4th November 2018
GANGS IMPORT CHEMICALS FROM CHINA TO MAKE ‘ZOMBIE’ DRUG SPICE
The Sunday Times on 3rd November reported that UK drugs gangs are buying dangerous chemicals by email from China and cooking up lethal new strains of the “zombie” drug Spice, a Sunday Times investigation has found, exploiting China’s failure to police exports of the restricted chemicals needed to make Spice, and generating vast profits from a drug that is ravaging cities and towns across Britain. The investigation reveals how easy it is to circumvent UK law by importing industrial-grade chemicals such as hydrochloric acid and sulphuric acid to make the drug, which is blighting the lives of homeless people and fuelling violence in prisons. The investigation found, for example, 23 tons of super-strong hydrochloric acid was shipped in a container ship to Liverpool for just over £4,000, and a Chinese company offering 25 tons of sulphuric acid and almost 21 tons of hydrochloric acid in 220 fEEt containers that would be shipped from Shanghai for £13,000. The article notes that China is signed up to the 1988 UN convention against illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, an agreement to stop such precursor chemicals falling into criminal hands.
AFTER INVESTING BIG IN MIAMI REAL ESTATE, ARGENTINIANS HELD IN CORRUPTION SCANDAL
The Miami Herald on 3rd November reported that, after arresting 4 people, including the owner of a Miami-area realty firm — authorities in Argentina appear to have unravelled the mystery of a $65 million property empire that included luxury condos in South Florida and New York City, as they pursue a major corruption case against ex-president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. Prosecutors accuse them of investing illicit money on behalf of the Kirchner aide, Héctor Daniel Muñoz, outside the country using a web of shell companies. Fernández de Kirchner is accused of accepting cash bribes from construction companies in exchange for government contracts. Federal law enforcement officials in the US are looking into the allegations that dirty cash was invested in the US. All the US properties have been sold, meaning authorities will have to track down the cash if they wish to seize any assets.
FORMER HEARTS OWNER VLADIMIR ROMANOV TO STAND TRIAL OVER £300 MILLION FRAUD CLAIM
The Daily record on 4th November reported that former Hearts owner Vladimir Romanov is to stand trial over an alleged £300 million fraud in Lithuania after the government there changed the law to put him in the dock. The Lithuanian parliament has introduced legislation which could allow courts to try suspects in their absence. Russian courts have rejected the international warrant for his arrest and refused to allow his extradition from Moscow, where he has lived since 2013 after being given asylum. The fraud charges relate to loans paid to and authorised by Romanov while owner of Ukio Bankas.
FRAUDSTER GETS SUSPENDED SENTENCE FOR SELLING DODGY FOOD SUPPLEMENTS
The Oxford Mail on 4th November reported that a fraudster selling dodgy food supplements received a suspended prison sentence after his company’s products were found to be ‘up to 99% deficient’ in some ingredients. Rakesh Odedra, owner of Dirro Group Ltd, was sentenced to 10 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 2 years and ordered to complete 240 hours of unpaid work for the fraudulent sale of food supplements. The business was fined £24,000 after Mr Odedra pleaded guilty to a charge of fraud.
PODCAST: THE EPSILON CASE AND THIRD-PARTY SANCTIONS RISKS
In this podcast from Michael Volkov on 4th November, he deals with the long-running case involving 39 violations of the US Iran Sanctions Program. Along the way, however, OFAC secured favourable rulings affirming application of its broad prohibition against third-party conduct where a company knows or has “reason to know” that a shipment intended to a third party may be shipped to a prohibited party, n.b. not that is was, but that they might be shipped, by a third party to Iran.