17th February 2019
SLP NOT COMPLYING WITH UK RULES AND NOT BEING PUNISHED
On 14th February, PYMNTS.com reported that nearly half of Scottish limited partnerships (SLP) corporate structures, that are tied to money laundering, do not meet the ownership regulation, but haven’t faced any punishment since the rules aren’t enforced, according to the Financial Times. Since 2017, SLP have had to record details about their shareholders with the Companies House, but as of the start of 2019, only 47% of the 32,500 SLP have registered shareholders with 25% or more stake in the company.
REPORT EXPOSES TAX EVASION BY PNG LOGGERS
Radio New Zealand on 15th February says that a report by the Oakland Institute, titled The Great Timber Heist Continued, follows a 2016 report which alleged financial misreporting by foreign firms, resulting in the non-payment of hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes – with grand scale tax evasion by logging companies operating in Papua New Guinea. The report is said to be based on case studies of 16 logging subsidiaries, and shows some loggers have reported a doubling of their losses while increasing exports of tropical timber.
CHINESE NATIONAL AND AMERICAN INDICTED IN TRADE SECRET THEFT CONSPIRACY
The Knox News in the US reported on 14th February that a Chinese national and an American – You Xiaorong, 56, and Liu Xiangchen, 61 – are charged with conspiring to steal trade secrets worth more than $119 million with the goal of benefiting Chinese companies. The pair are accused of conspiring with a third person to steal trade secret information related to formulas for bisphenol-A-free (BPA-free) coatings.
US JUDGE RULES FORMER VENEZUELAN OIL MINISTER OWES $1.4 BILLION
Reuters on 15th February reported that a federal judge in Houston ordered a former Venezuelan oil minister to pay the owners of a defunct Houston oil company $1.4 billion in damages in a fraud suit. Rafael Ramirez did not contest Harvest Natural Resources’ claims.
MALTA: TUNA BRIBERY CLAIMS
Malta Today on 15th February reported that former fisheries minister Andreina Fenech Farrugia has denied soliciting bribes from tuna farm operators insisting she legitimately asked for payments when companies requested higher fish quotas. She also revealed that she had been questioned over the past few months by a Maltese magistrate leading an inquiry into alleged wrongdoing by the Spanish tuna farm operator. In October, Spanish authorities made several arrests after they lifted the lid on what is called Operation Tarantella.
EU COMMISSION WELCOMES POLITICAL AGREEMENT ON UPDATED RULES FOR EXPLOSIVE PRECURSORS
A news release from the EU on 14th February said that Member States have endorsed the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the Commission’s proposal to strengthen EU rules on explosive precursors, which will ensure stronger safeguards and controls on the sale of dangerous chemicals that can be misused for the production of home-made explosives. The EU first put in place rules to restrict access to explosive precursors that could be used to make home-made explosives in 2013. The new EU Regulation will now need to be formally adopted by the European Parliament and the Council. It will become applicable by Member States 18 months following the date of entry into force.
BREXIT AND EU SANCTIONS THREATEN TO PUSH CAMBODIA INTO ECONOMIC CRISIS
Nikkei Asian Review on 11th February reported that Cambodia is teetering on the verge of economic crisis, as it faces higher export tariffs into the UK due to Brexit at a time when the EU is considering suspending duty-free access to punish Prime Minister Hun Sen for political suppression.
TIMBER SMUGGLING A MAJOR THREAT TO FORESTS IN NORTH-WESTERN IRAN
On 17th February, the Tehran Times reported that in the current year (starting in March 2018) over 450 tons of smuggled log has been seized, which were being smuggled to the northern provinces of the country., and that a new law has worsened the situation in western and north-western forests and led to greater smuggling of logs.
KEW GARDENS JOINS BATTLE AGAINST INTERNATIONAL LOG SMUGGLING
The Telegraph on 17th February reported that Kew Gardens is joining the battle against international log smuggling by opening its historic archive of wood samples to inspectors battling the trade.
ISRAEL: 9 PEOPLE ARRESTED IN RELATION TO CORRUPTION AFFAIR AT MINISTRY OF HEALTH
Y Net News on 17th February reported that it is suspected that the official provided licenses to food businesses in exchange for bribes.
PAKISTAN: ARCHAEOLOGY DIRECTOR MISAPPROPRIATED PRECIOUS ANTIQUES, SCULPTURES
On 17th February, the News International reported that soucres say that Director of Archaeology and Museums Dr Abdus Samad has been arrested on serious charges relating to missing expensive archaeological relics and statues and corruption in some projects.
UK FACT SHEET: RETURNEES FROM THE CONFLICT ZONE IN SYRIA
On 15th February, the Home Office Blog published a post which set out to explain the Home Office approach to managing this issue.
SOUTH KOREA RESUMES IRAN OIL IMPORT
On 16th February, Customs Today reported that South Korea has resumed imports of Iranian oil in January after a 4-month hiatus. It won a 6-month waiver in November from US sanctions on Tehran’s oil exports, but did not immediately start imports, mainly due to payment and insurance issues.
TURKEY ‘READY’ TO LAUNCH IRAN TRADE CHANNEL TO BYPASS US SANCTIONS
On 16th February, Customs Today reported that President Erdogan has announced that Turkey is “ready” to establish its own trade mechanism with Iran, allowing companies from the countries to continue doing “legitimate” business amid US sanctions.
ARMENIAN ARMY EQUIPPED WITH NEW DRONES OF LOCAL PRODUCTION
News AM on 15th February reported that the Armenian armed forces are equipped with new Armenia-produced drones – improved ARMI-55M drones for reconnaissance. It also mentioned that the development of new generation drones, including weapon-equipped drones, has started.
DRONES ARE BOOMING BUSINESS IN THE MIDDLE EAST
On 24th January, the European Forum on Armed Drones published an article following a December RUSI report on drone use in the Middle East. It also provides a link to the RUSI online database, where you click on the specific countries and see what types are in use and where the drones are obtained. The paper outlines China’s growing role as a drone exporter to the region, and its industry trying to get a foothold with national industries.
WOLFSBERG GROUP ENDORSEMENT FOR UNITED FOR WILDLIFE TASKFORCE ILLEGAL WILDLIFE TRADE (IWT) FINANCIAL CRIME DECLARATION
On 15th February, the Wolfsberg group of international banks said that it commits that its members “will not knowingly facilitate or tolerate financial flows that are derived from IWT and associated corruption”. In addition to being signatories of the declaration, a number of member banks have also taken the extra step to be prominent participants in the Taskforce.
For more information on the IWT financial crime taskforce, see the United for Wildlife website, where it is said that illegal wildlife trade is transnational organised crime with a significant financial element. Worldwide, for every wildlife product sourced illegally, money changes hands – whether in domestic pet stores, on online marketplaces or under the eyes of corrupt officials. It refers to the Mansion House Declaration of October 2018, which lays out 6 commitments, including the dedication to share resources and intelligence in a bid to disrupt the illegal income generated by poached animal products such as elephant tusks, rhino horn and pangolin scales.
NEW ANTI-CORRUPTION/ANTI-CRIME BILL IN BRAZIL
On 15th February, a post on the FCPA Blog reported that a new Bill proposed in Brazil which proposes modifications in 14 existing laws, ensuring the enforcement of the conviction after an appellate court judgment, increasing the effectiveness of the jury, guaranteeing the serving of the sentences, increasing the penalties for crimes related to firearms, reforming the crime of “resistance,” and criminalising slush funds. It would also provide for negotiated solutions and whistleblower incentives.
MOZAMBICAN EX-PRESIDENT’S SON ARRESTED IN $2 BILLION FRAUDULENT DEBT CASE
Reuters on 17th February reported that former Mozambican president Armando Guebuza’s son has been arrested in connection with a $2 billion government debt scandal, state-owned media and a judicial source said. It comes just over a month after 3 ex-Credit Suisse bankers were charged in the US with fraud over their role in a 2013. Ndambi Guebuza, the oldest of Guebuza’s 4 children, became the 9th person detained in the case.
TAIWAN CONCERNED ABOUT SPAIN SENDING FRAUD SUSPECTS TO CHINA AGAIN
Focus Taiwan on 17th February reported that Spain has deported another 2 Taiwanese citizens suspected of involvement in telecoms fraud to China. They were part of a large group of 219 Taiwanese nationals arrested for alleged involvement in fraud in late 2016.