OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – NOVEMBER 17

17th November 2018

 US: JORDANIAN MAN CONVICTED IN ARMS-SMUGGLING SCHEME

41NBC in the US on 16th November reported that a Jordanian-born Rami Najm Asad-Ghanem, 52, a naturalised US citizen, faces at least 25 years in federal prison after being convicted in connection with an illegal arms smuggling scheme that included plans to sell surface to-air missile systems and other military equipment to groups in countries that included Libya, the UAE, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.  He was arrested in Greece in 2015.  It is said that he sought to broker and transfer anti-aircraft missiles between 2013 and 2015 to clients around the world, as well as procured the services of mercenary missile operators to a Libyan militant faction.

https://www.41nbc.com/2018/11/16/jordanian-man-convicted-in-arms-smuggling-scheme-faces-at-least-25-years/

CORRESPONDENT BANKING CONTINUES ITS DECLINE

PYMNTS.com on 16th November reported that amid stricter checks for money laundering, banks are moving away from international money transfer by correspondent banking, saying that this could possibly cause payments to move underground and particularly impact nations that are dependent on remittances.  Correspondent banking decreased by 4.1% in 2017 – and 15.5% from the beginning of 2011.  A survey recently reported the steepest decline in correspondent banking activity in sub-Saharan Africa, with 35% of banks in the region reporting a drop in such relationships.

https://www.pymnts.com/news/international/2018/correspondent-banking-global-regulations/

IRANIAN SUSPECTED OF HALF-BILLION RAND FRAUD IS LIVING IN SOUTH AFRICA ‘ILLEGALLY’

IOL on 17th November reported that Jalil Motazedi, the Iranian former director of Electio Global Investments – the company accused of defrauding South Africans out of an estimated half a billion rand – is suspected of residing illegally in the country. The rare metals investment firm promised massive interest rates on investments, using boiler-room style tactics to aggressively sell “baskets” of earth metals allegedly stored in Dubai. On November 6th, Motazedi was arrested alongside 3 former colleagues.

https://www.iol.co.za/saturday-star/news/iranian-suspected-of-half-billion-rand-fraud-is-living-in-sa-illegally-18157427

BULGARIAN ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSION SEEKS TO SEIZE PROPERTY OF FORMER MINISTER OF ECONOMY

Novinite on 17th November reported that the Commission has requested the court to seize the property of Traicho Traikov, former Minister of Economy, it having found that the he could not prove the origin of the property.

https://www.novinite.com/articles/193267/Bulgarian+Anti-corruption+Commission+Seeks+to+Seize+Property+of+Former+Minister+of+Economy

OECD SAYS EFFORTS SPEARHEADED BY BEPS TO CURB HARMFUL TAX PRACTICES AND PREVENT THE MISUSE OF PREFERENTIAL TAX REGIMES ARE HAVING A TANGIBLE IMPACT

Accountancy Daily on 17th November said that an OECD report on assessments undertaken by the Forum on Harmful Tax Practices (FHTP) found 18 regimes where jurisdictions have delivered on their commitment to make legislative changes to abolish or amend the regime; 3 others have designed new or replacement regimes; and an additional 17 regimes that have been brought into the FHTP review process.  The review process has now reviewed 246 regimes – 3 were judged to be harmful, 3 as potentially harmful and 5 as potentially but not actually harmful.

https://www.accountancydaily.co/oecd-cracks-down-misuse-preferential-tax-regimes

The report is at –

https://www.oecd.org/tax/beps/resumption-of-application-of-substantial-activities-factors.pdf

POWERFUL KUWAITI IOC MEMBER TO BE TRIED IN SWITZERLAND FOR FORGERY

The Mail Online on 17th November reported that Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad al-Sabah, a former Kuwaiti minister and one of the most powerful officials in international sports, has been charged in Switzerland with forgery with 4 others, over a forgery scheme linked to his efforts to prove that Kuwait’s former prime minister and speaker of parliament were guilty of coup-plotting and corruption.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-6400701/Powerful-Kuwaiti-IOC-member-tried-Switzerland-forgery.html

LAW FIRM WINS CHALLENGE TO HMRC INFORMATION NOTICE OVER ADVICE ON OFFSHORE COMPANIES AND TRUSTS

Out-Law on 17th November published an article sayinf that a judge in the First-tier Tax Tribunal had quashed an information notice issued by HMRC to Wilsons Solicitors, ruling that the firm’s duty to keep records under the Money Laundering Regulations did not make it a “relevant data holder” from which HMRC could demand information under Schedule 23 to the Finance Act 2011.  Schedule 23 gives HMRC broad powers to require “relevant data-holders” to provide it with “relevant data”.  The records involved included “details of beneficial owners of offshore companies and persons who have beneficial interests in offshore partnerships, trusts and other like entities” which the firm had been involved in creating, as well as specific information about each of the offshore entities.  The notice excluded information that was protected by legal professional privilege.

https://www.out-law.com/en/articles/2018/november/law-firm-wins-hmrc-information-notice-challenge/

 

KREMLIN WARNS IT MAY ACT IF UKRAINE SEIZES SHIPS IN AZOV SEA

Rferl on 16th November reported that Russia has warned Ukraine that it may take measures to protect Russian ships crossing the Sea of Azov should Kyiv stop or seize any.  On November 15th, a Ukrainian border security spokesman said that Ukrainian authorities had seized or imposed restrictions on 15 ships heading for Crimean ports.  It was not clear how many of those ships were Russian, but he claimed the seized ships were illegally operating in Ukrainian waters.  The Sea of Azov borders Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea.  Russia has control over access to the Sea of Azov as it controls the Kerch Strait between Crimea and Russia, and Ukraine accuses Moscow of harassing ships heading for ports in Ukraine, such as Mariupol or Berdyansk.

https://www.rferl.org/a/kremlin-warns-may-act-protect-russian-ukraine-seizes-ships-sea-of-azov/29605057.html

CHINESE AUTHORITIES TIGHTEN PORT RESTRICTIONS TO CONTROL COAL IMPORTS

Hellenic Shipping News on 17th November reported that sources claim that China’s National Development and Reform Commission has imposed further port restrictions on coking coal and thermal coal until the end of 2018 at ports across China.  Sources said the restrictions were because NDRC aims to control the total volume of imported coal into China.  Controlling imports may help support domestic coking and thermal coal prices.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/chinese-authorities-tighten-port-restrictions-to-control-coal-imports-sources/

REPORT CLAIMS ISLAMIC STATE FUNDING FOR DR CONGO REBEL GROUP

Defence Web on 16th November reported that an Islamist rebel group in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo is said to have received money from a financier linked to Islamic State, suggesting tentative ties between the Congo insurgents and other jihadists in Africa and beyond.  Islamist “financial facilitator” Waleed Ahmed Zein paid the Allied Democratic Forces at least once said the report from New York University’s Congo Research Group and the Bridgeway Foundation.  Zein is on a US sanctions list and was arrested in Kenya in July for links to Islamic State.  ADF was set up by Ugandan Muslims in the 1990s purporting to fight for the rights of the Tablighi Jamaat sect, although it turned to banditry after crossing Uganda’s western border with Congo.

http://www.defenceweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=53768:report-claims-is-funding-for-dr-congo-rebel-group&catid=49:National%20Security&Itemid=115

SPANISH POLICE ARREST ALLEGED LEADER OF DRUG-SMUGGLING GANG CLOSE TO GIBRALTAR

Customs Today on 16th November reported that Spanish police have arrested a man alleged to be one of the biggest drug smugglers operating on the violence-ridden stretch of southern coast close to Gibraltar.  The man has been named by local media as Antonio Tejón, one of the two brothers who head the Castañas gang, which allegedly brings huge quantities of hashish over from Morocco on powerful speedboats.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/spanish-police-arrest-alleged-leader-of-drug-smuggling-gang-3/

 

 

IRAN’S TANKER FLEET GOES OFF GRID POST-SANCTIONS

Hellenic Shipping News on 17th November reported that almost half of Iran’s state-owned oil tankers have stopped broadcasting their geographical positions over the past month, leaving an uncertain picture of the country’s seaborne crude exports after the reintroduction of US sanctions.  At least 25 tankers owned by Iran’s National Iranian Tanker Company have not posted any update of their position by satellite using the Automatic Identification System (AIS) since November 10th.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/irans-tanker-fleet-goes-off-grid-post-sanctions/

MONEYVAL 5th ROUND MUTUAL EVALUATION – ISLE OF MAN PROGRESS REPORT 2018

On 16th November, a news release from the Isle of Man FSA said that, in line with MONEYVAL’s common follow-up rules of procedure, the Isle of Man had to report back to MONEYVAL in July 2018 on the steps taken since the publication of the Mutual Evaluation Report in 2016 to strengthen its AML/CFT framework.  It says that this follow-up report (dated July 2018) has now been published and analyses progress in addressing the technical compliance deficiencies identified in the mutual evaluation report.  The report also looks at whether the Isle of Man has complied with the new requirements of those FATF Recommendations that have changed since 2016.  It quotes MONEYVAL as saying that: Overall, the Isle of Man has made commendable progress in addressing the TC deficiencies identified in its 5th Round MER and has been re-rated on 8 Recommendations (8 upgrades).  It notes that MONEYVAL re-rated the Isle of Man –

  • to “Compliant” with Recommendations 5 (criminalisation of the financing of terrorism), 6 (targeted financial sanctions on the financing of terrorism), 16 (wire transfers), 29 (FIU), 32 (cash couriers) and 33 (statistics); and
  • to “Largely Compliant” with Recommendations 24 (transparency of legal persons) and 35 (sanctions).

As a result, it says, the Isle of Man is assessed as Compliant or Largely Compliant on 38 out of 40 of the FATF Recommendations.  Note that these refer to technical compliance, whereas the “Immediate Outcomes” markings deal with the effectiveness of the compliance and controls.

The revised Technical Compliance markings are now –

iom

The Isle of Man will remain in enhanced follow-up and will continue to report back to MONEYVAL on progress to strengthen its implementation of AML/CFT measures; and is expected to report back to the MONEYVAL Plenary within 1 year.

https://www.iomfsa.im/fsa-news/2018/nov/moneyval-5th-round-mutual-evaluation-progress-report-2018/

DIMITRY RYBOLOVLEVA – RUSSIAN BILLIONAIRE’S MONACO FIEFDOM

Spiegel Online in Germany on 16th November published a feature saying that in 2011, a Russian billionaire set out to rescue the ailing AS Monaco football club.  He invested in top players and invited government, police and justice officials to matches.  He handed out both gifts and jobs.  Then he was arrested for alleged corruption.  The feature provides background on Dmitry Rybolovlev, where he (and his wealth) came from and his involvement in the “Bouvier affair” involving art as a capital investment and the lawsuit from Rybolovlev against Swiss art broker, Yves Bouvier, and his involvement in Cyprus and shenanigans there when he became embroiled in a divorce battle.

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/as-monaco-dmitry-rybolovlev-and-his-influence-in-monaco-a-1238822.html

HEZBOLLAH MONEY LAUNDERING IN GERMANY

The Jerusalem Post on 17th November carried an article saying that “lax” German terror finance policies permitted Hezbollah to run a vast criminal enterprise to raise funds through a money laundering operation in Europe and South America.  French prosecutors have now put 15 members on trial in Paris.  According to German media outlets, 4 of the accused men lived in Germany, and are charged with laundering Columbian narcotics money via a complex finance evasion scheme with the aid of the Lebanese Diaspora.  Using a hawala system, the operation took proceeds from narcotics to Europe, where the money was laundered and collected, and then funnelled to Lebanon and back to Columbia.  It is alleged that the Lebanese network bought with cash jewellery and watches in value from roughly €10 euros in jewellery stores in Germany.

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Hezbollah-money-laundering-has-a-safe-home-in-Germany-572122