14th December 2018
NO END IN SIGHT FOR THE AL-SHABAAB THREAT TO SOMALIA
The December issue of CTC Sentinel carried an article which says that there has been no turning point in the fight against al-Shabaab. The Somali group, affiliated with al-Qaida, has not been weakened in the past year as a terrorist force. Even though airstrikes have killed hundreds of al-Shabaab fighters, the group still has significant capability to carry out terrorist attacks. One reason the article gives is the group’s ability to finance its fighters. According to UN monitors, the group’s taxation system has grown in sophistication and reach to the point where al-Shabaab is now likely running a budget surplus. It has a highly effective domestic fund-raising system. UN monitors stated the situation plainly in their November 2018 report, explaining their investigation found “the militant group generates more than enough revenue to sustain its insurgency”. It uses road checkpoints, and employing “mafia-style” tactics of violence and intimidation where needed, as a shadow government even in areas it does not directly control, collecting taxes on agricultural produce, livestock sales, charcoal exports, goods in transport, and vehicles using the roads. The UN says that the group’s system is more organised than those of the federal government. It is said that a single road checkpoint generates $30,000 per day for the al-Shabaab coffers, or about $10 million per year.
TRANSNATIONAL JIHADI LOGISTICAL NETWORK AND CROSS-BORDER FOREIGN FIGHTER RECRUITMENT NETWORKS IN THE US AND EUROPE, AND THE POTENTIAL THREAT THEY POSE
Another article in the December 2018 edition of the CTC Sentinel carries an article which says that the recent guilty plea in the criminal case against Aws Mohammed Younis al-Jayab, a resident of Arizona, Wisconsin, and California, makes public previously undisclosed information about a transnational jihadi logistical network with members located in Switzerland, Syria, Turkey, and the US. He is amongst the rare few who returned to the US after fighting for a jihadi organization in Iraq or Syria. The disclosures in related criminal cases in Chicago, San Francisco, and Switzerland shed new light on cross-border foreign fighter recruitment networks in the US and Europe, and the potential threat they pose.
15th December 2018
PLANS TO STRENGTHEN PROTECTIONS FOR BRITAIN’S MOST VALUABLE TREASURES AT RISK OF EXPORT
A news release from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on 15th December said that plans would strengthen the export deferral rules and give UK museums and buyers a greater opportunity to keep important artworks and artefacts in the country. A new public consultation proposes a formal, legally binding agreement with private sellers, instead of the current ‘gentleman’s agreement’, and give museums and buyers in the UK first refusal on acquisitions. It would mark the first significant change to the system in over 65 years. The news release explains that, until 1939, the UK had no legal controls on the export of works of art, books, manuscripts and other antiques. The outbreak of the Second World War made it necessary to impose controls on exports generally in order to conserve national resources. Items that are being sold abroad are assessed at the point of application for an export licence by the Reviewing Committee on the Export of Works of Art and Objects of Cultural Interest, which establishes whether it meets the ‘Waverley criteria’ to be regarded as a national treasure. The public consultation ends on 24th February.
JAPANESE BOAT OWNERS CHARGED IN HAWAII WITH HELPING SMUGGLE NEARLY 1,000 SHARK FINS
The Japan Times on 15th December reported that prosecutors in Hawaii are accusing the owners and officers of a Japanese fishing boat of helping Indonesian fishermen smuggle nearly 1,000 shark fins, worth about $58,000 on the black market.
SEC ENFORCES ITS “IDENTITY THEFT RED FLAGS RULE” AND PUNISHES FIRM FOR ALLEGEDLY LACKLUSTRE DATA SECURITY PRACTICES
An article from the New York University Program on Corporate Compliance and Enforcement says that a little-noticed consent decree entered into by the SEC earlier this year should be setting off alarm bells for financial firms and their boards of directors. The SEC charged that hackers were able to access sensitive client information called out the company’s board of directors for failing to “administer and oversee” compliance with the rule. The article explains that the SEC adopted the red flags rule 5 years ago, and it requires investment firms to pay attention to identity theft by developing and implementing a written programme to “detect, prevent and mitigate” identity theft and fraud, and to provide “red flags” or other warning signs when hackers might be trying to steal customer information or customer identities. The rule also requires that a firm’s board of directors or senior leadership administer the programme. However, until recently, the SEC did not enforce the rule.
LUXEMBOURG: NEW MANDATORY REGISTER OF BENEFICIARIES SPARKS CONTROVERSY
RTL on 14th December reported that the coalition government is set to pass a new draft law to facilitate the fight against money laundering but, in parliament, a new mandatory register of true beneficiaries sparked controversy.
RUSSIAN TYCOON IN DIVORCE SETTLEMENT LOSES ISLE OF MAN-REGISTERED HELICOPTER
The Khaleej Times on 15th December reported that a Russian tycoon, Farkhad Akhmedov, whose superyacht is under arrest in Dubai over a divorce settlement case, has lost his helicopter as part of the settlement. The helicopter, which used to be engaged in regular shift work travelling to and from the superyacht MV Luna was sold in the Isle of Man – having been seized in Turkey. The helicopter was formerly owned by Lucy Ltd, a Manx company controlled by Akhmedov. In 2016, a UK court awarded his wife £453 million plus interest as part of a divorce settlement, and enforcement arrangements have ever since been made to track down all his assets, including a private jet and a motor vessel.
BRAZIL’S LULA DA SILVA REJECTS NEW MONEY LAUNDERING ACCUSATIONS
Telesur on 14th December reported that Brazilian prosecutors have filed a new lawsuit against ex-President Lula da Silva, this time accusing him of money laundering involving businesses with Equatorial Guinea. Prosecutors claim that in 2011-12, businessman Rodolfo Giannetti Geo asked Lula to convince President Teodoro Obiang to help the Brazilian ARG Group get a contract in the African country, making use of his “international prestige” even though he wasn’t in office anymore. In exchange, the company donated more than $255,000 to the Lula Institute. It notes that Giannetti is also being investigated for money laundering and influence peddling in international businesses.
TAX EVASION CASE AGAINST SAMOA CHURCH MINISTERS ADJOURNED TO 2019
Radio New Zealand on 15th December reported that the first hearing of a tax-evasion case against church ministers of the Congregational Christian Church of Samoa has been adjourned until February 5th to allow counsel to take instructions. The case is the first under new laws introduced this year that requires church ministers to pay tax on donations received from their congregation.
EU COURT REJECTS APPEAL BY HAMAS AGAINST ASSET FREEZE SANCTIONS LABELLING IT A TERRORIST ORGANISATION
On 14th December, a news release from the CJEU announced that the General Court had dismissed the action brought by Hamas against the decisions to maintain the freezing of its funds as an entity involved in acts of terrorism.
ISLE OF MAN: DORMANT ASSETS BILL
This Bill would provide for the establishment of a fund into which the balances of certain dormant assets may be transferred; and for the distribution of money in that fund for charitable and other purposes, subject to a right to reclaim those balances from the fund.
HOW CURTIS WARREN TAUGHT THE LIVERPOOL MAFIA TO THINK GLOBAL AND TAKE ON THE WORLD
On 15th December, the Liverpool Echo published an article saying that the local crime boss taught Liverpool criminals to think on an international scale – by befriending the Colombian cartels seen in the recent hit Netflix drama Narcos. He has been linked to international drug deals worth hundreds of millions of pounds over the decades. In 2013 Warren was hit with another 10-year sentence after declining to pay a £198 million confiscation order to the authorities. A recent book, “Drug War The Secret History”, charts the emergence of the UK’s first drug importers, and ascent of men like Curtis Warren.
HISTORY OF US-NORTH KOREA RELATIONS
On 14th December, 38 North published the first part of a 2-part history of the troubled relationship between the two countries, at least since the 1991 announcement by President George HW Bush of the removal of all US nuclear weapons from Korea.