OFAC DELISTS EN+, RUSAL, AND EUROSIBENERGO

On 27th January, OFAC announced the formal lifting of sanctions imposed on En+ Group plc (“En+”), UC Rusal plc (“Rusal”), and JSC EuroSibEnergo (“ESE”), following an earlier notification submitted to the US Congress on December 19th.  It says that the companies have reduced Oleg Deripaska’s direct and indirect shareholding stake in these companies and severed his control.  This action, it says, ensures that the majority of directors on the En+ and Rusal boards will be independent directors – including US and European persons – who have no business, professional, or family ties to Deripaska or any other SDN, and that independent US persons vote a significant bloc of the shares of En+.  The companies have also agreed to undertaking extensive, ongoing auditing, certification, and reporting requirements.   All sanctions on Deripaska continue in force.

https://home.treasury.gov/news/press-releases/sm592

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20190127.aspx

 

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JANUARY 27

27th January 2019

 TAIWAN PREPARES CHINA BLACKLIST BANNING HUAWEI AND ZTE

The Nikkei Asian Review on 22nd January reported that Taiwan is compiling a detailed blacklist of Chinese tech companies, as security concerns fuel a campaign to restrict the use of equipment from manufacturers such as Huawei Technologies.

https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Taiwan-preps-China-blacklist-banning-Huawei-and-ZTE

EXPERTS, IMAGES SUGGEST A SAUDI BALLISTIC MISSILE PROGRAMME

On 27th January, the Columbia Daily Herald reported that Saudi Arabia appears to be testing and possibly manufacturing ballistic missiles.  Officials in Riyadh and the Saudi Embassy in Washington did not respond to requests for comment.  The images, first reported by The Washington Post, focus on a military base near the town of al-Dawadmi, some 230 km west of Riyadh. Jane’s Defence Weekly first identified the base in 2013, suggesting its 2 launch pads appear oriented to target Israel and Iran with ballistic missiles the kingdom previously bought from China.

http://www.texarkanagazette.com/news/international/story/2019/jan/27/experts-images-suggest-saudi-ballistic-missile-program/762908/

TURKEY SEIZES SMUGGLED GOODS WORTH SOME $630 MILLION IN 2018

On 27th January, Yeni Safak reported that, in a statement issued on the International Customs Day, the trade minister said value of smuggled goods captured by the officials surged 20% on a yearly basis.  Official figures revealed that Turkish officials confiscated 15.7 million packages of contraband cigarettes in 2018.  The percentage of illegal tobacco in the country recorded a gradual decline over the past few years and fell to 5.8% in 2018 (the average in the EU is 15%, worldwide it is 10%).  1,500 tons of illegal fuel and 46.3 tons of narcotics were seized by Turkish authorities through the inspections in 2018.

https://www.yenisafak.com/en/news/turkey-seizes-smuggled-goods-worth-some-630m-in-2018-3473002

AUSTRALIAN MILLIONAIRE FACES 60-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE AFTER BEING CHARGED WITH FLEECING AMERICANS OUT OF $196 MILLION IN SCAM

The Daily Mail on 27th January reported that Russian-born internet mogul, Zhenya Tsvetnenko, 39, from Perth, who spent $1 million on his wedding and flew his wife overseas to party with Snoop Dogg could be facing 60 years behind bars for one of the biggest alleged telecommunication scams in US legal history.  He was arrested by Australian Federal Police at his river front apartment in December.  The alleged scheme defrauded people by charging them extra for ‘premium’ text messages without their permission.  Mr Tsvetnenko is worth an estimated $100 million and sits in the top ten of Australia’s richest people under 40.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6636223/Millionaire-flashed-life-online-faces-60-year-sentence-charge-fleecing-196million.html

15 SUSPECTS ARRESTED IN ALLEGED $8 MILLION TAIWAN CRYPTOCURRENCY SCAM

CCN in Taiwan on 27th January reported that more than a dozen suspects have been arrested in Taipei for their part in an alleged Taiwan cryptocurrency scam that is worth in the region of $8 million.  The scam surrounds a cryptocurrency called IBCoin, which was supposedly used to part investors from their cash in Taiwan.

https://www.ccn.com/15-suspects-arrested-in-alleged-8-million-taiwan-cryptocurrency-scam

SAIGON BUSINESSMAN GETS LIFE IN JAIL FOR $21.6 MILLION BANK FRAUD

VN Express on 26th January reported that Nguyen Xuan Binh, 59, the head of a Vietnamese coffee company who defrauded 5 banks of $21.6 million will be jailed for life. He is the former chairman of private company Truong Ngan.  The company’s director, Nguyen Dang Son, 37, was also sentenced to 16 years in jail for obtaining property by fraud.

https://e.vnexpress.net/news/business/companies/saigon-businessman-gets-life-in-jail-for-21-6-million-bank-fraud-3874340.html

CHANNEL ISLANDS LEADERS IN BRUSSELS TO MAKE CASE TO STAY OFF EU TAX BLACKLIST

On 27th January, Guernsey Press reported that leading politicians from Jersey and Guernsey have visited Brussels to promote the Channel Islands’ interests ahead of Brexit and make their case for staying off an EU tax blacklist – and also the islands’ concern over the recent inclusion of Jersey and Guernsey on the Dutch national blacklist.

https://guernseypress.com/news/2019/01/27/ci-leaders-in-brussels-to-make-case-to-stay-off-eu-blacklist/

FROM GEOTAGS TO INFOTAINMENT: OVERLOOKED SOURCES OF DIGITAL EVIDENCE

On 2nd January, Control Risks published a report focusing on 5 case studies and saying that there are ever-increasingly creative ways to find information. It looks at 5 cases that show the potential in underused and emerging types of digital evidence and involving: geotags location data; wearable sensors; asset tracking sensors and internet of things (IOT) trackers; network data that reveals details of trade secrets theft; and data from vehicle infotainment equipment, telematics and “black boxes”.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/five-case-studies-of-interest-to-corporate-investigators

MYANMAR GOVERNMENT SIDE-LINING DEMOCRATIC REFORM, RESORTING TO MILITARY ERA REPRESSION: UN EXPERT

An article on the UN news website on 25th January said that the human rights situation in Myanmar continues to deteriorate, as the civilian government fails to bring about democratic reforms and instead resorts to the kind of repression carried out under previous military regimes, said the UN human rights expert Yanghee Lee.  The human rights situation in Myanmar, she said, has been further complicated by fighting in several regions of the country, undermining the prospects that some 162,000 Internally Displaced People (IDP) in the area will be able to return home.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2019/01/1031332

8 COUNTRIES EXPLORING A STATE-BACKED CRYPTOCURRENCY

On 28th August, a post from the Element Group provided details of the then 8 states investigating the creation of state-backed cryptocurrencies – Marshall Islands, the eastern Caribbean islands, Iran, Turkey, Tunisia, Thailand, Sweden, China.

https://medium.com/datadriveninvestor/8-countries-exploring-use-cases-for-a-state-backed-cryptocurrency-a8947903c58b

SAUDI BILLIONAIRE MOHAMMED AL-AMOUDI RELEASED FROM DETENTION

Al Jazeera on 27th January reported that Saudi Arabia has freed Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi, more than a year after the tycoon was detained under the kingdom’s controversial anti-corruption campaign.  According to a Forbes report last year, his net worth was estimated to be $10.9 billion. Forbes downgraded his net worth earlier this month to $1.2billion “due to a lack of clarity about which assets he still owns”.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/01/saudi-billionaire-al-amoudi-reportedly-released-detention-190127151835194.html

CANADIAN MAN REPORTEDLY DETAINED IN CHINA ON ALLEGATIONS OF FRAUD

The Globe and Mail in Canada on 27th January reported that a 61 year old Canadian man had reportedly been detained in China on allegations of fraud, accused of trying to defraud an unnamed entertainment company out of $375 million.

https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/canada/article-canadian-man-detained-in-china-on-allegations-of-fraud-report

SINAGPORE: 7 MEMBERS OF S$40M SKILLSFUTURE CLAIMS SCAM TO FACE ADDITIONAL CHARGES
Channel News Asia on 27th January reported that the 7 members of an alleged criminal syndicate that defrauded statutory board SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) of almost S$40 million are facing additional charges, having already been charged, together with 6 others, with offences that include cheating, forgery, money laundering and perversion of justice. The additional charges include criminal conspiracy, use of forged documents and failure to exercise reasonable diligence as directors of the business entities.

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/skillsfuture-seven-members-40-million-claims-fraud-charges-11173310

TUNISIA – BETWEEN INSTABILITY AND RENEWAL

On 21st January, an article from the European Council on Foreign Relations said that strikes and elections are raising the tension in Tunisian society and politics.  The socio-economic divisions that led to the 2011 revolution still afflict the country and are causing increased public disaffection – as it celebrated the 8th anniversary of its pro-democratic revolution.

https://www.ecfr.eu/article/commentary_tunisia_between_instability_and_renewal

REPORT: FINANCIAL NETWORKS OF MASS DESTRUCTION – CALL FOR ACTION

In January, CNAS published its December 2018 report which says that whilst the international community has long prioritised reducing the risk of WMD proliferation, whether from state actors such as North Korea and Iran, or from non-state actors, particularly criminals and transnational terrorist networks, there remains a significant blind spot: the efforts to prevent the financing of WMD proliferation are only in their infancy.  The legal framework to prevent the financing of proliferation is weak, and implementation across the world is spotty.  These weaknesses derive from one overwhelming fact: that the international community has not prioritised financial controls to fight proliferation.  Very few countries have demonstrated the political will to put further emphasis on this threat to international peace and security.  It says that illicit actors, including those acting on behalf of countries such as Iran and North Korea, have exploited, are exploiting, and will continue to exploit these vulnerabilities.  The report says that the US has unique power and responsibility to combine domestic legislative and regulatory reforms with international leadership in order to strengthen the countering proliferation finance regime, and that doing so will require overcoming significant political will obstacles.  It argues that effective AML controls are not sufficient to combat proliferation finance.  The report makes various policy recommendations.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.cnas.org/documents/CNAS-Report_Financial-Networks_EES_Final-web.pdf?mtime=20190102174833

cnas3

CLAIM THAT 3 DETROIT-AREA MEN FUNNELLED $88 MILLION TO YEMEN AND CHINA

Baker McKenzie on 27th January reported that the US federal authorities have busted an international cash-delivery scheme in metro Detroit, where 3 men have been charged with secretly funnelling $88 million to Yemen, China and other countries by creating phony businesses whose only purpose was to move cash overseas.  In 2013-15, 2 are said to have created multiple fake businesses by using the addresses of vacant buildings, storefronts or residences and used “straw business owners” or “fronts” to help send $63 million to various countries.  In a separate case, a third man is charged with running a similar scheme, accused of wiring more than $22.3 million to Yemen and other countries by using 13 phony business bank accounts between 2011-16.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/feds-3-detroit-area-men-funneled-88-million-to-yemen-china/