5th November 2018
INDUSTRY TESTING END-TO-END BIOMETRICS BETWEEN DALLAS AIRPORT AND LONDON
Homeland Security Today on 29th October reported that the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), the body that represents the global private sector for travel and tourism, announced a series of pilot schemes to test the use of biometric technology throughout the end-to-end passenger journey. In first half of 2019, passengers will be able to experience the application of biometric technology at every stage of the travel process — from the point of booking, check-in, through airports, airline boarding, border management, car rental, hotel, cruise and during the journey. The first pilot will see travellers on round trips between Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and London using biometric technology to conduct all airline security, airport and border processes before accessing car rental and hotel check-in using the same biometric information.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL MUSEUM TO DISPLAY ‘RESCUED TREASURES OF BULGARIA’ EXHIBITION – FOUND BEING SMUGGLED OUT OF COUNTRY
The Sofia Globe reported that an exhibition of artefacts saved by police from being smuggled out of the country runs at the Archaeological Museum in Sofia from November 7th to January 27th. The aim of the exhibition is “not only to present impressive finds saved from smuggling as a result of successful police actions but also to address the extremely serious problem of systematic destruction of Bulgaria’s rich cultural and historical heritage and the need for effective action against this”.
US: EXPORT CONTROL HIRING PRACTICES CONTINUE TO CHALLENGE EMPLOYERS
On 1st November, Steptoe published an article saying that 2 recent settlements between employers and the DoJ highlight the complex interplay between US immigration and export control laws in the hiring process. The settlements provide a reminder to employers of the potential employment discrimination pitfalls for companies trying to comply with export control laws – such as when screening potential employees, or employees who could be tasked with specific roles. It provides an overview of the overlapping laws and summary of key compliance practices for employer.
TAIWAN CRACKS DOWN ON ANONYMOUS VIRTUAL CURRENCY TRANSACTIONS AS EVALUATION BEGINS
Regulation Asia on 5th November reported that Taiwan has amended its AML/CFT laws, forbidding anonymous cryptocurrency transactions and empowering the Financial Supervisory Commission to take action against non-compliant platform operators; and this comes just before an evaluation by the APG (Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering) that is due to take place from 5th November.
BID TO CLEAN UP NEW ZEALAND’S BUSINESS REPUTATION ON BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP DIVIDES
Stuff on 5th November reported on critics of a Government proposal to show who really owns and controls New Zealand companies. The Commerce Minister is consulting on creating a publicly-searchable register of the “beneficial” or true owners of businesses after warning in June that New Zealand needed to strengthen its reputation as a place for honest business. It says that police estimate $1.35 billion in proceeds from fraud and illegal drugs is laundered through corporate entities in New Zealand, while the “Panama Papers” showed how shell companies and trusts could be used to hide money trails from corruption and tax evasion. One law and accounting firm is quoted as saying that it could put wealthy investors “at substantial risk of physical or emotional harm”, deter foreign investment, and persuade even Kiwis to “conduct their business elsewhere”.
ARRESTS SHED LIGHT ON HOW FORMER ARGENTINE PRESIDENT MAY HAVE USED BRIBES TO OBTAIN US PROPERTY
The Real Deal on 4th November reported that the arrests of 4 people, ordered by an Argentine judge, may reveal how former president Christina Kirchner may have used bribe money to buy property, including luxury condos in Florida and New York. They are said to have bought property on behalf of the long-time personal secretary of Kirchner’s husband, who also served as president. The properties have been sold since, for some $73 million, meaning investigators will have to trace the proceeds. The involvement of 2 of those arrested, and their use of a BVI company, was revealed in the Panama Papers.
RECEIVER’S REPORT INDICATES MORE THAN $9.2 MILLION FROZEN IN BINARY OPTIONS FRAUD CASE
Finance Feeds on 5th November reported that the court-appointed Permanent Receiver in an enforcement action brought by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) against a number of binary options brokers and their marketing affiliates, has just submitted his latest status report to September 30th. The action targets Jason B. Scharf (t/a Citrades.com and AutoTradingBinary.com, his companies CIT Investments LLC; Brevspand EOOD – a Bulgarian entity; CIT Investments Ltd – a Marshall Islands entity; CIT Investments Ltd – an Anguillan entity; and A & J Media Partners Inc – a California corporation. The case also names their affiliate marketers Zilmil and its owner Michael Shah among the defendants. The defendants are alleged to have induced people to deposit money with illegal binary options trading websites that claimed to offer customers the ability to trade binary options online.
JERSEY “WITHDRAWN ITS FUNDAMENTALLY FLAWED” ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE LEGISLATION
Tax Research reported on 5th November that the draft legislation to meet EU “economic substance” of companies has now been withdrawn, as if failed to meet EU requirements.
UK: INTERNATIONAL HAULIERS URGED TO APPLY FOR ECMT PERMITS AS A NO-DEAL BREXIT CONTINGENCY
Commercial Motor on 1st November reported that the UK government is advising international hauliers to be prepared for a possible no-deal exit from the EU by obtaining new travel permits; and saying that if there is no deal it is possible that UK hauliers will need an ECMT (European Conference of Ministers of Transport) permit in order to travel in Europe. To get such a permit in time, hauliers will have to make an application between 26th November and 21st December.
ESTIMATING INDIA’S NUCLEAR WEAPONS-PRODUCING CAPACITY
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on 2nd November published an article saying that estimating how many nuclear weapons India can produce is tricky – illustrating this by reference to 2 widely different estimates. However, the authors have carefully examined every aspect of Indian unsafeguarded nuclear reactors and included important factors such as each reactor’s history, size, and amount of material produced over its working lifetime; and has considered the Reactor-Grade Plutonium (RGp), Weapon-Grade Plutonium (WGp), and Highly Enriched Uranium (HEU) produced by these unsafeguarded facilities. It poses one question: can Reactor Grade Plutonium be used in nuclear weapons? There is a commonplace conception that Reactor Grade Plutonium (RGPu) cannot be used in nuclear weapons, but this argument is incorrect, it says. The new study finds that India has the capacity to produce many more nuclear weapons than commonly thought: 1,044 nuclear weapons (914 plutonium-based and 130 uranium-based nuclear weapons), obtained from different reactors.
ANOTHER PERIOD OF SANCTIONS IN IRAN: WILL THE TANKER MARKET BENEFIT?
Hellenic Shipping News on 5th November reported on the likely effects of the renewed US sanctions.
HMRC: COMPLIANCE CHECKS: HIGHER PENALTIES FOR OFFSHORE MATTERS
On 5th November, HMRC published an updated version of its factsheet that provides information about higher penalties that HMRC may charge for Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax when an offshore matter is involved.
UK BUDGET 2018 – CHANGES TO AEO AND TRUSTED TRADER PROCESSES
On 5th November, BIFA published a summary of mentions of AEO and similar processes in the recent UK Budget. These include halving the time it takes to become an Authorised Economic Operator (AEO) or other type of customs trusted trader, from 120 days to 60 days.
UK GUIDE – DOING BUSINESS IN IRAN: TRADE AND EXPORT GUIDE
On 5th November, and in the light of re-imposed US sanctions, the Department for International trade reissued its guide.
€16 BILLION LAUNDERED IN THE NETHERLANDS ANNUALLY
On 5th November, the NL Times reported that a report from Utrecht University said that €16 billion, mainly from drugs, is laundered in the country each year.
CZECH REPUBLIC: 5 CHARGED WITH LARGE-SCALE TAX EVASION IN FUEL DEALS
Radio Praha on 5th November reported that a special unit set up for combating financial crime, has charged 5 people with large-scale tax evasion connected to diesel and gas transactions made between 2010 and 2012. The unit is also reported to be filing charges against an unspecified number of tax office employees, who allegedly helped to cover up the scam.
IRELAND FACING €35 MILLION GAMBLING TAX BLACK HOLE
i-Gaming Business on 5th November reported that Ireland’s government could see a €35 million hit to its coffers due to the closure of hundreds of betting shops because of the controversial doubling of gambling tax.
US DOJ UNSEALS CHARGES OVER DISH SATELLITE TV PIRACY CONSPIRACY IN PUERTO RICO
On 5th November, World Intellectual Property Review reported that the DoJ has unsealed charges against 3 Puerto Ricans for their alleged roles in a conspiracy to provide pirated DISH Network TV services to thousands of Puerto Ricans. Colorado-based DISH provides satellite TV to its customers for a fee and has invested heavily in measures to ensure its services are not intercepted by copyright infringers.
DEA REPORT: DRUG TRADE POSES ‘SIGNIFICANT THREATS’ TO US PUBLIC HEALTH AND NATIONAL SECURITY
On 2nd November, Homeland Security Today reported on the release of the 2018 National Drug Threat Assessment, which outlines the threats posed to the US by domestic and international drug trafficking and the abuse of illicit drugs. Among the key findings:
- Controlled prescription drugs remain responsible for the largest number of overdose deaths of any illicit drug class since 2001;
- Heroin-related drug-poisoning deaths almost doubled between 2013 and 2016, exacerbated by the increased adulteration of heroin with fentanyl and other synthetic opioids;
- Of all opioids, the abuse of illicit fentanyl and other synthetic opioids has led to the greatest number of deaths in the US;
- Mexican transnational criminal organisations remain the greatest criminal drug threat in the United States; and
- National and neighbourhood-based street gangs and prison gangs continue to dominate the market for the street sales and distribution of illicit drugs in their respective territories,
The report is at –
PODCAST: SPOTLIGHT ON NEW ZEALAND
In the latest TRACE podcast, Gary Hughes of Ākarana Chambers in Auckland discusses corruption and other financial crimes in New Zealand and whether the country deserves its rankings on the various bribery indices.
EU SET TO TEST AI GUARDS TO PROTECT EXTERNAL BORDERS
EurActiv on 5th November reported that an EU-funded project is developing an ‘intelligent control system’ to test third-country nationals who reach the EU’s external borders, including a sophisticated analysis of their facial gestures. The Intelligent Portable Border Control System, is a series of multiple protocols and computer procedures which are meant to scan faces and flag ‘suspicious’ reactions of travellers who lie about their reasons for entering the Schengen area.
PRECURSOR CHEMICAL LICENSING
On 5th November, the Home Office issued updated guidance providing licence and registration application information for companies that deal in precursor chemicals (i.e. chemicals that can be used to produce illegal drugs), updated to add a new section on Brexit planning.
UK: RECLASSIFICATION OF SYNTHETIC CANNABINOIDS
On 5th November, the House of Common Library published a briefing paper ahead of debate on the subject in Westminster Hall on 6th November. Synthetic cannabinoids are a type of new psychoactive substance that have been developed to have similar effects to the psychoactive substances within cannabis. These substances are sold under a number of street names, common ones include “Spice” and “Mamba”. There has been increasing concern about the impact of these substances on the physical and mental health of users, which include some of the most vulnerable groups such as young people, prisoners and the homeless, and wider impacts on communities.
HIGH COURT SHUTS DOWN £20 MILLION PONZI PROPERTY SCAM
Financial Reporter on 5th November reported that a property investment company has been shut down by the High Court for misusing close to £20 million of investors’ money. Essex and London Properties claimed to purchase properties with the intention of selling them on at a profit or getting rental income for investors. In reality, it only purchased a single property for £147,000, but told investors it had purchased numerous properties that had rapidly increased in value and falsified Land Registry documents to show the firm owned more property than it did.
HOW THE US WAR ON DRUGS HELPED FIGHT POACHING AND CORRUPTION IN AFRICA
IOL in South Africa on 3rd November reported on the charging of the Kenyan Akashi brothers in New York, saying that the DEA brought down one of Kenya’s biggest drug organisations and at the same time struck a blow against corruption and the illegal ivory trade that is killing off African elephants. It points out that US law enforcement secured convictions of Kenyan officials for bribery that happened in Kenya, and that by taking out the Akashas, the DEA put prolific illegal ivory traders out of business.
WHAT IS SWIFT AND WHY IT MATTERS IN THE US-IRAN SPAT
Al Jazeera on 5th November published an article seeking to explain why Belgium-based SWIFT financial messaging service said it was suspending access for some Iranian banks after US sanctions were re-imposed.
VENEZUELA SEEKS TO REPATRIATE $550 MILLION OF GOLD FROM BRITAIN
International Business Times on 5th November reported that Venezuela is seeking to repatriate about $550 million in gold bars from the Bank of England because of fears it could be caught up in international sanctions on the country, seeking to bring 14 tonnes of gold held in the Bank of England back to Venezuela. It says that Venezuela has been exporting gold to Turkey in the last year, a business that has grown as Maduro has built up ties with the Turkish President. Selling the gold directly from the Bank of England to a foreign buyer would be logistically easier than shipping it, but could also risk running foul of sanctions, which the US has recently upgraded.
UK FOREIGN AFFAIRS COMMITTEE LAUNCHED INQUIRY INTO OPTIONS FOR THE UK’S APPROACH TO SANCTIONS POLICY AFTER BREXIT
On 5th November, the European Sanctions Blog reported that the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee is inviting written submissions by 14th December.
DEMAND FOR ROAD TRANSPORT SET TO SURGE IN YEARS TO COME
Lloyds Loading List on 5th November reported that global demand for road transport services is set to surge in the years to come but many operators are not equipped to overcome the significant challenges facing the industry such as digitalisation, driver shortages and Brexit, according to a major, new report from trade body, the IRU.
SPAIN: RAIDS NET €22 MILLION IN COUNTERFEIT CIGARETTES
On 5th November, TJI reported that Spanish police raided 4 cigarette factories that had been producing counterfeit sticks and seized cigarette cartons worth €22 million, English-language newspaper Euro Weekly reported. The raids were part of Operation Lerna, the biggest of its kind in the country to date. Police arrested 47 individuals and seized 69 tonnes of tobacco leaf, 2 million cartons of cigarettes estimated to be worth €22 million, and €600,000 in cash.
MALAYSIAN EX-STATE CHIEF CHARGED AS GRAFT CRACKDOWN WIDENS
Baker McKenzie reported on 5th November that Musa Aman, the former leader of a resource-rich eastern Malaysian Sabah state from 2003 was charged with allegedly receiving bribes for the award of timber concessions amid a widening crackdown on abuse by former officials.
US IRAN SANCTIONS TAKE EFFECT, 8 COUNTRIES GET TEMPORARY OIL WAIVERS
Rferl on 5th November reported that a statement from the US Treasury said the sanctions targeted more than 200 individuals and companies in Iran’s shipping and energy sectors – including the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and its 23 subsidiaries and associated individuals, as well as 50 Iranian banks and their subsidiaries. However, temporary oil waivers had been granted to China, India, South Korea, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Japan, and Taiwan.
RECORD HAUL OF 9.5 MILLION SMUGGLED CIGARETTES SEIZED BY CUSTOMS OFFICERS IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA
Illicit Trade on 5th November reported that a 28-year-old man was detained after officers from Australian Border Force (ABF) seized the 47,500 packs of cigarettes during a container examination facility in Fremantle. ABF agents moved in after anomalies were detected when a 40-foot container was x-rayed and a sniffer dog indicted the presence of tobacco.
INTERNATIONAL TRAFFIC IN ARMS: GUNS AND EXPLOSIVES SEIZED IN BOSNIA
Le Figaro in France on 5th November reported that dozens of rifles and grenades, explosives and a rocket launcher were seized in Bosnia as part of an operation against the international arms trade, police said. Also seized were 20 pistols, more than 11,000 bullets, silencers, anti-personnel mines and detonators. The arsenal was discovered by an anti-terrorist unit.
FORMER GOLDMAN SACHS BANKER FORFEITS NEARLY $44 MILLION IN 1MDB CASE IN NEW YORK ON BRIBERY AND MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
ACFCS on 2nd November reported that US Federal prosecutors have released details of a guilty plea by former Goldman Sachs banker, Tim Leissner, for conspiring to launder money and violate the US Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) related to pilfering billions of dollars from a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund, 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), and bribery. Authorities also charged another former managing director at Goldman Sachs – the 5th largest bank – Ng Chong Hwa.