OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 31

31st January 2019

SARASOTA BUSINESSMAN IN EXPORT LICENCE VIOLATIONS PLEA AGREEMENT

The Business Observer reported that Satasota businessman and entrepreneur Eric Baird, after a years-long federal investigation into 166 administrative violations of US export control laws, has been placed on probation for 2 years under a plea agreement.  The settlement included a $10 million fine, which Baird paid and a 5-year denial of export privileges, of which 1 year is suspended.  His company provided foreign customers with a US address that they used to acquire US-origin items for export without alerting US merchants of the items’ intended destinations.

https://www.businessobserverfl.com/article/entrepreneur-pays-dollar10-million-fine-closes-federal-case

https://www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl/pr/former-florida-ceo-pleads-guilty-export-violations-and-agrees-pay-record-17-million

US FIREARM EXPORTS AREN’T BEING DECONTROLLED

An article in Forbes magazine on 30th January says that the government decided that there were too many commonplace items on the US Munitions List (USML), which — under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) — defines what qualifies as a defence export – with a licence for the export of a rifle to the UK had to undergo the same kind of scrutiny as the export of a tank to Saudi Arabia.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/tedbromund/2019/01/30/no-firearm-exports-arent-being-decontrolled/#6ac0f5d36c0c

UKRAINE: SBU PREVENTS ILLEGAL EXPORT OF HELICOPTER ENGINES

The Kyiv Post on 30th January reported that the State Security Service has blocked the illegal export of aircraft engines from the country. The engines are subject to mandatory state export control.  In the case, a Middle East country sent 4 engines for Mi. 24 attack helicopters to a Ukrainian commercial entity for repairs.  Following the refusal of the customer to pay the cost of the work performed, the property became the property of the state and was transferred to a commercial entity for sale.

https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/sbu-prevents-illegal-export-of-helicopter-engines.html

UKRAINE: THE ART OF CROWDFUNDING WAR

An article from Bloomberg Businessweek says that volunteers and non-profit organisations have been the backbone of Ukraine’s fight against Russia, and asks what happens when ordinary citizens conduct a war?  It relates stories of private individuals, in Ukraine and abroad, paying for equipment and financing the war, as well as volunteering to fight in the Donbass region.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-01-30/ukrainians-are-crowdfunding-the-fight-against-russia

THAILAND: CASE AGAINST WILDLIFE TRAFFICKING ‘KINGPIN’ DISMISSED

The Bangkok Post on 30th January reported that A suspected wildlife trafficking kingpin – Boonchai Bach, a Vietnamese national with Thai citizenship – accused of smuggling $1 million worth of rhino horns to Thailand has had the case against him dismissed, in a surprise court verdict slammed by conservationists.  He was arrested in January 2018 after police caught an airport quarantine official attempting to remove the horns from the quarantine section of a Bangkok airport.  The case was dismissed by a judge because of a lack of evidence after a key witness changed his testimony linking Mr Boonchai to the crime.

https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/general/1620570/case-against-wildlife-trafficking-kingpin-dismissed

UPDATE ON BERMUDA PRIVATE TRUST COMPANIES

On 31st January, Carey Olsen published a detailed briefing which considers how recent changes to the regulation of financial services in Bermuda have affected private trust companies.  It says that amendments were made primarily to ensure that Bermuda’s legal framework remains up to date with international standards, which are aimed at maintaining the international financial system’s integrity, and they include changes to AML/CFT and record-keeping requirements.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/Private-Client-Offshore-Services/Bermuda/Carey-Olsen-Bermuda/Update-on-Bermuda-private-trust-companies

COUNCILLORS SAY MONEY IN SUITCASES, SHOPPING BAGS USED TO PAY TAXES AT VANCOUVER CITY HALL

The Vancouver Courier on 30th January reported that citizens are bringing money in suitcases and in reusable shopping bags into city hall to pay taxes, according to accounts from 2 city councillors, including one who says she saw this happen “a few times” last year.

https://www.vancourier.com/news/councillors-say-money-in-suitcases-shopping-bags-used-to-pay-taxes-at-vancouver-city-hall-1.23617735

LOUIS VUITTON WORKER STOLE CUSTOMERS’ PASSPORT DETAILS FOR BOGUS TAX REFUNDS SCAM

KYC 360 on 31st January reported that a Louis Vuitton sales assistant at Selfridges, Manchester, has been jailed for 2½ years over her role in a scheme which involved using the stolen details of unsuspecting customers to make fake VAT claims and cash in on the refunds.  She copied the passport details from legitimate tax reclaim forms of international travellers and used them on fake claims, which she and her sisters would post at Manchester Airport.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/uk-louis-vuitton-worker-stole-customers-passport-details-for-bogus-tax-refunds-scam/

OFAC SETTLEMENT WITH ELF COSMETICS FOR IMPORTATION OF FALSE EYELASH KITS FROM SUPPLIERS USING MATERIALS SOURCED BY FROM THE DEMOCRATIC PEOPLE’S REPUBLIC OF KOREA

On 31st January, OFAC announced a settlement of $996,080 with e.l.f. Cosmetics Inc of Oakland, California.   ELF has agreed to settle its potential civil liability for 156 apparent violations of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations that involved the importation of false eyelash kits from 2 suppliers located in China that contained materials sourced by these suppliers from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  OFAC determined that ELF voluntarily self-disclosed the apparent violations and that the apparent violations constitute a non-egregious case.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20190131_elf.pdf

SUSPENDED SENTENCE FOR BANKRUPT WHO HID ASSET

Accountancy Daily on 31st January reported that a bankrupt tiler from Cardiff has been given a suspended prison sentence after he tried to hide a property asset which should have been used to pay his debts, including a £100,000 tax bill.

https://www.accountancydaily.co/suspended-sentence-bankrupt-who-hid-asset

STRATEGIC TRADE REVIEW ISSUE 7 PUBLISHED

On 31st January, the latest edition of this publication (which must be good, it published an article by me last year!).  The articles include –

REDUCING PROLIFERATION RISK THROUGH EXPORT CONTROL OUTREACH

Export control capacity-building programmes have evolved to take into account proliferation risks as well as a partner’s ability to effectively absorb assistance when deciding how to allocate limited outreach resources.  This article begins by reviewing which export control elements, like licensing and enforcement, might be deemed essential to system functionality in the face of known proliferation procurement methods; and includes a list of lessons learned from US and EU programmes’ adoption of the “maturity model-based approach” to system development similar to the one in the World Customs Organization’s 2015 Strategic Trade Control Enforcement (STCE) Guide.

https://strategictraderesearch.org/current-issue/

MORE UK DRAFT LEGISLATION TO CONTINUE SANCTIONS AFTER BREXIT

On 31st January, 3 more sets of regulation have been published that would allow for the UK to continue the current EU sanctions regimes (albeit as “UK” regimes) after (if?) it leaves the EU – these cover Burma/Myanmar, Venezuela and Iran (for human rights abuses).

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/136/contents/made

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/135/contents/made

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2019/134/contents/made

IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS, VENEZUELA AND BURMA SANCTIONS: GUIDANCE

Meanwhile, the Home Office issues guidance on the Iran (Sanctions) (Human Rights) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.  It provides guidance on best practice for complying with the prohibitions and requirements, enforcing them, and circumstances where they do not apply.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/iran-human-rights-sanctions-guidance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/burma-sanctions-guidance

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/venezuela-sanctions-guidance

HOME-GROWN TERROR A WORSENING THREAT FOR KENYA

Defence Web on 29th January reported that incidents in recent years suggest a trend of home-grown terrorists acting against their own country, and is increasingly a local problem, with logistical support from Somalia.  It says that Al-Shabaab influence and cells may have penetrated many parts of Kenya.  The article says that as Kenya is a hub in Africa for businesses, diplomatic activity and most importantly, tourism, by striking Kenya’s capital city, al-Shabaab benefits from tremendous media coverage.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/home-grown-terror-a-worsening-threat-for-kenya/

ZIMBABWE ANTI-CORRUPTION COMMISSIONERS RESIGN

Pindula in Zimbabwe on 31st January reported that earlier in January, the ZACC commissioners were reportedly summoned by the President and advised that they had been ineffective and that the commission would be dissolved.  The commissioners were reportedly involved in corruption themselves, and the article says that they have been asked to resign.

https://news.pindula.co.zw/2019/01/31/breaking-zimbabwe-anti-corruption-commissioners-resign

AMENDMENT TO UK OPEN GENERAL IMPORT LICENCE (OGIL) FOR NUCLEAR MATERIALS

On 31st January, the Department of International Trade published a Notice to Importers notifying the introduction of import licensing controls on the import of nuclear materials from the EU.  This import licensing control comes into force on 29th March.  If a Brexit transition agreement is reached with the EU before 29th March then this amendment will be revoked.  The change involves uranium ores and concentrates, plutonium, uranium 233, uranium enriched in the isotopes 233 or 235, natural uranium and mixtures, compounds and alloys, and spent or irradiated nuclear reactor fuel elements.  Notice to Importers 2915 explains that the UK’s Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is responsible for the licensing of imports of nuclear materials, and currently licences to import the following nuclear materials are required from outside of the European Community.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/775321/Amendment-of-UK-OGIL-dated-30-January-2019.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/774938/Notice-to-importers-2915-relevant-nuclear-materials.odt

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prepare-to-import-relevant-nuclear-materials-from-the-eu-after-brexit-licensing-requirements

MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES SAID TO HAVE BEEN FILED AGAINST FORMER HEAD OF THE NIGERIA INTELLIGENCE AGENCY (NIA) AND HIS WIFE

Kenneth Rijock in his blog on 30th January reported that they had been charged after millions were found in their flat, which was itself reportedly bought with stolen funds.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/2019/01/head-of-nigerias-intelligence-service.html

SPORTS INTEGRITY UNIT TO BE FORMED IN AUSTRALIA

Calvin Ayre reported on 31st January news that, as a crackdown continue on illegal gambling, with a new set of strict codes to be introduced for the sports sector, a new national watchdog is to set up, designed to eliminate cheating and match-fixing in sporting events.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/01/31/business/new-sports-betting-integrity-unit-created-australia/

ROMANIA’S “SNOWBALL” SCAM

On 31st January, OCCRP published a report saying that “Snowballing” describes a VAT avoidance system used by an organised crime group that Romanian prosecutors allege is associated with the country’s most powerful politician. It involves importing the equipment into Romania, but then exporting it to neighbouring Bulgaria and re-importing it back before selling it to customers.  This allows the customers to be classified as “importers,” freeing them from the obligation to pay VAT.  The scheme hinged on the definition of “re-seller”.  Under the law, the importer doesn’t pay the VAT unless and until it re-sells the item to the final consumer.  A case has just gone to trial in Romania’s courts, where a Romanian company and 2 well-connected Romanians are charged with tax evasion.  If convicted, the defendants face up to 15 years in prison, and prosecutors seek to recover the €1.2 million in taxes from the defendants.

vat-evasion-scheme

https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/romania-snowball-scam-deprives-government-of-over-1-million-in-vat-revenues

US CUSTOMS OFFICERS SEIZE LARGEST AMOUNT OF FENTANYL IN CBP HISTORY

On 31st January, a news release from US Customs and Border Protection reported that officers at the Nogales Commercial Facility seized nearly $4.6 million in fentanyl and methamphetamine totalling close to 650 lb from a Mexican national when he attempted to enter the US through the Port of Nogales.

https://www.cbp.gov/newsroom/local-media-release/cbp-officers-seize-largest-amount-fentanyl-cbp-history

AUTHORITIES IN NORTHERN IRELAND SEIZE NEARLY 5 MILLION CIGARETTES

TJI reported on 30th January that a crime task force has seized a total of 4,886,580 cigarettes and 695.93 kg of hand-rolling tobacco (HRT) worth an estimated £1.8 million in lost tax in Banbridge, Carryduff and Ballyclare.

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/Authorities_seize_nearly_4_mil_illicit_cigs.55114.0.html

GOVERNMENT TO BOOST INSPECTION OF HUGE NUMBER OF CONTAINERS OF SCRAP MATERIALS AND WASTE WHICH BUILDING UP AT SEAPORTS IN VIETNAM

Vietnam News on 31st January reported that It is estimated that as of January 25th, more than 24,000 containers had been piled up at seaports for more than 90 days.  The problem has been partly blamed on the lack of co-operation between governmental agencies when tightening rules on imports of environmentally harmful scrap and waste, which has caused problems for even honest businesses.  The prolonged congestion has forced many businesses to suspend their operations or even close due to a shortage of necessary scrap materials.

https://vietnamnews.vn/society/484838/govt-boosts-handling-of-customs-for-scrap.html#jXXwYZUklqWYGdZe.97

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PHILIPPINES: CUSTOMS UNCOVERS ILLEGAL FACTORY FOR INSECTICIDES

The Manila Times on 31st January reported that officers accidentally discovered a clandestine factory manufacturing fake and toxic insecticides during a post-audit inspection.

https://www.manilatimes.net/boc-uncovers-illegal-factory-for-insecticides/504524/

ITALY SEIZES 644 KG OF COCAINE HIDDEN IN HONDURAN COFFEE

ABC WLOS News on 30th January reported that the cocaine, hidden in bags of Honduran coffee, comprised one of the largest drug hauls in Italy in recent years.  The cocaine, in 582 blocks, was hidden inside sacks of coffee in a container aboard a Portuguese-flagged cargo ship.  Police said the container originated in Honduras, and was transferred in Costa Rica to another ship bound for Spain.

https://wlos.com/news/nation-world/italy-seizes-644k-of-cocaine-hidden-in-honduran-coffee

DUBAI HAS BECOME A “MONEY LAUNDERING PARADISE” SAYS TRANSPARENCY INTERNATIONAL

Baker McKenzie on 31st January reported that, in its latest Corruption Perceptions Index, anti-graft campaigning group Transparency International says that “Dubai has become an active global hub for money laundering … where the corrupt and other criminals can go to buy luxurious property with no restrictions.”

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/dubai-has-become-a-money-laundering-paradise-says-anti-corruption-group/

UKRAINE BLOCKS ILLEGAL EXPORT OF 250 PISTOLS

In a news release dated 1st February, the SBU in Ukraine reported that the dealers involved planned to certify them as “hunting” or “sports” items.  In fact, they were 250 rifle-bored CZ Scorpion pistols.

https://ssu.gov.ua/en/news/1/category/21/view/5648#.1RRdvE2Z.dpbs

EU OFFICIAL “DEMANDS LUXEMBOURG FREEPORT CLOSE AMID MONEY LAUNDERING ALLEGATIONS”

The Hyperallergic website on 31st January carried a report saying that the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker has referred the case, which concerns a high-security facility housing art and luxury goods, to the European commissioner of economic and financial affairs.  A German MEP had singled out for criticism Luxembourg’s system of freeports: tax-free warehouses where the rich can store valuable assets like art, cars, wine, and jewellery.

https://hyperallergic.com/482544/eu-official-demands-luxembourg-freeport-close-amid-money-laundering-allegations/

JOINT STATEMENT ON THE NEW MECHANISM TO FACILITATE TRADE WITH IRAN – UK, FRANCE AND GERMANY – SPV

On 31st January, the UK FCO published a news release to announce the creation of ‘INSTEX’ a new mechanism for facilitating legitimate trade with Iran in order to preserve the Iran nuclear deal.  It will support legitimate European trade with Iran, focusing initially on the sectors most essential to the Iranian population – such as pharmaceutical, medical devices and agri-food goods. INSTEX aims in the long term to be open to economic operators from third countries who wish to trade with Iran and the 3 countries continue to explore how to achieve this objective.  The announcement says that INSTEX will function under the highest international standards with regards to AML/CFT and EU and UN sanctions compliance; and, in this respect, the 3 countries expect Iran to swiftly implement all elements of its FATF action plan.  They have registered a new Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which, when operational, will allow legitimate trade between Europe and Iran.

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/joint-statement-on-the-new-mechanism-to-facilitate-trade-with-iran

20 PEOPLE CHARGED IN LARGEST CRACKDOWN OF US CHINESE BIRTH TOURISM SCHEME

Time reported on 31st January that 20 people have been charged in the largest-ever crackdown on businesses that help Chinese women travel to the US to give birth to babies who automatically are American citizens, authorities said.  Authorities say a birth tourism business charged pregnant women $50,000 for lodging, food and transportation in California.  It is said to be the first time the US has criminally prosecuted birth tourism operators.  It isn’t illegal to visit the US while pregnant but authorities said the businesses touted the benefits of having US citizen babies and had women hide their pregnancies while seeking travel visas and lie about their planned trips.

http://time.com/5517972/chinese-birth-tourism-scheme-charged

HMRC ISSUES DRAFT NOTICES AND LEGISLATION FOR CASH CONTROLS AFTER BREXIT

On 31st January, HMRC issued draft notices and legislation for cash declaration requirements for cash of €10,000 or more brought or sent into, or sent or taken from the UK.  When (or if?) the UK ceases to be a Member State of the EU cash declarations will still be required, but will additionally be required for cash moving between the UK and other Member States (whereas now declarations are only required for cash going to and from third countries (including the Isle of Man and Channel Islands).  The modified system will (in due course) an electronic reporting system, and will have the threshold expressed in sterling instead of euros.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5c531e70ed915d7d330945cb/EM_The_Cash_Controls__Amendment___EU_Exit__Regulations_2019.pdf

OFAC SETTLEMENT WITH ELF COSMETICS FOR IMPORTATION OF FALSE EYELASH KITS FROM SUPPLIERS USING MATERIALS SOURCED BY NORTH KOREA

On 31st January, OFAC announced a settlement of $996,080 with e.l.f. Cosmetics Inc of Oakland, California.   ELF has agreed to settle its potential civil liability for 156 apparent violations of the North Korea Sanctions Regulations that involved the importation of false eyelash kits from 2 suppliers located in China that contained materials sourced by these suppliers from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.  OFAC determined that ELF voluntarily self-disclosed the apparent violations and that the apparent violations constitute a non-egregious case.

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20190131_elf.pdf

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 30

30th January 2019

MALTA-BASED ONLINE GAMBLING OPERATOR BETWAY UNDER SCRUTINY OVER PANAMA PAPERS

The Times of Malta on 29th January reported that Betway is being subjected to rigorous scrutiny by the Belgian Gaming Commission for its operations in Belgium following an investigation connected to the Panama Papers. A probe was launched in 2017 after the company’s was mentioned in the Panama Papers, which detailed an opaque corporate structure of companies looking to minimise tax obligations in various countries.

https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20190129/local/malta-based-online-gambling-firm-under-scrutiny-over-panama-papers.700536

PARAGUAY’S UNDERGROUND ECONOMY

World Finance on 30th January reported that illegal transactions can contribute as much as 40% of the country’s GDP.  The distribution of wealth is very unequal: 80% of land is held by 2.5% of the population, and 161 people control 90% of the wealth of the country.  Paraguay remains one of the poorest countries in Latin America. It ranks 4th in terms of extreme poverty, after Honduras, Guatemala and Nicaragua, according to a 2016 ECLAC report.  While the official unemployment rate hovers at around 19%, only 5.34% of Paraguayans are fully employed.  Due to the country’s reliance on agriculture, many people work in the informal sector.  Tobacco smuggling is the most lucrative business in Paraguay.  The article concludes that the trade of illicit goods cannot be blamed entirely on one country and both Paraguay and Brazil will need to work together if they are going to tackle the issue – but as long as political corruption exists on both sides of the border, the illegal economy will continue to flourish.

https://www.worldfinance.com/markets/the-underground-economy-of-paraguay

GUERNSEY SEEKS REGULATORY CERTAINTY ON APPLICATION OF ELECTRONIC CDD

International Investment on  29th January reported that a Guernsey FSC spokesperson outlined an approach to provide greater regulatory reassurance in the application of electronic customer due diligence (CDD).  It says that the lodging of the Electronic Transactions (Electronic Agents) (Guernsey), 2019 Ordinance earlier this month in the island offers greater certainty as the use of artificial intelligence and distributed ledger technology grows.  It says it will boost confidence and enable adopters of technology solutions to use Guernsey.

https://www.internationalinvestment.net/news/4000663/guernsey-seeks-regulatory-certainty-application-electronic-cdd

ILLICIT MONEY GUSHING OUT OF BANGLADESH

On 30th January, the Asia Times reported that as much as $81.74 billion was siphoned off the country in 2006-2015, according to a study by research NGO Global Financial Integrity.  The money is said to have been drained out through over-invoicing in imports and under-invoicing in exports, a common but illegal accounting technique which in many countries deprives governments of huge amounts of revenue.  It is estimated that 17.5% of Bangladesh’s total trade worth $33.7 billion with “advanced economies”, was laundered in 2015.

http://www.atimes.com/article/illicit-money-gushing-out-of-bangladesh/

MONEY LAUNDERING AND TERRORISM FINANCING STATISTICS FOR WEST AFRICA SHOW A DROP

Punch in Nigeria on 30th January reported that the Inter-Governmental Action against Money Laundering and Terrorists Financing in West Africa, an organ of the regional body ECOWAS, claims to have observed a reduction in terror financing and money laundering activities among member countries of the Economic Community of West African States in 2018.  The body was established in 2000 to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.  It has also embarked on mutual evaluation of more West African countries, including Senegal, Cape Verde and Burkina Faso.

https://punchng.com/terror-financing-dips-in-2018-ecowas/

DENMARK PROPOSES TOUGHENING OF AML CONTROLS

On 30th January, Payments Compliance reported that the Danish FSA had issued 23 proposals on 29th January aimed at improving AML controls in the wake of the Danske Bank scandal.

https://paymentscompliance.com/premium-content/research_report/denmark-fsa-publishes-proposals-strengthening-money-laundering

PODCAST: THE OIL-FOR-FOOD SCHEME

In the latest TRACE podcast, David Montero discusses his new book “Kickback” and tells the story of how Saddam Hussein found collaborators willing to help him thwart the purpose of the UN Oil-for-food programme and prop up his thuggish regime.

https://traceinternational.org/bribe_swindle_or_steal

UK: TAX AVOIDANCE AND TAX EVASION

On 30th January, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which provides an introduction to the issue of tax avoidance, looking in detail at the development of follower notices and accelerated payments, before discussing the current UK Government’s approach, including the introduction of the 2019 Loan Charge.

https://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7948

TRIAL DATE SET FOR FORMER PANAMA PRESIDENT

Kenneth Rijock on 30th January reported that the trial of former President Martinelli of Panama has been set for 12th March.  He faces charges of corruption and for illegally conducting audio and video surveillance of some of Panama’s most prominent citizens, and had to be extradited back from the US to face trial.

http://rijock.blogspot.com/

 SLOVAKIA: PARLIAMENT OVERRIDES PRESIDENT’S VETO OVER GAMBLING LAW

Calvin Ayre on 30th January reported that Slovakia’s online gambling liberalisation is back on schedule after legislators overrode the veto of the country’s President.  Amongst the provisions in the Bill is one ending the state online gambling monopoly.  But the state operator will retain its monopoly over online lotteries, bingo and raffles with online casino and sports betting products will now be open to competition.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/01/30/business/slovakia-parliament-overrides-gambling-law-veto/

BETFAIR PULLS OUT OF INDIA AFTER BEING PUBLICLY ATTACKED

Calvin Ayre on 30th January reported that online gambling operator Betfair is not taking bets from India after being publicly called out for flouting local laws.  A letter from the All India Gaming Federation accused 9 online gambling websites, including 1xbet, Bet365 and other familiar faces of “luring and accepting bets from Indian citizens” without local authorisation.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/01/30/business/betfair-rejects-india-sports-bettors/

SAUDI ARABIA CHARGES 126 WITH CORRUPTION

On 30th January, OCCRP reported that Saudi authorities charged 126 local government employees across the country with corruption, abuse of power and other crimes as part of a controversial anti-corruption campaign that started in 2017.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/9180-saudi-arabia-crackdown-on-local-govt-corruption

GERMAN MP DISCIPLINED FOR ROLE IN AZERBAIJANI LAUNDROMAT

OCCRP on 30th January reported that on January 18th, the German parliament ruled that Karin Strenz, an MP from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic party (CDU), broke parliamentary rules on declaring external income by failing to disclose money and gifts she received from Azerbaijani lobbyists.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/9181-german-mp-disciplined-for-role-in-azerbaijani-laundromat

UK: MINOR OFFENCES MAY STAY SECRET AFTER LEGAL CHALLENGE FAILS

The Guardian reported on 30th January that people given police cautions or reprimands as children or those convicted of multiple minor offences may not have to disclose them in future after the government lost a legal challenge in the Supreme Court to the criminal record checks system.  The Court rejected 3 of the appeals by the Home Office over the issue of whether those who were found guilty of lesser offences or cautions need to disclose them when seeking employment involving contact with children and vulnerable adults.

https://www.theguardian.com/law/2019/jan/30/minor-offences-may-stay-secret-after-legal-challenge-fails

SIERRA LEONE OPENS GRAFT PROBE INTO ACTIONS OF PREVIOUS GOVERNMENT

Baker McKenzie reported on 30th January that the government of Sierra Leone has tasked a special commission with investigating allegations of widespread corruption and abuse of office under the previous administration.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/sierra-leone-opens-graft-probe-into-actions-of-previous-govt/

US CUSTOMS SEIZE NEARLY $1 MILLION CASH AT MEXICAN BORDER

On 30th January, Homeland Preparedness reported that US Customs and Border Protection officers at Juarez-Lincoln Bridge, between Laredo, Texas, and Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, seized $988,550 in unreported currency.  The funds were discovered during a physical examination of a 2010 Nissan Maxima driven by a 20-year-old female US citizen, and hidden inside the vehicle was 53 bundles of currency.

https://homelandprepnews.com/stories/32298-cbp-officers-seize-nearly-1m-in-currency/

GERMANY, FRANCE AND 8 OTHERS FAIL TO FULLY TRANSPOSE EU 4TH AML DIRECTIVE

On 30th January, KYC 360 reported that the European Commission has written to authorities in Germany and France, as well as 8 other Member States, for failing to completely transpose the Directive into national laws.  The Directive was adopted in 2015; and all Member States had to transpose its rules by 26th June 2017.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/germany-france-fail-to-fully-transpose-eu-fourth-anti-money-laundering-directive-4amld/

CRYPTOCURRENCY THEFTS AND SCAMS HIT $1.7 BILLION IN 2018

KYC 360 on 30th January reported that cryptocurrencies stolen from exchanges and scammed from investors surged more than 400% in 2018 to around $1.7 billion, according to a report from US-based cyber security firm CipherTrace.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/cryptocurrency-thefts-scams-hit-1-7-billion-in-2018-report/

MONGOLIA PARLIAMENTARY SPEAKER OUSTED AMID CORRUPTION SCANDAL

Reuters on 30th January reported that Mongolia’s parliamentary speaker, Enkhbold Myegombo, has been ousted following weeks of public protests against him over accusations he was involved in the corrupt sale of government positions.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-mongolia-politics/mongolia-parliamentary-speaker-ousted-amid-corruption-scandal-idUKKCN1PO0EH

US REPORT CLAIMS CHINA BRIBING PACIFIC NATIONS

Radio New Zealand on 30th January reported that a new US intelligence report accuses China of aligning itself with Pacific Island nations through bribery, investments and greater engagement while it pursues the construction of military and other facilities in the region.

https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/381308/us-report-claims-china-bribing-pacific-nations