26th November 2018
WINE AUSTRALIA CANCELS COMPANY’S EXPORT LICENCE
The Shout in Australia reported on 26th November that Wine Australia has cancelled the export licence held by Mayfield Family Wines Pty Ltd, following an investigation into the company, saying that did not keep proper records and sold wine to another party, incorrectly claiming its origin, with the wine being subsequently exported to Europe by another party. Wine cannot be exported from Australia without an export licence issued by Wine Australia, which has the power to suspend or cancel licences when necessary.
LIVERPOOL DRUG SMUGGLER LINKED TO CURTIS WARREN HAS SENTENCE CONFIRMED IN SPAIN
The Liverpool Echo on 25th November reported that Brian Charrington, a former car dealer who was linked to infamous Liverpool criminal Curtis Warren in the 1990s has had his 15½ years jail sentence in Spain for drug offences confirmed following a trial in May. He had been found guilty of a plot to import nearly 200 kg of cocaine into Spain from South America, and was also ordered by the court to pay more than £27 million.
MALDIVES FIU: MAIN FOCUS IN 2017 WAS COUNTER-TERRORISM FUNDING INVESTIGATIONS
On 26th November, The Edition in the Maldives carried an article on the annual report of the Maldives Monetary Authority FIU. It says that, during 2017, the FIU had analysed 13 financial transactions possibly linked to crime, of which 54% were suspected direct counter-terrorism funding investigations, while a further 23% concerned transactions taking place between known international hotspots for terrorism funding or laundering money. The article says that this proves that there have been considerable efforts by Maldivians to enter the war-racked nation of Syria via its neighbouring Turkey.
CORRESPONDENT BANKS IN CROSSHAIRS AS DANSKE CASE RAISES ALARM
Bloomberg Quint on 26th November reported that the Danish regulator of Danske Bank A/S is telling lenders to be more selective when choosing correspondent banks, and that from now on the regulator will require banks to be “more alert” in ensuring that their correspondent bank “has systems in place to counter money laundering and terror financing”.
IRELAND SECOND ONLY TO GERMANY FOR MEDICAL DEVICE EXPORTS – BUT SEVERAL COMPANIES HAVE BEEN IMPLICATED IN BRIBERY AND OTHER SCANDALS
On 25th November, the Irish Times carried an article saying that medical devices make up almost 10% of all Irish exports and Ireland comes second only after Germany as the largest European exporter of medical devices. Total employment, in indigenous and multinational businesses, is 38,000. For example, it says, 4 out of 5 of stents used worldwide are produced in Ireland. However, it says that the industry and its regulatory framework have come in for scrutiny after several companies – including some with significant Irish operations – made multimillion-dollar settlements in the US arising from investigations into bribery and scandals linked to the promotion of their products. It provides details of several such cases. One example from 2011 involved orthopaedic products sold at significant discounts to an Isle of Man intermediary in order to produce profits that could then be used for bribing the Greek doctors for implanting the devices into their patients – this involving Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, DePuy, which has operations in Ireland.
RUSSIA CLOSES KERCH STRAIT AND CUTS OFF ACCESS TO UKRAINE PORT OF MARIUPOL
CNN, Reuters and others on 26th November reported that, after a clash involving vessels in the Strait, Russia had closed off access to the Sea of Azov that lies between Crimea and Russia. Video from the scene showed a tanker blocking the waters under the newly-opened bridge across the Strait. Ukraine and the US have been accusing Russia of interfering with international shipping in and out of the Kerch Strait for months.
BILL ON FREE ZONES IN MALTA PUBLISHED
On 23rd November, Ganado Advocates published a short article saying that the Malta Free Zones Act 2018 was published on the 16th November. The Bill would provide a regulatory framework for the administration of the affairs of free zones in Malta, and the regulation of undertakings authorised to carry on activities in a free zone. It will also seek to establish a Free Zones Authority which will be tasked with, inter alia, administering the affairs of each free zone, and authorising and regulating undertakings which will be carrying out activities within free zones.
The Bill is at –
HOME OFFICE ANNUAL REPORT ON MODERN SLAVERY
On 22nd November, Rosling King LLP published an article saying that there were 3,337 modern slavery offences recorded by police in England and Wales the year to March 2018, a 49% increase on the previous year. Prosecutions under the Modern Slavery Act more than doubled in 2017 to 130 defendants. It mentions that businesses with a turnover of more than £36 million must publish annual transparency statements setting out what they are doing to stop modern slavery and forced labour practices occurring in their business and supply chains. However, it is estimated that 60% of those companies who should publish a statement have done so, some of which are of poor quality or fail to meet the basic legal requirements.
HMRC BEGINS ROLL OUT OF NEW CUSTOMS DECLARATION SERVICE (CDS)
On 19th November, the British Exporters Association reported that on the roll-out by HMRC from August of the new CDS, which will replace the existing CHIEF system of declaring imports and exports.
For more information and updates on CDS, see –
INVESTMENT SCREENING AND IMPLICATIONS FOR EU-CHINA INVESTMENT RELATIONS
The European Centre for International Political Economy has published a report based on stakeholder opinions expressed during this discussion with stakeholders on the threats and opportunities of Chinese investments in European technology and European investments in China in September 2018, as well as subsequent stakeholder consultations conducted by the authors. It is concerned with the EU investment screening framework and the ongoing negotiations of the EU-China investment agreement.
INDIA: JEWELLERS FIND IT HARD TO EXPORT AS BANK FRAUD SQUEEZES CREDIT
The Economic Times on 26th November reported that tighter lending may force buyers to shift purchases to rivals in China and Thailand, following the PNB Bank fraud earlier this year. Companies polishing and trading diamonds depend on short-term finance to purchase rough stones, the sale of which when finished pay off the loan.
IRELAND: CHARITIES LOSE OUT AS COURT SEIZES DISGRACED IRISH BUSINESSMAN’S SWISS BANK ACCOUNTS
The Irish Independent on 26th November reported that charities who lost €3.8 million to an Irish businessman’s embezzlement will get nothing from his Swiss accounts, as accounts has been confiscated to cover the costs of Peter Conlon’s criminal trial in Zurich. Ammado, the online fundraising platform run by Conlon collapsed this year and it emerged that funds donated through it were not paid to the charities. The Irish High Court issued a world-wide freezing order against Conlon’s assets, but he had already been detained in Switzerland.
NORTH KOREA DROPS PLAN FOR BORDER CASINO AFTER CHINESE PRESSURE
Calvin Ayre on 26th November reported that a plan by North Korea to build a casino close to the border with China has been dropped after China convinced North Korea that the idea was a bad one. China doesn’t permit gambling, except for 2 lotteries operated by the state.
MORTGAGE FRAUDSTER ALLOWED TO SUE SOLICITORS
Walker Morris, solicitors, published an article on 22nd November saying that the Court of Appeal has allowed a claim against negligent solicitors, despite the fact that the claimant had committed mortgage fraud. In so doing, the Court of Appeal has provided important guidance on the application of the ‘illegality defence’ (i.e. the principle that the court will not assist a claimant whose cause of action is based on an illegal act): Stoffel & Co v Grondona.
EU GAMBLING REPORT STANDARDISATION PROJECT
iGB reported on 23rd November that Belgian Gaming Commission (BGC) adviser Peter Naessens has been selected to lead a project to create a standard reporting framework for gambling in all EU Member States. The project aims to develop a uniform set of reporting protocols for all licensed operators. It is intended to ensure regulators can gather data that ensures a high level of consumer protection and operational transparency, keep gambling fair, as well as helping with the detection and prevention of fraud and betting-related match-fixing.
See also –
AFRICA: WEAK LAWS MAKE TACKLING ORGANISED CRIME HARDER
On 8th November, ENACT Africa published an article which says that Africa has no shortage of organised crime laws, but most don’t meet international standards. It says that the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) provides a global framework for what countries’ organised crime laws should look like. Despite its shortcomings, the UNTOC does provide a starting point for states to translate their international commitments into national contexts. One key feature of the convention is its emphasis on international co-operation. At the time the UNTOC came into force, organised crime was not high on the list of priorities for Africa, and African states played a limited role in the finalisation of the convention. Today, however, the UNTOC has been ratified by the majority of African states (52 out of 54 countries – Somalia and South Sudan being the 2 outstanding states). Even if African countries were to amend their laws to meet UNTOC definitions, the article says that this would this mean that the continent has taken care of its organised crime problem? Clearly not. Legislative incorporation is just a small step towards the implementation of effective responses to organised crime. Nevertheless, it’s a step in the right direction, towards a more unified legislative framework.
UAE URGES BRAZIL TO REMOVE IT FROM ‘TAX HAVEN’ LIST
Arabian Business on 26th November reported that the UAE is willing to expand its multibillion-dollar investments in Brazil as long as it’s no longer labelled a tax haven by Brazil. Countries considered as tax havens are also subject to higher levies and stricter compliance rules, though the UAE fund Mubadala, while not the country’s largest, already manages $2 billion in Brazil, including investments in ports and telecommunications.
HMRC UPDATED GUIDANCE ON TAX INFORMATION EXCHANGE AGREEMENTS TO REMOVE REFERENCES TO EU DIRECTIVE ON TAXATION OF SAVINGS
On 26th November, Accountancy Daily reported that HMRC has updated guidance on TIEA to remove references to the EU Directive on taxation of savings, which is no longer in effect. TIEA are bilateral agreements under which territories agree to co-operate in tax matters through exchange of information. They enable governments to enforce their domestic tax laws by exchanging information relevant to a tax matter covered by the arrangements, and are based on an OECD model.
IRELAND: THE INTERNATIONAL COMPARATIVE LEGAL GUIDE TO GAMBLING 2019
On 26th November, law firm Matheson published the Ireland chapter from The International Comparative Legal Guide to Gambling 2019, described as a practical cross-border insight into gambling law.
TAXATION ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE REQUIREMENTS IN THE CROWN DEPENDENCIES
On 26th November, Appleby published an article saying that the Crown Dependencies have published draft legislation that will require resident companies carrying on certain activities to have “adequate substance” in their jurisdictions. This will require most affected companies to be managed and directed, and to have adequate employees, expenditure and physical presence, in the jurisdiction and to conduct their core activities there. This note sets out to analyse some of the main provisions by answering the key questions that Appleby expects clients to have on the new legislation.
MONEY LAUNDERING: THE EX-HSBC BANKER, GO-FAST LIMOUSINES AND BAGS OF DIRTY CASH
On 20th November, KYC 360 published an article which it says tells a tale of drug money laundering spanning from the crowded streets of Casablanca to the pristine shores of Lac Leman, Geneva, has finally come to its conclusion in the courts in Paris – and an epilogue yet to play out in French prison. Included is a Swiss firm, GPF SA, said in the light of the Panama Papers to ‘give the appearance of legality to funds which we knew had illegal origins’ and Meyer El Maleh and his brothers, Nessim and Mardoche. There is tax fraud and connections between El Maleh and his brothers to cannabis trafficking from Morocco.
MARITIME PIRACY: COSTS NIGERIA $2.74 BILLION IN 4 YEARS
Hellenic Shipping News on 26th November reported that piracy attacks in the Nigerian maritime domain are taking alarming toll on shipping in Nigeria’s territorial waters and the Gulf of Guinea. $2.74 billion was paid by the country in the past 4 years as insurance surcharges and other sundry surcharges imposed on Nigerian shipments simply because the country’s territorial waters is not safe for navigation. This year alone, freight costs have reportedly risen 6 times, and statistics from the IMO shows that, in the first 4 months of 2018, the number of incidents significantly increased in the region, 36 against 17 the same period in 2017. The article calls for deployment of vessels, especially the much-reported Danish fast armoured boats.
US IRAN SANCTIONS ARE HERE: BREAKING DOWN WHAT THIS MEANS FOR BUSINESS
On 26th November, law firm Akin Gump published a comprehensive briefing summarising the position under the full re-imposition of US sanctions (and new and re-enacted OFAC designations) from 5th November.
50 YEARS OF REVIEW OF MARITIME TRANSPORT, 1968-2018: REFLECTING ON THE PAST, EXPLORING THE FUTURE
The UN Conference on Trade & Development (UNCATD) publishes the annual Review of Maritime Transport. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, UNCATD has produced a freely downloadable pdf edition which looks back over the 50 years of the journal, contains expert articles on current topics and looks at changing times, and what might be expected in an uncertain future.
UK’S ROLE IN PAKISTAN’S FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION
An article from RUSI on 26th November says that the UK is integral to the anti-corruption effort of Pakistan’s new government, and London would be well-advised to help Pakistan achieve its objectives. It says that whilst corruption, tax evasion and weaknesses in national financial crime controls are issues that Pakistan itself must address, other countries – none more so than the UK – have an important role to play in helping Imran Khan achieve his objectives. Whilst the UK National Risk Assessment does note the combined exposure the UK and Pakistan had to money laundering, given the considerable remittance and business links that exist between the 2 countries, the article says that the Panama Papers highlighted the role of the UK in attracting and hiding illicit finance (primarily the proceeds of corruption and tax evasion) from Pakistan – so that the risk and value of the co-operation is a two-way street. It is said that expectations of how the UK will assist the Khan government’s anti-corruption mission are high, and the UK authorities encourage these hopes.
INCREASING CHAD BASIN TERRORISM RISKS TO FOREIGNERS
Janes.com on 26th November reported that 7 local employees of French mineral and water drilling firm Foraco and an official from Niger’s hydraulics and sanitation ministry were shot dead on 22nd November when unidentified attackers opened fire on their compound at Toumour, in Niger’s south-eastern region of Diffa. It says that this attack against a French company suggests jihadist link-up, increasing Chad Basin terrorism risks to foreigners.