OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 6

6th November 2018

 US WILL ALLOW 3 IRANIAN CIVIL NUCLEAR PROJECTS TO CONTINUE

US News on 5th November reported a Reuters story that, despite the renewed sanctions, the US will allow non-proliferation civil nuclear projects at Arak, Bushehr and Fordow in Iran “under the strictest scrutiny”.

https://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2018-11-05/us-will-allow-three-iranian-civil-nuclear-projects-to-continue

LEGAL CHALLENGE TO UK ARMS SALES TO SAUDIS TO BE HEARD IN APRIL

Human Rights Watch on 5th November reported that Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and RW UK have received permission to intervene in a court case challenging the UK’s continued sale of arms to Saudi Arabia. The case will be heard by the Court of Appeal in April.  The landmark legal case, brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), seeks to establish that the UK government is breaking its own arms export licensing criteria by continuing to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia, given the clear risk the weapons would be used to commit serious violations of international humanitarian law violations in Yemen.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/11/05/legal-challenge-uk-arms-sales-saudis

COUNTY ARMAGH TRUCKER ESCAPES JAIL OVER £3.6 MILLION ALCOHOL IMPORT SCAM

The Belfast Newsletter reported on 5th November that a man from Northern Ireland has walked free while his 2 London-based accomplices were jailed, after all 3 were convicted over an alcohol smuggling operation.  HMRC caught them red-handed unloading smuggled beer at a warehouse in Epping, Essex in 2016, with alcohol that had been brought from Belgium.
https://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/crime/co-armagh-trucker-escapes-jail-over-3-6m-alcohol-scam-1-8694485

https://www.talkingretail.com/news/industry-news/brothers-jailed-distributing-illegal-alcohol-05-11-2018/

NEW ZEALAND: HIGH STAKES IN BIG KIWI FRUIT SMUGGLING LAWSUIT

Stuff on 6th November reported that one of New Zealand’s biggest exporters, Zespri, is seeking compensation for someone smuggling New Zealand-invented kiwifruit plants to one of the world’s biggest markets, China, and allowing them to be produced commercially.  It is suing for $30 million 2 unnamed individuals and a company which it claims spirited the gold kiwifruit plants, or grafts of buds of the plants, to a Chinese grower.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/budget-2015/108379138/high-stakes-in-big-kiwifruit-smuggling-lawsuit

CANADIAN JAILED IN CURACAO SUSPECTED OF SMUGGLING COCAINE INTO CANADA FOR ‘EL CHAPO’ GUZMAN

The Cochrane Times in Canada on 5th November reported that Mykhaylo Koretskyy, 43 — also known as “Russian Mike” and “Cobra”, a Canadian accused of working with Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is sitting in a jail cell Curacao,  fighting extradition to the US.  He is alleged to have shipped cocaine to Canada through his links with El Chapo, the world’s biggest drug kingpin since Colombia’s Pablo Escobar.  He was arrested in January when he arrived on an Air Canada flight from Toronto, being the subject of  a “red notice” from Interpol.

https://www.cochranetimes.com/news/world/russian-mike-canadian-jailed-in-curacao-suspected-of-smuggling-cocaine-into-canada-for-el-chapo-guzman/wcm/19b042da-78da-4f4b-bc69-b7a5b9da2dbf

AUSTRALIA: COUPLE CAUGHT UP IN DODGY ‘CUCKOO SMURFING’ MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME

News.com reported on 6th November that a couple who have not committed any crimes have still had their fortune frozen by Australian authorities.  For years, Malaysian couple Ganesh Kalimuthu and his wife Macquelene Patricia have been under scrutiny after being caught up in a bizarre money laundering scheme known as “cuckoo smurfing” – where dodgy foreign money transfer businesses swapping “clean” cash with drug money before depositing it in an innocent client’s bank account.  They allowed an acquaintance to transfer the proceeds of a recent business transaction into Perth bank accounts, it being transferred in tranches of just under $10,000, with a total of $2,466,936.47 was transferred in 2014.

https://www.news.com.au/finance/money/wealth/couple-caught-up-in-dodgy-cuckoo-smurfing-money-laundering-scheme/news-story/ee0428cd58a2d8e29b5e0a96e2ec00da

DANISH SUSPECT IN $17 MILLION FRAUD CASE ARRESTED IN SOUTH AFRICA

Swissinfo on 5th November reported that South African police have arrested a Danish woman accused of stealing £13.1 million of Danish government funds intended for the most vulnerable in society.  The woman, an employee of the Danish ministry for social affairs for more than 40 years, is suspected of transferring government funds intended for vulnerable people to her own accounts between 2002 and 2018.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/reuters/danish-suspect-in–17-million-fraud-case-arrested-in-south-africa/44521928

TRANSFER PRICING IN IRELAND

On 5th November, law firm Maples & Calder published a structured guide to transfer pricing in Ireland.

https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=2d92f40a-9dbd-4843-9393-973247c56b44

5 WAYS CIVIL COURTS IN UK ARE FIGHTING BACK AGAINST CYBERCRIME

An article from RPC on 6th November says that in a number of recent cases the civil courts have shown that they are adapting to keep pace with the cybercriminals.  The article provides 5 examples of ways in which the courts are addressing the imbalance that exists between victims and criminals who seek to hide behind a veil of anonymity in this digital age –

  • Worldwide freezing orders (WFO) against ‘persons unknown’;
  • Digital methods of service – with Service by data room access or by text message;
  • Self-identification orders or the unknown respondent to provide a name and an address for service;
  • Derogations from open justice: hearings on paper and in private; and
  • The Construction of new cybercrime court being approved.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Litigation/United-Kingdom/RPC/Five-ways-civil-courts-are-fighting-back-against-cybercrime

MOST-WANTED CONSTRUCTION FRAUDSTER FINALLY BEHIND BARS IN UK

The Construction Index on 6th November reported that Thomas O’Connor, 52, was one of the UK’s most wanted tax fugitives.  He escaped to Ireland 12 years ago after being found guilty of committing a £5 million subcontractor tax fraud, and has now been jailed for 4½ years.  He was tracked down in Ireland by specialist HMRC investigators but then launched a 7-year legal battle in 2011 to try to block his extradition.

https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/news/view/most-wanted-construction-fraudster-finally-behind-bars

INTERNATIONAL ROAD HAULAGE: VEHICLE OPERATOR LICENCES AND PERMITS

On 5th November, the UK Department for Transport issued updated guidance on the licences and permits you need to operate gross vehicle weight vehicles above 3.5 tonnes on international journeys from the UK.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/international-authorisations-and-permits-for-road-haulage

ALLOCATION OF ECMT HAULAGE PERMITS: GUIDANCE FOR HAULIERS

Also on 5th November, the Department for Transport published a guide that explains the criteria for allocating ECMT permits and what hauliers need to do.  European Conference of Ministers of Transport (ECMT) international road haulage are permits for journeys between ECMT member countries, and can be used for journeys between the 43-member countries of the Conference, including transit journeys whether laden or empty, and third-country journeys to other ECMT countries which would otherwise be prohibited under certain bilateral agreements

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/allocation-of-ecmt-haulage-permits-guidance-for-hauliers

BLACK SCORPION SMUGGLING IN AFGHANISTAN IS BIG BUSINESS

Customs Today on 5th November reported that the trade of scorpion hunting in Afghanistan, though unregistered, has been around for years but has become a lucrative business in the past few months. Scorpions are in high demand for medical research, scorpion smoking and other uses. Its venom is used to develop compounds for anti-cancer medicines while it is a popular street-food snack in many countries, including China.  It says that the invertebrates can cost an average of hundreds of dollars while one weighing 60 grams was sold for as much as $120,000.  The buyers are often Chinese, Arab and Iranian nationals who take them out of the country for medical research and consumption purposes.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/black-scorpion-smuggling-in-afghanistan-is-big-business-2/

UNDERSTANDING ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES

Gowling WLG on 5th November produced a podcast (with transcript): what are e-signatures, how do they work and what does best practice look like?  David Lowe shares his insight into this important topic and provides practical guidance on using e-signatures to manage day-to-day commercial contracts.

https://gowlingwlg.com/en/insights-resources/podcasts/2018/understanding-electronic-signatures/

FIRST BLOCKCHAIN SECURITIES EXCHANGE TO LAUNCH IN MAURITIUS

Fintech on 6th November reported that the UK Department for International Trade (DIT) was supporting GMEX in the creation of a new exchange trading ecosystem in Mauritius.  HYBSE International Marketplace; a joint venture between Mindex, GMEX and HYBSE; will “integrate blockchain solutions and technology with traditional financial industries providing a complete and governed ecosystem that digitalises assets onto the blockchain”.

https://www.bankingtech.com/2018/11/first-blockchain-securities-exchange-to-launch-in-mauritius/

SOLOMON ISLANDS MUTUAL EVALUATION ON-SITE VISIT FOR AML/CFT ASSESSMENT

On 6th November, the Asia Pacific Group undertook the on-site evaluation visit to the Solomon Islands on 22nd October to 2nd November.  The subsequent mutual evaluation report on FATF standards will be considered and adopted at the next APG Annual Meeting in July 2019.

http://www.apgml.org/news/details.aspx?pcPage=1&n=1138

TRAINEE ACCOUNTANT SENTENCED FOR £30,000 VAT FRAUD

Accountancy Daily on 6th November reported that an HMRC investigation has found that a trainee accountant produced fake invoices between two businesses to fraudulently reclaim more than £30,000 in VAT.  HMRC discovered that Keiron Edmondson submitted 12 invoices for VAT for transfers from his company, Blocks Toy Store, to his wife’s businesses.

https://www.accountancydaily.co/trainee-accountant-sentenced-ps30k-vat-fraud

UK POST OFFICE FACES COURT BATTLE OVER ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE

Accountancy Daily on 6th November reported that a dispute over the accuracy of a digital accounting system used by the Post Office – which has resulted in the threat, or actual, prosecution of sub-postmasters – has now reached the High Court as sub-postmasters start their class action over the relationship between employees and the company, and the operation of the IT system.  The Horizon accounting system, designed and installed by Fujitsu Services, came into operation in 1999. Former sub-postmasters claimed to have experienced problems with the Post Office’s Horizon accounting system since 2009, with funds reported missing.

https://www.accountancydaily.co/post-office-faces-court-battle-over-accounting-software

TURKEY WARNS OIL COMPANIES AGAINST DRILLING NEAR CYPRUS

The Guardian on 4th November reported that Erdogan has warned foreign oil companies against energy exploration near Cyprus, describing those defying Ankara as “bandits of the sea”.  Drilling for hydrocarbon resources off the coast of Cyprus, an EU member, is hugely sensitive, with the northern third of the island is occupied by Turkey.

https://www.google.com/url?q=https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/04/turkey-warns-oil-companies-against-drilling-near-cyprus&sa=U&ved=0ahUKEwiN99i_xcDeAhVG3aQKHaauAt4QFggFMAA&client=internal-uds-cse&cx=007466294097402385199:m2ealvuxh1i&usg=AOvVaw1F3rH_T-7g22b5zekZLM9Z

CANNABIS CARGO AND CANADIAN AIRLINES

On 6th November, Loadstar carried an article about carriage of cannabis on airlines in Canada after the legalisation of cannabis for leisure purposes in Canada on October 17th.  Cargojet, Canada’s largest freighter operator, has been no stranger to flying cannabis across the country, as use of the plant for medical purposes was legalised in 2001.  Since October 17th, the freighter airline has moved cannabis shipments around its network.  There are no special handling and security protocols for moving cannabis shipments, although Cargojet, Air Canada and WestJet all implemented staff policies.  One question asked, but unanswered, is what happens if the aircraft is diverted to the US?

https://theloadstar.co.uk/canadian-carriers-flying-high-cargo-cannabis/

DP WORLD SUING CHINA OVER DJIBOUTI PORT

Loadstar on 6th November reported that DP World is suing it for the investment of state-owned port operator China Merchants and its role in acquiring a 23.5% stake in Djibouti’s state-owned port authority [PDSA].  PDSA has been trying to evict DP World from operating the Doraleh Container Terminal, and have been locked in a legal battle – and now DP World has lodged a case in a Hong Kong court.

https://theloadstar.co.uk/dubais-dp-world-sues-china-djibouti-trade-zone/

SOUTH AFRICA PART OF INTERNATIONAL CHEMICAL WEAPONS BIOMARKER RESEARCH WORK

Defence Web on 6th November reported that Protechnik Laboratories, an Armscor defence science and technology institute, is collaborating with a Netherlands-headquartered applied scientific research organisation developing methods to analyse biomedical samples for unique biomarkers of chemical weapons, with funding from the Organisation for the Prohibition of chemical weapons (OPCW).

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53641:south-africa-part-of-international-chemical-weapons-biomarker-research-work&catid=7:Industry&Itemid=116

VENEZUELA: EU RENEWS SANCTIONS FOR 1 YEAR

A news release on 6th November advised that the EU had renewed its sanctions in respect of Venezuela until 14th November 2019.  The sanctions include an embargo on arms and on equipment for internal repression as well as a travel ban and an asset freeze on 18 individuals.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/11/06/venezuela-eu-renews-sanctions-for-one-year/

GERMAN PROSECUTORS REPORTEDLY SEARCH BLACKROCK IN DIVIDEND-STRIPPING INQUIRY

Reuters on 6th November reported that prosecutors searched the Munich offices of BlackRock, a person with knowledge of the matter said, as part of the country’s largest postwar fraud investigation.  The practice being investigated, known as “cum-ex”, typically involved trading company shares rapidly around a syndicate of banks, investors and hedge funds to create the impression of numerous owners, each of whom was entitled to a tax rebate.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-dividendstripping-search/german-prosecutors-search-blackrock-in-dividend-stripping-inquiry-source-idUSKCN1NB1Z5

FORMER PRECIOUS METALS TRADER PLEADS GUILTY TO COMMODITIES FRAUD AND SPOOFING CONSPIRACY IN US

A news release from the US DoJ on 6th November reported that John Edmonds, 36, from New York, a former precious metals trader at a US bank pleaded guilty in a proceeding to commodities fraud and a spoofing conspiracy in connection with his participation in fraudulent and deceptive trading activity in the precious metals futures contracts markets.  Edmonds admitted that from approximately 2009 through 2015, he conspired with other precious metals traders at the Bank to manipulate the markets for gold, silver, platinum and palladium futures contracts traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange Inc. (NYMEX) and Commodity Exchange Inc. (COMEX), which are commodities exchanges operated by CME Group Inc.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-precious-metals-trader-pleads-guilty-commodities-fraud-and-spoofing-conspiracy

SFO HAS ABANDONED ITS CASE AGAINST HEAD OF MINING COMPANY EURASIAN RESOURCES GROUP (ERG)

The Law Society Gazette on 6th November reported that the SFO had decided to discontinue its case against CEO Benedikt Sobotka.  The case related to Sobotka’s non-appearance for questioning as a witness in relation to the SFO’s long running investigation into ERG subsidiary, the Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC).

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/law/sfo-drops-case-against-mining-chief/5068210.article

WOMAN WHO SPENT £16 MILLION IN HARRODS (AND SUBJECT OF UWO) ARRESTED

The BBC reported on 6th November that Zamira Hajiyeva, 55, is the wife of an ex-state banker who is serving a 15-year prison sentence for embezzlement in their home country of Azerbaijan.  Mrs Hajiyeva was arrested by officers from the Metropolitan Police acting on an extradition request from the authorities in the Azerbaijan and faces embezzlement charges.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-46108803

HONG KONG ISSUES SIGNIFICANT ANNOUNCEMENTS ON THE REGULATION OF VIRTUAL ASSETS

On 6th November, website JD Supra provided a Client Alert from Latham & Watkins LLP saying that the Hong Kong SFC has outlined its regulatory approach to the management and distribution of virtual asset funds and virtual asset exchanges.  The Alert provides details.

https://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/hong-kong-s-sfc-issues-significant-99223/

COMPANIES RELEASED FROM FREEZING ORDER IN LIBYAN BRIBERY CASE

Out-Law published an article on 6th November saying that a banker whose assets were frozen by the High Court in London has succeeded in an application to have the assets of companies he controls removed from the freezing order.  The High Court has ruled that the freezing order imposed on Yoshiki Ohmura, who was found liable of dishonest assistance and bribery in a case brought by FM Capital Partners (FMCP), could be varied to remove references to assets held by 3 companies in which he held an interest.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/november/freezing-order-libyan-bribery-case/

KOSOVO IMPOSES CUSTOMS TARIFFS ON SERBIA AND BOSNIA

Balkan Insight on 6th November reported that the government said it has imposed customs tariffs of 10% on products from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in retaliation for their negative behaviour towards Kosovo.

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/kosovo-imposes-customs-tariffs-for-serbia-and-bosnia-and-herzegovina-11-06-2018

DENYING MEDICAL AND HEALTHCARE: A FORM OF BIOLOGICAL WARFARE IN SYRIA AND YEMEN?

In an article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on 6th November, doctor and global public health expert Annie Sparrow advances an unusual argument: that Syria’s embattled dictator Bashar Al-Assad, by deliberately degrading healthcare to encourage disease and death, is also conducting a form of biological warfare.  The article says that Sparrow does not mention Yemen in her story, but it is impossible to read her piece and not think of that country.

https://thebulletin.org/2018/11/a-form-of-biological-warfare-in-syria-and-yemen/

ACCOUNTANT INVOLVED IN MASSIVE LAW FIRM FRAUD BANNED

Legal Futures on 6th November reported that Martin Landman, an accountant and former partner of a law firm which became involved in a €100 million money laundering operation, has agreed with the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) not to work in the profession.

https://www.legalfutures.co.uk/latest-news/accountant-involved-in-massive-law-firm-fraud-banned

DANISH WATCHDOG SEEKS NORDIC BANKS’ HELP IN PROBE OF $2 BILLION FRAUD

KYC 360 on 6th November reported that Denmark’s tax minister has asked the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority (FSA) to investigate whether Danske Bank, Nordea and SEB have handed over all relevant material in a $2 billion tax probe.  The ministry says it needs more information from the banks in order to advance its investigation into the alleged $1.94 billion fraud, which does not directly involve the banks.

https://kyc360.com/news/danish-watchdog-seeks-nordic-banks-help-in-probe-of-2-billion-fraud/

NORTHERN IRELAND WOMAN WHO BOUGHT ABORTION PILLS CHALLENGES PROSECUTION

Ekklesia on 6th November reported that a mother who bought her then 15-year-old daughter abortion pills online will appear in court to challenge a decision by the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland to prosecute her.  The ground-breaking case will focus attention on the criminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.  It is the first-time the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has been challenged on a decision relating to Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion law.

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/27123

IEA: VENEZUELA OIL PRODUCTION IN “FREE FALL”

Hellenic Shipping News on 6th November reported that the Executive Director of the International Energy Agency has said that Venezuela’s crude production was in “free-fall” and could soon fall below 1 million barrels per day.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/ieas-birol-says-venezuela-oil-production-in-free-fall/

NORTHERN IRELAND WOMAN WHO BOUGHT ABORTION PILLS CHALLENGES PROSECUTION

Ekklesia on 6th November reported that a mother who bought her then 15-year-old daughter abortion pills online will appear in court to challenge a decision by the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland to prosecute her.  The ground-breaking case will focus attention on the criminalisation of abortion in Northern Ireland.  It is the first-time the Public Prosecution Service (PPS) has been challenged on a decision relating to Northern Ireland’s restrictive abortion law.

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/27123

TAXATION: NAMIBIA REMOVED FROM EU LIST OF NON-COOPERATIVE JURISDICTIONS

A news release from the EU on 6th November reported that the EU Council has removed Namibia from the EU’s list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions.  This leaves only American Samoa, Guam, Samoa, Trinidad and Tobago and the US Virgin Islands on the list, whilst a total of 65 jurisdictions are now actively co-operating with the EU in implementing tax good governance standards.  The news release says that Namibia has made sufficient commitments at a high political level to address EU concerns.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/11/06/taxation-namibia-removed-from-eu-list-of-non-cooperative-jurisdictions/

MALTA FACES HIGH MONEY LAUNDERING RISK – ACCORDING TO NATIONAL RISK ASSESSMENT

International Adviser on 6th November reported that the Times of Malta had had sight of the unpublished national risk assessment of Malta from 2017 which found the country to be at high risk of foreign proceeds of crime being transferred into the island, and at a medium-high risk of local crime, including tax evasion, fraud and drug trafficking.  The report also claimed that revenue from the illicit market in Malta reached 1.4% of GDP, while tax evasion was estimated to be 5% of GDP.

https://international-adviser.com/malta-faces-high-money-laundering-risk

https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20181106/local/malta-at-high-risk-of-being-used-for-money-laundering.693560

RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE RYBOLOVLEV ‘DETAINED IN MONACO’

Rferl on 6th November reported that Dmitry Rybolovlev, a Russian billionaire and owner of the Monaco soccer club, has been detained in Monaco for questioning in a corruption-related case, according to French newspaper Le Monde.  Rybolovlev was listed by Forbes Magazine as 242nd richest person in the world with an estimated $6.8 billion.

https://www.rferl.org/a/russian-billionaire-rybolovlev-detained-in-monaco-/29586202.html

EU: MORE EFFECTIVE MUTUAL RECOGNITION OF FREEZING AND CONFISCATION ORDERS

On 6th November, the EU published a news release saying that the EU Council had adopted a Regulation on the mutual recognition of freezing and confiscation orders.  The aim of the new rules is to ensure the effective freezing and confiscation of criminal assets across the EU.  It will come into effect 24 months after its publication in the EU Official Journal.  It will cover freezing and confiscation orders, and will be directly applicable in the EU.  This will resolve issues linked to implementation of the existing instruments, which have resulted in insufficient mutual recognition.  A deadline of 45 days for the recognition of a confiscation order and, in urgent cases, a deadline of 48 hours for the recognition and 48 hours for the execution of freezing orders.  Those limits can only be extended under strict conditions.

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2018/11/06/more-effective-mutual-recognition-of-freezing-and-confiscation-orders/

See the draft of the Regulation at –

http://data.consilium.europa.eu/doc/document/PE-38-2018-INIT/en/pdf