to banks and improving refugee identification, and the authors make several recommendations.

http://bruegel.org/2018/10/reconciling-contradictory-forces-financial-inclusion-of-refugees-and-know-your-customer-regulations/

UK CRYPTOASSETS TASKFORCE PUBLISHES REPORT ON CRYPTOASSETS AND DISTRIBUTED LEDGER TECHNOLOGY

On 2nd November, CMS Law published a briefing saying that the Cryptoassets Taskforce (consisting of HM Treasury, FCA and the Bank of England) issued its final report setting out the UK’s policy and regulatory approach to crypto assets and distributed ledger technology (“DLT”). The report, it says –

  • assesses the benefits and risks of cryptoassets and DLT;
  • describes the existing regulatory perimeter and how/to what extent cryptoassets are currently regulated; and
  • sets out the measures that the authorities intend to take to mitigate risks to consumers and market integrity; to prevent the use of cryptoassets for illicit activity; to guard against potential future risks to financial stability; and to encourage responsible development of cryptoassets and DLT-related activity in the UK.

The briefing provides some details and says that the report sets out the direction of travel for the UK’s regulatory approach based on existing findings and work undertaken to date.

http://www.cms-lawnow.com/ealerts/2018/11/cryptoassets-taskforce-publishes-report-on-cryptoassets-and-distributed-ledger-technology

CONTROVERSIAL UZBEK BUSINESSMAN ELECTED HEAD OF AMATEUR BOXING FEDERATION

Rferl on 3rd November reported that Gafur Rakhimov, an Uzbek businessman with alleged ties to organised crime has been elected president of the amateur boxing federation (AIBA), despite fears that his appointment could lead to the sport’s ejection from the Olympics.

https://www.rferl.org/a/controversial-uzbek-businessman-elected-head-of-amateur-boxing-federation/29580865.html

PDVSA

GIBRALTAR FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION INTEGRITY UNITY INVESTIGATION INTO SUSPECTED BREACHES OF BETTING RULES

The Gibraltar Chronicle on 3rd November reported that a total of 8 players are now known to have been suspended from all football-related activity pending disciplinary hearings, and a further 27 players are expected to be interviewed and could face disciplinary action, bringing the total of players under investigation to 35.  The Gibraltar FA is understood to be looking in numerous matches across the past seasons since entering UEFA in which irregularities have been detected.

http://chronicle.gi/2018/11/stark-warning-as-gfa-widens-probe-into-suspected-breaches-of-betting-rules/

MALTA: STATEMENT FOR SATABANK ACCOUNT HOLDERS AFTER CLOSED FOR AML FAILINGS

Malta Today on 3rd November reported that the Malta FSA has issued a set of FAQ regarding the current situation with Satabank, which had its operations frozen by the regulator last month in the wake of shortcomings in the bank’s AML procedures.  EY was appointed by the MFSA as the competent person to administer the bank.  There is no mention of the AML failing in the Q&A.

https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/90642/financial_services_regulator_issues_qa_statement_for_satabank_account_holders

IRANIAN OIL TANKERS REPORTEDLY ‘GO DARK,’ MAKING TRACKING EXPORTS MORE DIFFICULT

Rferl on 3rd November reported that Iran’s oil exports are becoming harder to track as Iranian tankers are increasingly “going dark” by turning off transponders that make them easy to detect as they transport their cargo on the high seas, oil experts say.  AFP reported on November 2nd that in late October, every single tanker carrying Iranian oil suddenly “went dark,” switching off their transponders to avoid being tracked, the first time that had been seen by the TankerTrackers monitoring group in Stockholm.  Companies that track shippers still can use satellite images to try to locate the vessels, but the loss of individual tracking mechanisms on board each ship will make that harder.

https://www.rferl.org/a/iranian-oil-tankers-reportedly-go-dark-making-tracking-exports-more-difficult/29580356.html

IATA TO MAKE e-AIR WAYBILLS (eAWB) THE “DEFAULT” ON FEASIBLE TRADE LANES

On 2nd November, Loadstar reported that the paper air waybill has been further pushed towards the history book following IATA’s decision to make e-air waybills (eAWB) the “default” on feasible trade lanes.  From January 1st, eAWB will be normal practice and paper will be considered “non-standard”.  It says that IATA has struggled to promote eAWB since enabling their use in 2010; since then, the industry has consistently missed its targets.  The current target for eAWB penetration is 68% by the end of December – but at the end of September, it was just 55.9%.  The rules will now state that e-AWB are the standard method on feasible trade lanes and that paper AWB are optional, i.e. subject to agreement by the business partners.  Some airlines have already begun to charge for paper AWB.  eAWB adoption by companies show only the largest forwarders appearing on the list, according to IATA data.

https://theloadstar.co.uk/e-air-waybills-will-default-feasable-tradelanes-rules-iata/

https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/e-AWB-to-become-air-cargo-standard-from-January/73163.htm

US IMPOSES SANCTIONS TARGETING VENEZUELA’S GOLD SECTOR AND CORRUPTION

On 2nd November, White & Case published an article detailing the effect of a new Executive Order “Blocking Property of Additional Persons Contributing to the Situation in Venezuela” with effect from 1st November.  It imposes blocking sanctions on persons operating in the gold sector of the Venezuelan economy, as well as persons determined to be involved in deceptive practices or corruption in transactions involving the Government of Venezuela.

https://www.whitecase.com/publications/alert/us-imposes-sanctions-targeting-venezuelas-gold-sector-and-corruption