12th February 2019
FRAUD, NON-EXISTENT GOODS AND SHIPPING INSURANCE
An article from Colin Biggers and Paisley on 21st January is concerned with a recent English High Court case involving a claim for a lost cargo of copper ingots that, in fact, never existed – fraudulent documents had been used. The standard insurance cover clause invoked was held not to cover the loss. The article says that the case is a warning to insurers and insured to ensure that their insurance cover really is entirely adequate. It also serves as a reminder of the existence and risk of fraud in shipping of goods, and that the factor needs to be taken into account with changes such as the used of blockchain-based process are introduced.
EUROPE: DRUG DEALERS USED HAWALA, GOLD LAUNDERING TO MOVE MILLIONS MONTHLY
KYC 360 on 12th February carried an article saying that police in France and Italy have swooped in on suspected members of a gang that operated a ‘complex’ network which involved moving between €5 million and €7 million a month to Algeria. They are said to have used the hawala system, and “gold laundering”, whereby part of the cash money collected was sent to Italy to buy gold from unscrupulous business intermediaries.
ANOTHER SUPERYACHT LINKED TO THE 1MDB CASE
The Edge Markets website on 11th February carried an article saying that, while much attention has been focused on the $250 million Equanimity that Jho Low bought with stolen 1MDB money, Malaysia may yet be able to make a claim on an even bigger super yacht — Topaz. It says that close to $140 million that originated in 1MDB is believed to have been used to pay for the $400 million Topaz, which was built in 2012 for its beneficial owner, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the owner of Manchester City FC. It says that Oceanus Maritime is the registered owner of Topaz and is a company set up in the Isle of Man.
EU COMMISSION WELCOMES THE AGREEMENT ON ENHANCED RULES TO FIGHT TERRORIST FINANCING
On 12th February, the EU said that the European Parliament and the Council had reached a political agreement on the Commission’s proposal to facilitate cross-border access to financial information by law enforcement authorities. The new measures will allow police to quickly access crucial financial information for criminal investigations, boosting the EU’s response to terrorism and other serious crime.
MICRONESIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL ARRESTED IN MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME INVOLVING FOREIGN BRIBERY
A US DoJ news release on 12th February reported that charges were unsealed against a Micronesian government official for his alleged participation in a money laundering scheme involving bribes made to corruptly secure engineering and project management contracts from the government of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). In a related matter, in January, a US executive pleaded guilty for his role in a scheme to, among other things, bribe the Micronesian official in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
MANHATTAN LUXURY CONDOS LINKED TO VENEZUELAN MONEY LAUNDERING
The Real Deal, which covers New York real estate, on 12th February said that there are allegedly 7 properties said to be linked to a currency exchange scam. They are said to be worth more than $40 million.
MALTA POLICE INVESTIGATION AND MAGISTERIAL INQUIRY INTO SPANISH TUNA COMPANY UNDERWAY
Malta Today on 12th February said that police have asked Europol for information that has surfaced in Spain on the Maltese director of fisheries, implicating the Maltese Andreina Fenech Farrugia in bribery.
RABOBANK FINED €1 MILLION FOR AML FAILINGS
NL Times on 12th February reported that the Dutch central bank, RNB, fined the bank for inadequacies with its customer files and not doing adequate checks on money flows.
UK AID HELPS STOP 750 PIECES OF ILLEGAL IVORY BEING SMUGGLED FROM SOUTH SUDAN INTO UGANDA
On 12th February, a news release from the Department for International Development said that scanners funded by UK aid have helped the Ugandan Revenue Authority make one of the largest seizures of wildlife contraband the country has ever seen. The technology, known as ‘mobile non-intrusive inspection scanners’, were able to show how logs had been hollowed out and filled with the illegal wildlife goods. The smugglers poured wax inside to make the logs appear hollow and resealed them.
CBI FRAUD RACKET CLAIMS
On 11th February, Kenneth Rijock in his blog reported on an apparent scam by unscrupulous “consultants” in the Persian Gulf.
NO ORDER FOR COSTS FOLLOWING WITHDRAWN POCA FORFEITURE APPLICATION
On 27th January, the UK Police Law Blog carried a post about a recent decision of the High Court that a district judge was correct to make no order for costs against the police after it withdrew its Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 application for cash forfeiture. The starting point is that no order for costs should be made provided that the public authority has acted reasonably and properly, and reaffirms the high threshold faced by successful parties challenging a POCA forfeiture application.
LARGEST GOLD DEPOSIT IN ECUADOR IS IN THE HANDS OF ORGANISED CRIME
Insight Crime on 12th February reported that a gold vein was discovered in 2017 that experts say could be one of the largest in South America. Within 24 hours, nearly 700 people were already illegally mining the gold, and there are now an estimated 3,000 people involved in mining in the area. Criminals have moved in, including former FARC members.
RECORD SETTING 30-TONNE PANGOLIN SEIZURE IN SABAH AHEAD OF WORLD PANGOLIN DAY
The Traffic website on 11th February reported that, following large seizures of pangolin scales amounting to 10 tonnes in Viet Nam, Hong Kong and Uganda over the previous 2 weeks, authorities in Malaysia have announced the discovery of 2 major pangolin processing facilities stocked with thousands of boxes of pangolin meat in the state of Sabah. It is the biggest such bust Malaysia has seen to date. The haul included about 1,800 boxes full of frozen pangolins stuffed inside 3 refrigerated containers, 572 more frozen pangolins in 6 freezers, 61 live pangolins in cages and in a car boot and 361 kg of pangolin scales. 2 bear paws and carcasses of 4 flying fox were also recovered.
WORLD FIRST AS COURT SAYS SHIP’S MALTA MORTGAGE OVERRIDES FOREIGN AUCTION
Hellenic Shipping News reported in an article dated 13th February that a ship has been arrested in Malta after a creditor obtained a Maltese court order claiming a judicial sale by auction of the ship in Jamaica was ignored. The vessel got into financial distress whilst in Haiti and Jamaica and was arrested by a number of creditors in Jamaica. The ship was subsequently sold and re-registered in Liberia. Then the ship was arrested on the basis of the mortgage in June 2018 as it passed through Maltese territorial waters for bunkering. The website says that this is a first case in the international scene where a vessel was arrested following a judicial sale by creditors on the basis of a mortgage registered prior to that judicial sale.
CANADA INTRODUCES DEFERRED PROSECUTION AGREEMENTS
On 12th February, the FCPA Blog reported that Canada has joined a global trend in white collar and corporate crime law enforcement with the introduction of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) regime. Its Remediation Agreement Regime (RAR came into force in September 2018.