3rd December 2018
EU BORDER AND COAST GUARD AGENCY, FRONTEX, OPENS FIRST “RISK ANALYSIS CELL” IN NIGER
On 29th November, Homeland Security Today reported that Frontex, the EU’s Border and Coast Guard Agency, has opened the first “Risk Analysis Cell” in Niamey in co-operation with authorities in Niger. The cells, which are run by local analysts trained by Frontex, is to collect and analyse strategic data on cross-border crime in various African countries and support relevant authorities involved in border management. This data includes information on illegal border crossings, document fraud, trafficking in human beings and other types of cross-border crime. It is shared with authorities at national and regional level to produce analysis and policy recommendations, as well as with Frontex. It is the first of 8 such cells that was established in the framework of the Africa-Frontex Intelligence Community (AFIC) – the others to be in Ghana, Gambia, Senegal, Kenya, Nigeria, Guinea and Mali over the next 12 months.
TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION COULD DO MORE TO ASSESS EFFECTIVENESS OF US-BOUND AIR CARGO SECURITY MEASURES
Homeland Security Today on 29th November reported that US Congressional watchdog, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that the introduction of explosive devices in air cargo shipments is a significant threat, according to the TSA. The GAO was asked to evaluate TSA’s progress in assessing and mitigating air cargo security risks, and its report addresses the steps TSA takes to help ensure that US-bound air cargo is secure, the status of TSA’s efforts to recognise and monitor foreign governments’ air cargo security programmes, and the extent to which TSA measures effectiveness of its efforts to secure US-bound air cargo.
The report is available at –
4th December 2018
55 TONS OF LIBYAN GOLD SMUGGLED TO UAE
The Libya Observer on 3rd December reported that Official records have revealed that 50 to 55 tons of Libyan gold – worth $3 billion – had been smuggled to the UAE in recent years (said to be after 2011), according to the database of foreign commerce authority of the planning ministry of the Presidential Council’s government.
JAPAN: CRIMINAL ACTION AGAINST SMUGGLING OF WAGYU BEEF CATTLE EGGS
NHK on 4th December reported that Japan’s agriculture minister has revealed that the government plans to file a criminal complaint against a man who tried to illegally take fertilised eggs of premium wagyu beef cattle from Japan to China. The export of such eggs is prohibited under the domestic animal infectious diseases control Act. The man attempted to take a container filled with the eggs to China, but was unable to pass customs there and returned to Japan, and the eggs were confiscated at Japanese customs.
US: 3 ARRESTED IN SUSPECTED RECYCLING SMUGGLING RING THAT NETTED $16.1 MILLION
UPI on 3rd December reported that 3 men have been arrested in California in a recycling smuggling ring that netted an estimated $16.1 million. A a 5-month investigation found that for 3 years they smuggled recycled beverage containers into the state, where there is a 5c to 10c return on eligible beverage containers.
SINGAPORE RELEASES UPDATED ICO GUIDE
Coinspeaker on 3rd December reported that the updated guide clarifies the Singapore central bank’s stance on how certain intermediaries should observe the rules determined by AML/CFT policies – according to the regulator, MAS, any participant somehow involved in the ICO- -related activity is an intermediary.. In November, MAS introduced a new Payment Services Bill (PSB) in the Singaporean Parliament. The Bill brought digital currency under the laws for domestic and international money transfers and foreign exchange transactions.
CHALLENGING JUDGMENTS ALLEGEDLY OBTAINED BY FRAUD
On 4th December, RPC published an article saying that there are established ways to challenge a judgment obtained by fraud, and in the case of Terry v BCS Corporate Acceptances Ltd the defendant’s attempt to follow a different course was misguided. The Court of Appeal judgment provides useful practical guidance for practitioners considering challenging a judgment believed to have been obtained by fraud, and helpfully clarifies the limited application of Summers. The established pathways for challenging a judgment believed to have been obtained by fraud cannot be circumvented by seeking to rely on the more general provisions in the Civil Procedure Rules.
REVIEW OF THE IRISH TAX APPEALS COMMISSION
On 27th November, Mason Hayes & Curran published an article saying that the Irish tax appeals system was significantly reformed in 2016, and a new tax appeals regime came into operation with the establishment of a new independent Tax Appeals Commission. An independent review of the staffing structure, governance and operation structure of the TAC was commissioned by the Minster for Finance earlier this year, and this was published on 9th October. The article says that it is hoped that the implementation of the recommendations set out in the Report and the amendments in Finance Bill 2018 will assist in a gradual improvement in the flow of cases.
SWEDEN PLANS CASHLESS FUTURE WITH E-KRONA
On 5th November, Hogan Lovells published an article saying that Sweden is planning to develop a new electronic currency, the e-krona, as cash becomes increasingly marginalised in the country, with a recent report being published.
A POCKET GUIDE TO DAC 6: THE MANDATORY EU DISCLOSURE REGIME APPLICABLE TO TAX INTERMEDIARIES
On 30th November, ATOZ Tax Advisers published an article saying that in May, the ECOFIN Council adopted the 6th Directive on Administrative Cooperation (DAC6) which requires so-called tax intermediaries to report certain “cross-border arrangements” that contain at least one of the hallmarks (characteristics or features of cross-border arrangements) defined in the Directive. It requires Member States to introduce, in their national law, mandatory disclosure rules for cross-border arrangements.
CAMBODIA EASES PRESSURE ON OPPOSITION AND MEDIA AFTER EU SANCTIONS THREAT
EurActiv on 4th December reported that Cambodia’s parliament is reviewing a 5-year ban on more than 100 members of the main opposition party, which could allow them to return to politics, following threats by the EU to deny duty-free trading access to the SE Asian nation.
OVER 280 JAILED IN CHINA’S MASSIVE TELECOM FRAUD TRIAL
Bernama on 4th December reported that courts in China have jailed 282 members of a massive telecom fraud network that swindled $22 million out of its victims, with the gang operating in Guangdong Province, as well as in Indonesia and Fiji, luring victims to a fake platform for purchasing lottery tickets.
TAIWAN ISSUES WARRANT FOR FORMER KMT LEGISLATOR
Taiwan News on 4th December reported that former Kuomintang legislator Lee Ching-hua, 70, a son of late Premier Lee Huan failed to appear at court hearings about allegations of corruption against him and the New Taipei District Court issued a warrant for his arrest.
DIAMOND SMUGGLING SCANDAL SPOTLIGHTS SHADOWY ISRAELI TYCOON
AP on 4th December published an article about Lev Leviev, a billionaire who made his fortune in diamonds, and saying his empire is in jeopardy following a smuggling scandal and the mysterious death of an employee.
OVER 1,500 MONEY MULES IDENTIFIED IN WORLDWIDE MONEY LAUNDERING STING
A Europol news release on 4th December reported that, working together with Europol, Eurojust and the European Banking Federation (EBF), police forces from over 20 States arrested 168 people (so far) as part of a co-ordinated money laundering crackdown, the European Money Mules Action (EMMA). This international swoop, the fourth of its kind, was intended to tackle the issue of ‘money mules’, who help criminals launder millions of euros worth of dirty money. Across Europe and beyond, 1,504 money mules were identified, leading to the arrest of 168, and 140 money mule organisers. 837 criminal investigations were opened, many of them are still ongoing. More than 300 banks, 20 bank associations and other financial institutions helped to report 26,376 fraudulent money mule transactions, preventing a total loss of €36,1 million.
PREVENTING DIRTY BOMB TERRORISM: NEW REPORT HIGHLIGHTS CENTRAL ASIAN REPUBLICS’ COMMITMENT TO PREVENTING RADIOLOGICAL RISKS
On 3rd December, Nuclear Threat Initiative published a report on the joint effort by NTI and the Center for Energy and Security Studies (CENESS) to improve regional co-ordination on the security of radioactive sources and to prevent illicit trafficking of radioactive sources in Central Asia. It says that sustained regional dialogue between all relevant stakeholders — including regulatory, customs, border security, and energy authorities, as well as international partners — is needed to effectively address the challenge of radioactive source security in Central Asia. Work began with a regional workshop in 2017 which focused on 2 thematic areas: strengthening efforts to secure (and when possible, eliminate or replace) radioactive sources; and preventing illicit trafficking of these sources in the event they escape regulatory control. It says that terrorists cannot build an RDD (dirty bomb) unless they acquire the necessary materials to do so. It is therefore important to effectively secure all high-activity radiological sources. While only a limited number of countries maintain stockpiles of fissile material suitable for nuclear weapons—highly enriched uranium (HEU) and separated plutonium—radioactive materials are routinely stored and used throughout the world. Today, tens of thousands of radiological sources are located in more than 100 countries around the world. Unlike a nuclear weapon, a dirty bomb would not cause catastrophic levels of death and injury, but depending on its chemistry, form, and location, it could leave billions of dollars of damage due to the costs of evacuation, relocation, and clean-up—and the inevitable follow-on threats could have severe economic and psychological repercussions.
COLOMBIA SEES BOOMING MARKET FOR SYNTHETIC DRUGS AT HOME AND ABROAD
Insight Crime on 3rd December reported that Colombia authorities have dismantled a network of traffickers who hid the synthetic drug ketamine inside superhero figurines on their way to the US, China, and other countries. The ketamine bust, one of a string of busts of its kind in Colombia, underscores the extent to which the market for synthetic drugs is booming, both at home and abroad. South America first saw in 2013 the wide-scale appearance of this class of drugs, which include MDMA, LSD, ketamine, methamphetamines, and ever-changing compounds, such as 2-CB, synthetic cannabinoids, bath salts, and poppers; but have seen a jump in users in Chile and Colombia.
FORMER DOMINICAN REPUBLIC BANK OWNER JAILED OVER BILLION-DOLLAR MONEY LAUNDERING SCAM
KYC 360 reported on 4th December that Gabriel Arturo Jimenez Aray, 50, a Venezuelan citizen residing in the US, and a former owner of Banco Peravia bank in the Dominican Republic has been sentenced to 3 years in prison for his role in a billion-dollar money laundering scheme involving currency exchange and Venezuela.
FORMAL INVESTIGATION INTO WHETHER FACIAL RECOGNITION TECHNOLOGY CAN BE TRUSTED
On 4th December, Police Professional reported that the UK Information Commissioner has launched a formal investigation into the deployment of facial recognition technology by police forces. The ICO opened an inquiry in to the legality and effectiveness of police deployment of the technology at the Notting Hill Carnival and at football events in South Wales. The Home Office has established a Law Enforcement Facial Images Oversight Board, which a member of the ICO will sit on.
CALL FOR ACTION OVER SPANISH POLITICIANS USED TO “LAUNDER” AZERBAIJAN’S REPUTATION
Transparency International on 31st October published an article following on from the 2017 OCCRP report on the $2.5 million Azerbaijan “Laundromat” slush fund and money laundering by the ruling elite. It names 3 Spanish politicians among the delegates to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) suspected of benefiting from the Laundromat. In return, they allegedly watered down the human rights body’s criticism of events in Azerbaijan under the country’s repressive authoritarian regime, including vote-rigging in the country’s 2015 election. In 2018, the Council imposed varying bans from holding posts with the organisation. The Council has now called upon national authorities to follow up on the evidence and launch criminal investigations into all those implicated. None of these 3 Spanish politicians have faced any criminal consequences in Spain, and it says that there is no sign that the Spanish authorities have opened an investigation into whether the documented ethical breaches were made in exchange for a bribe.
HOUSE OF COMMONS SELECT COMMITTEE TO EXAMINE THE FUTURE OF THE UK OVERSEAS TERRITORIES
On 5th December, the Foreign Affairs Committee to hold an evidence session looking into the relationship between the UK and the Overseas Territories as part of its inquiry looking into the future of the Territories in relation to the FCO. 2 panels will look at the specific circumstances of each individual Territory, at the issues that affect the Overseas Territories as a whole, and at the health of UK/OT relations in general. This will be the first time in more than a decade that the elected leaders and representatives of so many OT will have appeared before the Foreign Affairs Committee.
BIMCO PROPOSING CYBER SECURITY CLAUSE FOR SHIPPING CONTRACTS
Loadstar on 4th December reported that BIMCO, the world’s largest shipping association, is finalising a cyber security clause for charter party agreements and other contracts, following a spate of high-profile cyber attacks on Maersk, Cosco and shipbroker Clarksons. The clause will require parties to the contract to have “plans and procedures in place to protect its computer systems and data, and to be able to respond quickly and efficiently to a cyber incident”. the cyber clause was designed for use in a broad range of contracts, which means it can also cover arrangements with service providers, such as brokers and agents.
EU COUNCIL ADOPTS SHORT-TERM FIXES TO CURRENT EU VAT SYSTEM
A news release on 4th December reported that the EU Council had adopted 3 short legislative acts aimed at adjusting some of the EU’s VAT rules in order to fix four specific issues pending the introduction of a new VAT system. Included is the requirement that to benefit from VAT-exemption for an intra-EU supply of goods, the identification number of the customer will become an additional condition; and a common framework is established for the documentary evidence required to claim a VAT exemption for intra-EU supplies. The changes will take effect from 1st January 2020.
SCOTLAND: GANG CONVICTED OF MONEY LAUNDERING AND FRAUD OPERATION
STV on 4th December reported that 4 men have been jailed in Edinburgh for a total of 19 years and 8 months after being found guilty of ‘highly sophisticated’ organised crime offences including money laundering and fraud. Profits included money obtained by hacking and malware attacks, as well as trafficking fellow Latvians.
UK “TAX HAVEN COLONIES” ENABLED £250 BILLION IN CRIMES
The Herald in Scotland on 4th December published an article saying that Transparency International took a deep dive in to 237 financial crimes – and found they had been facilitated by 1,107 corporate entities formally headquartered in UK overseas territories, enabling global economic crimes worth £250 billion. Transparency said that 92% of the shell firms it uncovered enabling economic crimes were from the BVI.
IRELAND: SETTLEMENTS TOTALLING €13 MILLION REVEALED IN LATEST REVENUE TAX DEFAULTERS LIST
The Irish Examiner on 4th December reported on the latest tax defaulters list from the Revenue Commissioners. In the details are – 28 cases of misuse of marked mineral oil, in respect of which Court fines of between €5,000 and €2,500 were imposed; settlements in 65 cases in the list are valued at €12,950,935.75; in 18 cases settlement was not fully paid as at 30th September, with €3,404,274.29 unpaid in these cases.
ROSCOMMON COUNCIL APPEARS ON TAX DEFAULTERS LIST OVER €456,000 VAT BILL
REVENUE PUBLISHES LIST OF TAX DEFAULTERS INCLUDING PLASTERER WHO OWED ALMOST €2 MILLION
€1 MILLION IN UNPAID WAGES SECURED FOR CREW OF ‘INDIAN EMPRESS’
Superyacht News on 4th December reported that the maritime union Nautilus has finally concluded a long battle to secure almost €1 million in unpaid wages for the crew members of superyacht M/Y Indian Empress, which was abandoned by its owner over a year ago and was arrested in Malta in March – having formerly been owned by Indian businessman, Vijay Mallya (currently fighting extradition from the UK). The vessel was sold in a private sale to the company Sea Beauty Yachting for €35 million in September, after the first sale fell through.
SICILY: POLICE NAB TOP MAFIA BOSS, 80, AND 45 HENCHMEN
OCCRP on 4th December reported that the Carabinieri had descended upon Palermo at the break of dawn to arrest the alleged leader of Sicily’s notorious Mafia, also known as the Cosa Nostra. Along with 45 other alleged Mafiosi, Settimino Mineo, 80, (supposedly a jeweller) is facing charges of Mafia association, aggravated extortion, asset fraud, malicious damage by fire, and the unauthorised carrying of weapons.
UK: PLANNED CHANGES TO THE GOVERNANCE AND REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR LIMITED PARTNERSHIPS WILL IMPACT ON ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENT FUNDS
An article from Out-Law on 4th December reports that planned changes to the governance and registration requirements for limited partnerships will impact on alternative investment funds, experts have said. New legislation will be published in 2019 requiring limited partnerships to be registered by an “official supervised agent”, maintain “a link to the UK” and update information held about them by Companies House annually. The article says that they are frequently used by alternative investment funds due to their perceived flexible nature and tax characteristics.
KEY ACCUSED IN AGUSTA WESTLAND HELICOPTER BRIBERY CASE EXTRADITED TO INDIA FROM DUBAI
Reuters reported on 4th December that, Christian Michel, a key accused and alleged middleman in India’s abortive, scandal-tainted helicopter deal with Anglo-Italian firm Agusta Westland was extradited to India from Dubai. It is alleged that Michel, who was a consultant to Agusta at the time, paid bribes to senior Indian government officials to secure the deal for Agusta in 2010.