8th February 2019
AUSTRALIA CRACKS DOWN ON CRYPTO RESEARCH COLLABORATION
On 8th February, Blockchain Reporter reported that in Australia the Department of Defence has launched a crackdown to tighten exemptions for information security and cryptographic researchers in Australia, to be implemented through tough export control laws, and said to be likely to restrain collaboration with the overseas research community outside intelligence circles. Australia has revoked the licences of researchers that are subject to the Defence Trade Controls or DTC Act 2012, which regulates the supply of military and the dual-use technologies overseas – permits that were only introduced on a trial basis in 2017 allowed communication between organisations and any non-sanctioned countries about cryptography research. Now universities, for example, will have to make applications on a case by case basis.
UN: MARITIME CRIME ON THE RISE AS PIRATES BECOME MORE SOPHISTICATED AT EXPLOITING LAWLESS OCEANS
Illicit Trade on 7th February reported that the UN has warned that maritime crime and piracy are on the rise across the globe, with organised criminal groups taking advantage of “jurisdiction and enforcement” challenges on the high seas – with crimes such as migrant trafficking, drug smuggling, armed robbery and illegal fishing.
2 SOUTH KOREANS ARRESTED FOR TRYING TO SMUGGLE 252,000 LIVE EELS OUT OF CROATIA IN THEIR SUITCASES
The South China Morning Post reported on 8th February that the 2 men, aged 38 and 47, were caught with the juvenile fish worth $200,000 packed in 8 suitcases at Zagreb’s international airport. The authorities said they had handed the eels over to the Zagreb zoo.
BIBLE DATING BACK 1,200 YEARS SEIZED FROM SMUGGLING SUSPECTS IN TURKEY
The Independent on 7th February reported that Turkish police have seized a Bible thought to be 1,200 years old and 6 people have been arrested after allegedly attempting the sell the ancient manuscript. Police are investigating whether the book was smuggled across the border from nearby Syria, and the article says that Turkey has become a primary destination for looted antiquities from Syria.
LIBYA: 48 ARREST WARRANTS AND BANK ACCOUNTS FROZEN OF FUEL SMUGGLING PETROL STATION OWNERS
The Libya Herald on 7th February reported that 48 arrest warrants for owners of petrol stations across western Libya in connection with fuel smuggling had been issued. The National Oil Corporation (NOC) has been told to cease supplying the listed petrol stations with fuel.
GIBRALTAR COMPLETES REVIEW OF AML/CFT FOR E-MONEY INSTITUTIONS
Payments Compliance on 7th February reported that the Gibraltar FSC had completed a thematic review of the e-money sector, which analysed the effectiveness of AML/CFT controls on institutions in the sector.
BRAZIL: LULA SENTENCED A SECOND TIME CORRUPTION AND MONEY LAUNDERING
Folha de Sao Paolo on 7th February reported that the former president was found guilty in another criminal lawsuit involving dealings of a country house in upstate São Paulo. He was sentenced to 12 years and 11 months in prison for corruption and money laundering. Construction company Odebrecht paid for renovation work in the property along with another construction company, OAS, and entrepreneur José Carlos Bumlai, with funds embezzled from Petrobras contracts, according to the prosecution’s charges.
US OPENS PROBE INTO BRAZILIAN OIL BRIBERY SCHEME
KYC 360 on 8th February reported that the DoJ is said to be investigating a former US-based oil trader for Brazil’s Petrobras already charged in his home country with taking part in a corruption scheme involving commodity companies Vitol SA, Glencore PLC and Trafigura AG – a new phase of Brazil’s “Car Wash” corruption probe.
SUBSTANDARD AND FAKE MEDICINES POSE A SIGNIFICANT THREAT TO AFRICA
ENACT Africa on 25th January published an article saying that a new study shows that poor and vulnerable populations, especially in Africa, suffer the most. A new policy brief has been published alongside a multinational event in Nigeria. The trade in counterfeit medicines fuels a lucrative criminal economy, but the study found that processes for checking the quality of pharmaceutical products are neither systematic nor consistent. It is said that, worldwide, the counterfeit drug market is worth up to $200 billion. WHO say 42% of detected cases of substandard or falsified pharmaceuticals occurred in Africa, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine says that fake malaria drugs cause up to 158 000 deaths every year in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the EU’s MEDICRIME Convention is the only international legal instrument that has made it a criminal offence to produce and distribute fake medical products or commit similar crimes.
UK: PROPERTY DEVELOPER BEHIND INCOMPLETE FOOTBALL STADIUM BANNED FROM RUNNING COMPANIES
The Insolvency Service on 5th February reported that a Property developer who received millions in council funding to redevelop a football stadium has been banned from running companies for 10 years. 1ST Land Limited was incorporated in August 2013 to act as the contractor for Northampton Town Football Club who wished to redevelop the Sixfields Stadium.
THE SILENT DESTRUCTION OF SENEGAL’S LAST FORESTS
On 10th January, ENACT Observer carried an article warning of illegal logging in the the forests of Casamance. It says that an n extensive network of actors has been cashing in on large-scale illegal logging and timber trafficking in the region. These include armed groups, Senegalese and Gambian businessmen, foreign actors (particularly from India and China) and also the local population. The Mouvement des Forces Democratiques de la Casamance (MFDC), a separatist group that has been fighting for the independence of The Casamance since 1982, sustains itself largely through timber trafficking.
ROMANIANS CHARGED WITH ONLINE CAR SALES SCAM TARGETING AMERICANS
The Washington Post on 7th February reported that US authorities have charged 20 people, including more than a dozen Romanian citizens, with running a multi-million dollar scam that targeted Americans by pretending to sell cars online. The suspects are said to have posted fake ads on auction and sales websites like Craigslist and eBay, advertising cars and other high-cost items. Often, the cars were advertised as being for sale by members of the US military who were soon going to deploy overseas. Money was quickly traded for bitcoin so the money could be moved out of the US.
PUBLIC–PRIVATE COLLABORATION TO COUNTER THE USE OF THE INTERNET FOR TERRORIST PURPOSES: WHAT CAN BE LEARNT FROM EFFORTS ON TERRORIST FINANCING?
A paper from RUSI on 7th February says that there are clear benefits in taking lessons learnt from longstanding efforts on terrorist financing into account when developing a response to the online terrorist threat. It recommends that lawmakers developing a regulatory regime for communication service providers (CSP) should engage with their counterparts involved in the response to terrorist financing, and that regulations should avoid counterproductive measures such as over-reporting, a tick-box approach to compliance, and discrimination against smaller entities. It says that a public–private collaboration could strengthen the response, and that information sharing should initially focus on the sharing of common and emerging trends, best practices and redacted case studies,
PLANT MACHINERY FRAUDSTER TO REPAY £900,000 OR FACE MORE JAIL TIME
Accountancy Daily on 8th February reported that a Leicestershire plant machinery salesman, who was jailed for tax fraud after he lied about his business’ sales, has been ordered to repay nearly £1 million or face a further 7 years behind bars.
UK PROPOSES CHANGES TO LAW IN BID TO PROTECT NATIONAL ARTEFACTS
The Art Law & More blog from Boodle Hatfield reports that the UK Government has proposed major changes to the Treasure Act 1996 in an effort to keep national treasures accessible to the public. It says that currently, the law states that for an artefact to be declared as treasure, and therefore be offered to a museum for first refusal, it must meet specific requirements, including being at least 300 years old, or if they are discovered alongside artefacts made of precious metal – and finders are at present under no obligation to report their discoveries. The proposals would include any item valued at over £10,000.
IRELAND: NEW OBLIGATIONS IMPOSED ON TRUSTS TO MAINTAIN A REGISTER OF BENEFICIAL OWNERS
On 6th February, Dillon Eustace published an article which says that, in implementing provisions of the 4th EU AML Directive, changes are requiring obligations to be imposed on trustees of trusts to identify beneficial owners. This follows the publication of largely similar legislation requiring corporate entities to identify their beneficial owners and create and maintain a beneficial ownership register in November 2016. The rules for trusts came into effect on 29th January.
EU – FALSIFIED MEDICINES: NEW RULES TO ENHANCE PATIENTS’ SAFETY
On 8th February, a news release from the EU signalled new rules on safety features for prescription medicines sold in the EU will apply from 9th February. Industry will have to affix a 2D barcode and an anti-tampering device on the box of prescription medicines. Pharmacies – including on-line pharmacies – and hospitals will have to check the authenticity of medicines before dispensing to patients. This is the final step in the implementation of the falsified Medicines Directive, adopted in 2011, aiming at guaranteeing the safety and quality of medicines sold in the EU. There is also a Q&A on the Directive.
CUTTING RED TAPE FOR SHIPS – EU MARITIME SINGLE WINDOW
On 8th February, a news release from the EU said that it is streamlining its ship reporting systems by creating a European maritime single window, which will bring together all reporting formalities associated with a port call – which will significantly reduce the administrative burden on the shipping sector. The European maritime single window environment will link the existing national maritime single windows together in a coordinated and harmonised way.
US: CONTRACTORS WHO SOLD BAD BODY ARMOUR TO GOVERNMENT ARE FOUND GUILTY OF FRAUD
The Stars and Stripe newspaper on 8th February reported that a pair of Florida contractors defrauded the US by selling old, cheap body armour to the federal government. Tactical Products Group, sold 10 sets of hard body armour to the government through a bigger contractor in 2012.
NEW ZEALAND: MAN ADMITS IMPORTING LIFELIKE CHILD SEX DOLL
The Daily Mail reported on a 8th February that a 58 year old man from New Zealand has admitted importing a child sex doll after customs officers discover a ‘life like’ model resembling a young child in a consignment from China. He pleaded guilty to importing a prohibited item and possessing an objectionable publication involving the sexual exploitation of children and is said to be the first person in New Zealand to be charged with importing a child sex doll.
BOLIVIA AND UNODC INAUGURATE PORT CONTROL UNIT TO BOOST FIGHT AGAINST ILLICIT DRUG TRAFFICKING
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime on 8th February reported that the Port Control Unit (PCU) in La Paz forms part of the Container Control Programme (CCP) and will help fight the illicit trafficking of drugs and other products. The UNODC/WCO CCP helps governments create effective container controls by improving the capacities of national customs, police, and the authorities in charge of applying the relevant laws. The improved control of containers serves to prevent the trafficking of illicit drugs and facilitates legitimate trade, thus also increasing domestic revenues. Officials will be trained and equipped so that their joint work allows the identification of risk profiles of containers that may be used for illicit drug trafficking, contraband, counterfeit products, trafficking in firearms and ammunition, crimes against flora and wildlife, falsified medical products, undeclared assets and tax evasion, among others – with a minimum interruption of legitimate trade.
PERU’S CRUSADE AGAINST CORRUPTION FACES SEVERE UPHILL STRUGGLE
Insight Crime on 8th February published an article saying that, with 4 former presidents embroiled in corruption scandals, Peru’s President Martín Vizcarra described 2019 as the year of the fight against corruption and impunity – but that an inquiry has now been opened into his dealings with Brazilian construction company Odebrecht.
CORRUPTION PROBE CATCHES UP WITH FORMER HONDURAS PRESIDENT PORFIRIO LOBO
On 7th February, Insight Crime reported that investigations involving former Honduras President Porfirio Lobo, his family and associates for corruption and drug trafficking pits the Attorney General’s Office directly against Lobo as it investigates him for diverting public funds.
THIRD SKRIPAL SUSPECT LINKED TO 2015 BULGARIA POISONING
Bellingcat on 7th February posted a report saying that it has determined that a third Russian GRU officer, who was in the UK at the time of the Skripals’ Novichok poisoning in March 2018, arrived in Bulgaria just days before a local entrepreneur and his son became seriously ill after being poisoned with an unidentified substance.
PHISHERS TARGET AML OFFICERS AT US CREDIT UNIONS
Krebbs on Security posted on 8th February about a highly targeted, malware-laced phishing campaign landed in the inboxes of multiple credit unions – sent only to specific AML contacts at credit unions.
FORMER PETROFAC EXECUTIVE PLEADED GUILTY TO UK BRIBERY ACT VIOLATIONS
The FCPA Blog on 7th February reported that the former global head of sales for Petrofac International Limited has pleaded guilty to Bribery Act violations related to over $50 million in bribes involving projects in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. He is said by SFO to have paid bribes to win contracts for Petrofac worth $730 million in Iraq and $3.5 billion in Saudi Arabia.
MALDIVES SEEKS FOREIGN AID TO FIND CASH LINKED TO OUSTED LEADER
On 8th February, the Daily Mail reported that the Maldives government is seeking international help to find millions of dollars allegedly siphoned off by former president Abdulla Yameen who faces embezzlement and money laundering charges, officials said.
HEAD OF LIBYA’S SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND DETAINED ON CORRUPTION SUSPICIONS
On 8 February, Asharq Al-Awsat reported that Libyan security forces arrested on Wednesday chairman of the sovereign wealth fund, Ali Mahmoud Hassan Mohamed, on for possible “corruption and exploitation of (his) position”. Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), established in order to oversee oil revenues, manages the sovereign fund holds about $66 billion-worth of mostly frozen assets under UN sanctions imposed in 2011 when Gaddafi was toppled.
NORTHERN IRELAND: COUNTERFEIT MONEY OPERATION CREATED £1 MILLION IN FAKE NOTES, COURT HEARS
Belfast Live on 8th February reported that 7 men were involved in a “sophisticated and highly organised” counterfeiting operation that produced £1 million in fake notes, a court heard.
AUSTRALIA: TOP BANKER HAS HER ASSETS – INCLUDING A $1 MILLION CHEQUE – FROZEN DURING FRAUD INVESTIGATION
The Daily Mail on 8th February reported that the former chief of staff to the boss of National Australia Bank has had $7.5 million of her assets frozen by police as she is investigated for alleged fraud. Rosemary Rogers, who resigned after 9 years at NAB in December, is accused of defrauding the bank of $500,000 to fund a lavish family holiday overseas.
9th February 2019
GHANA: TASKFORCE SEIZES SMUGGLED PETROLEUM PRODUCTS
Ghana Web on 9th February reported that a total of 28 Bulk Road Vehicles (BRV), 6 “canoes” (each canoe carried about 120,000 litres of petroleum products), 4 mobile pumps and 5 outboard motors in operations seizing 709,250 litres of illegally smuggled petroleum products. In addition, 15 BRV carrying 790,000 litres of export petroleum products were confiscated for attempting to unload the products into retail outlets in the country.
UK PUSHES TO TAKE SAUDIS OFF EU DIRTY MONEY BLACKLIST
Nasdaq on 8th February reported that the UK is leading a group of EU states who are trying to block an EU plan to include Saudi Arabia and 22 other jurisdictions on a blacklist of countries that pose money-laundering and terrorism financing threats; i.e. strategic deficiencies in their AML/CFT regimes that pose significant threats to the financial system of the EU. A draft list that adds Saudi Arabia, Panama and small Pacific and Caribbean islands to the existing list of 16 states, which currently includes Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea. Listed countries face higher scrutiny in their financial dealings with the EU, with banks forced to carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from those jurisdictions.
CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA AML/CFT MANUAL 2018
Proshare has made a pdf of this Manual available online for reading or downloading.
NEPAL: GOVERNMENT TO TIGHTEN GOLD TRADE CONTROLS
Eleven Myanmar reported on 9th February that, as the government prepares to enforce AML provision on bullion trade, gold traders will soon have to ask their customers to fill up a form or submit a photocopy of their identity card for transaction of gold and other precious metals. The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has recently been designated as the regulator of the domestic bullion market. The article says that Nepalese law categorises bullion traders as reporting entities that need to keep record of customers as well as report suspicious transactions to the designated authority; but this provision was not been enforced earlier, mainly due to the absence of a strong regulator of the sector. The FATF-style regional body APG is set to conduct mutual evaluation of Nepal’s compliance with AML/CFT standards and the government is taking steps to improve the compliance rate of identified vulnerable sectors.
FALSIFIED MEDICINES DIRECTIVE: SAFETY FEATURES
A blog post from MHRA Inspectorate on 8th February details the safety feature provisions that enter into force on 9th February for almost all prescription-only medicines which aim to prevent falsified medicinal products from entering the pharmaceutical supply chain –
- a unique identifier, in the form of a 2D data matrix barcode, allowing the verification of the authenticity and the identification of an individual pack of a medicinal product; and
- an anti-tampering device.
UK CHARTERED FLIGHT FLIES 29 SERIOUS FOREIGN CRIMINALS TO JAMAICA
On 6th February, a blog post from the Home Office said that on 6th February, 29 serious foreign criminals were flown to Jamaica on a chartered flight. The crimes committed by the individuals include murder, rape and serious violence. The total combined sentence of their crimes is over 150 years imprisonment.