7th November 2018
PREMIUM CHOCOLATE IMPORTERS CAUGHT SMUGGLING COCAINE INTO AUSTRALIA
Food and Drink Business on 7th November reported that Los Angeles-based fine chocolate importer/exporters Nathan and Andrew Dulley teamed up with criminal organisation ODOG, headed by former University of Southern California football player Owen Hanson to use their established import/export routes into Australia.
NEW ZEALAND: MAN IN KIWI FRUIT SMUGGLING CASE NAMED
Newsroom in New Zealand on 7th November reported that Kiwifruit exporter Zespri claims an Opotiki grower Haoyu Gao, who it accuses of smuggling highly valuable gold fruit plants to China, may have done the same into Australia. Gao, his wife Xia Xue and their company Smiling Face Ltd are at the centre of the Zespri action alleging plant material taken from this country has been used for at least four orchards covering 167 hectares of land in China. China is one of the world’s biggest markets for kiwifruit and Zespri claims to have had big plans to export the gold kiwifruit there.
LAST NGO-RUN RESCUE VESSEL IN MED FINDS NEW FLAG STATE
Maritime Executive on 6th November reported that NGO-operated migrant rescue vessel Aquarius 2 has obtained a provisional flag registration from the Liberian Registry, filling the compliance gap left when Gibraltar and Panama de-registered her. She was the last vessel of her kind operating off the coast of Libya.
FIRST “PANAMA PAPERS” MOVIE TRAILER
Variety magazine on 6th November carried news of the release of the trailer for the movie, a documentary narrated by Elijah Wood, of “Lord of the Rings” fame. The 1-minute trailer is also included.
BAHAMAS: “FEW PROSECUTIONS SHOW ANTI-FINANCIAL CRIME REGIME WORKS”
Tribune 242 in the Bahamas reported on 5th November that the Deputy Prime Minister is arguing that The Bahamas has relatively few money laundering prosecutions because its regulatory regime is successfully deterring financial criminals. Flipping a key aspect of FATF rationale for branding the country one of 11 nations with “strategic deficiencies” in their AML/CFT, he said the few prosecutions should be seen as a strength and not necessarily a weakness.
CAYMAN ISLANDS REGULATOR DEMANDS AML AUDITS FROM EXCLUDED PERSONS
Cayman Compass on 6th November reported that the Cayman Islands Monetary Authority has sent letters to securities and investment businesses registered as excluded persons, demanding they obtain within 30 days an auditor’s report on their AML systems and procedures for compliance with Cayman’s AML regulations. Excluded persons are entities exempt from holding a licence to conduct securities investment business and the exemption is designed for financial service providers who exclusively serve sophisticated or high-net-worth investors.
PAKISTAN: 25 BROKERAGE HOUSES SERVED NOTICES OVER NON-COMPLIANCE OF AML LAWS
Pakistan Today on 6th November reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has issued show cause notices to 25 brokerage houses over non-compliance with AML/CFT laws.
ST MAARTEN: DUTCH CONSULTANT TO BE CHARGED WITH ALLEGED BRIBERY OF FORMER MINISTER OF PUBLIC HOUSING, SPATIAL PLANNING, ENVIRONMENT AND INFRASTRUCTURE VROMI AND CURRENT IN 2001
The Daily Herald on 6th November reported that a consultant identified only as “RM” allegedly paid the MP US $300,000 for the purchase of real estate to persuade him to award government contracts to dredging company Devcon TCI Ltd. and construction company Volker Construction International BV/Volker Stevin Caribbean NV. The crimes were allegedly committed in St. Maarten, the former Netherlands Antilles, the Netherlands, Anguilla, the Isle of Man, Panama and St. Kitts and Nevis, the indictment says.
EUROJUST TO HOST THE EUROPEAN JUDICIAL COUNTER-TERRORISM REGISTER
A news release from Eurojust, the EU judicial co-operation unit, on 5th November reported that France, Germany, Spain Italy, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands have launched an initiative calling for the creation of a European judicial counter-terrorism register at Eurojust. This would make it possible to proactively establish possible links between cases and to identify coordination needs for the investigations. The legal basis for working together is already in place.
BULGARIAN AUTHORITIES DISRUPT UNPRECEDENTED CYBERCRIME GROUP
Novinite on 7th November reported that Bulgaria’s directorate for combating organised crime and the specialised prosecutor’s office disrupted a cybercrime group that siphoned off accounts through internet fraud.
UK DEBT ENFORCEMENT
On 6th November, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which provides an overview of the different types of debt enforcement methods available to a judgment creditor.
BREXIT AND CHEMICALS REGULATION (REACH)
A briefing paper from the House of Commons Library on 6th November discusses the EU REACH regulation for chemicals and the potential impacts of Brexit including in relation to a no deal scenario. REACH is the main EU legislation for the regulation of chemicals in the EU (formally the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals Regulation). It requires substances that are manufactured or imported into the EU (in quantities of more than 1 tonne) to be registered with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) and provides a framework by which the use of hazardous substances can be restricted.
REGULATION OF FIREWORKS IN UK
On 6th November, a briefing paper from the House of Commons Library is concerned with the strict rules in place in the UK regulating the sale, possession and use of fireworks. This Commons briefing paper provides an overview of the current legislative provisions regulating the supply and use of fireworks.
LESOTHO: CHINESE BUSINESSMAN ADMITS TO FUNDING TOP POLITICIANS
OCCRP on 6th November reported that a Lesotho-based Chinese businessman who also serves as the prime minister’s trade adviser on Asia divulged the deep extent of his ties to Lesotho’s political elite. Yan Xie, a naturalised citizen known in Lesotho as “John,” arrived to the small sub-Saharan African country in 1990, and has since built an impressive business empire that includes supermarkets, construction, farming and quarrying.
LATIN AMERICAN CRIME GROUPS ADAPTING TO MEET GROWING US DRUG DEMAND
Insight Crime on 6th November reported that, as the opioid crisis continues to ravage the US, with a record number of overdose deaths, crime groups in Latin America have taken advantage of the growing market for these drugs, producing and trafficking larger amounts of both heroin and the deadly synthetic opioid fentanyl.
LAW FIRM RESISTS HMRC DEMAND FOR RECORDS OF CLIENTS’ OFFSHORE ACTIVITIES
Legal Futures on 7th November reported on a tribunal case where asked a law firm to hand over the details of clients who have sought advice on offshore structures. The FTT held that the obligations on Salisbury firm Wilsons to keep records under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 did not make it a “data-holder” from which HMRC could demand information under its broad data-gathering powers in Schedule 23 to the Finance Act 2011.
US TO IMPOSE NEW RUSSIA SANCTIONS OVER SKRIPAL POISONING
On 6th November, Rferl reported that the US says it is eyeing fresh sanctions against Russia over the poisoning of a Russian former spy in Britain earlier this year. The State Department has announced that it will consult with Congress on the fresh sanctions after Russia failed to meet a 3-month deadline to comply with a 1991 US law on preventing the use of chemical weapons.
AEGEAN MARINE PETROLEUM NETWORK INC – ALLEGED FRAUD SURPRISES ACTIVIST INVESTORS IN SHIPPING FUEL COMPANY
The Wall Street Journal on 6th November reported that, in May, an activist-investor group forced its way onto the board of a Greek shipping-fuel company, calling it mismanaged and undervalued. 6 months later, that company, Aegean Marine Petroleum Network Inc has filed for bankruptcy, with its new board alleging that the company had been systematically plundered and the assets that drew the activists’ attention were largely fake. A board investigation found billionaire founder used false transactions, receipts and documents to conceal alleged $300 million fraud, apparently stolen by founder Dimitris Melissanidis. A set of shell companies, fake receipts and documents covered up the alleged theft, the investigation found. Some of the money is said to have gone to Mr. Melissanidis and to his family businesses, which include a professional soccer team and yacht rentals.
PREVENTING ILLEGAL IMPORT OF CULTURAL GOODS INTO THE EU: EU COUNCIL AGREES ITS POSITION
A news release from the EU on 7th November reported that the EU is taking steps to clamp down on the illicit trafficking in cultural goods with agreement on a draft Regulation which will prevent the import and storage in the EU of cultural goods illegally exported from a non-EU country. The Regulation covers cultural goods that are created or discovered outside the EU; due to be released in free circulation or to be placed under a customs procedure other than transit; are older than 250 years; and are worth at least €10,000. The EU Council will now begin negotiations with the European Parliament with the aim of reaching a rapid agreement.
FRANCE: FAR-RIGHT SUSPECTS HELD OVER ‘VIOLENT’ PLOT AGAINST PRESIDENT MACRON
France 24 reported on 6th November that 6 people linked to French extreme right movements were detained on suspicions they were preparing a “violent” plot against President Emmanuel Macron.
PODCAST: DO WE NEED AN INTERNATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION COURT?
In the latest TRACE podcast, Judge Mark Wolf of Integrity Initiatives International and Matthew Stephenson of Harvard Law School debate the pros and cons of an International Anti-Corruption Court.
BVI CHANGE ALLOWS FOR CORPORATE COMPLIANCE FUNCTION SERVICES TO BE PROVIDED TO LICENSEES
Harneys on 7th November reported that traditionally, only an individual could be approved as the compliance officer of a licensee. However, in order to adapt to a more modern approach to compliance, the Financial Services Commission Act 2001 has been amended recently to now allow for corporate compliance function services to be provided to licensees.
HMRC RESEARCH: EXPLORING THE USE OF TRUSTS
HMRC on 7th November published qualitative research with settlors and agents exploring the use of trusts.
10 YEARS ON, IS SOMALI PIRACY STILL A THREAT?
On 7th November, Defence Web published an article posing this question. On 6th November, the UN Security Council renewed the authorisation for international naval forces to carry out anti-piracy measures off Somalia’s coast. It is now 10 years since the first resolution was passed in 2008 to respond to piracy and robbery against humanitarian and commercial ships in the region. At the time, piracy was considered a major threat to both local and global peace and security. Since then, and especially since 2013, the number of attacks and hijackings has dropped. he recent UN Secretary-General’s report on piracy and armed robbery off Somalia’s coast attributes the low number of attacks to successful global collaboration and the ongoing work of regional organisations like the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia. But the article says that the activities of pirate groups must be understood in the broader context of Somalia’s ongoing crisis. The crisis has allowed the root causes for the emergence and proliferation of these groups to continue; and pirate groups have shifted their focus away from piracy towards more profitable illegal activities.
MONACO CHARGES RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE RYBOLOVLEV IN GRAFT CASE
Rferl on 7th November reported that a judge in Monaco has charged Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, owner of soccer club AS Monaco, in a corruption-related case, the principality’s chief prosecutor says. The judge has been investigating whether Rybolovlev sought to influence Monaco’s law enforcement officials in his legal battle with Swiss art dealer Yves Bouvier. The Russian accuses Bouvier of having conned him out of $1 billion by inflating the price of dozens of pieces of art he bought from 2003 to 2014.
UK EXTRADITES AGROKOR FOOD COMPANY FOUNDER TO CROATIA
Reuters on 7th November reported that Croatian TV says that the UK has extradited to Croatia Ivica Todoric, the founder of beleaguered food producer and retailer Agrokor to face allegations of fraud. He and 14 other people, including former top managers in Agrokor, are being investigated for their role in the debt and liquidity crisis at the company, which is the largest employer in the Balkans.
FORMER US CONGRESSMAN SENTENCED TO 10 YEARS IN PRISON FOR EXTENSIVE FRAUD, TAX AND ELECTION CRIMES SCHEME
A DoJ news release on 7th November reported that former Congressman Stephen E. Stockman sentenced to 10 years in prison and ordered to pay $1,014,718.51 in restitution, to be followed by 3 years of supervised release, for orchestrating a 4-year scheme to defraud charitable donors of hundreds of thousands of dollars and secretly to funnel the proceeds to pay for personal expenses and to illegally finance his campaigns for public office.
HUSBAND OF PERU OPPOSITION LEADER FACES MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES
UPI on 7th November reported that Mark Vito Villanella, the American husband of jailed Peru politician Keiko Fujimori, is now facing charges of money laundering.
CORK-BORN MAN TO BE EXTRADITED TO NETHERLANDS IN CONNECTION WITH ALLEGED ROOF-REPAIR SCAM
The Irish Examiner on 7th November reported that an Irish High Court judge has indicated that she will make an order next month to extradite, Denis Harrington, 42, a Cork-born man to the Netherlands in connection with an alleged roof-repair scam.
ITALIAN PROSECUTOR SAYS INVESTIGATING SWITZERLAND’S PKB BANK AND MANAGERS
Reuters reported on 7th November that 18 managers of Swiss private bank PKB Privatbank SA Lugano are under investigation in Italy for fiscal fraud and money laundering. The managers under investigation are mostly resident in Italy, where PKB owns Cassa Lombarda.
SUSPECT FLEW TO SPAIN IN PRIVATE PLANE AFTER £1 MILLION HOUSEBUILDING SCAM
The Bournemouth Echo on 7th November reported that a bogus property developer who fled to Spain in a private jet before he could be sentenced has received a further 6 months in prison for breaching bail. Jamie Colwell, 51, had already been sentenced to five years and 3 months in prison in May for a £1 million VAT scam. His father Brian, 76, who was arrested with his son, was also given a further 6 months to be served consecutive to his initial sentence of 2 years and 8 months in prison. In May, they were captured in Spain, after Jamie Colwell fled to France in a light aircraft, and his father escaped to Spain via a ferry travelling between Portsmouth and Caen.
MALAYSIAN AUTHORITIES HAVE BROKEN UP AN ILLEGAL ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATION THAT BOMBARDED POTENTIAL CUSTOMERS WITH COME-HITHER TEXT MESSAGES
Calvin Ayre on 7th November reported that police in Kuala Lumpur had arrested 5 individuals in connection with an illegal online casino that authorities claim was making profits of $794,000 per month.
US CUSTOMS SEIZES 150,000 WALL CHARGERS WITH COUNTERFEIT MARKINGS
A news release from US Customs and Border protection on 7th November reported that CBP Officers made a shocking discovery at the Port of New York/Newark: counterfeit wall chargers that could cause grave damage to holiday shoppers, their families, and their homes.
NEW CORRUPTION CASE MORE TROUBLE FOR EMBATTLED FORMER HONDURAS PRESIDENT PORFIRIO LOBO
On 7th November, Insight Crime reported that a new investigation has involved Ramón Lobo Sosa, brother of former Honduras President Porfirio Lobo, in a corruption scheme that diverted funds from the president’s party to private individuals.