23rd February 2019
EU TO AMEND UNION GENERAL EXPORT AUTHORISATION IN THE EVENT OF A NO DEAL BREXIT
On 29th January, an informative blog post on World Trade Controls about the proposal by the EU Commission to add the UK to the list of destinations covered by the Union General Export Authorization (EU001) for dual-use goods if there is a no deal Brexit on 29th March. EU001 currently covers Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland (including Lichtenstein), and the USA. It explains that general licences merely require timely registration, usually at least 2 weeks before actual export takes place. They are not completely without administrative burden, however. Use of general licenses needs to be expressly stated in Box 44 of the respective customs declarations and national regulators will normally require periodical reports on the exports that have taken place under a general licence. EU001 includes all dual-use goods listed on Annex I to EU Dual-Use Regulation 428/2009, but excludes the goods listed on its Annex IIg (e.g. certain software and technology for the design, production or use of specified nuclear-related goods; and certain pathogens and toxins hazardous for humans and animals).
MONEY LAUNDERING CASES UP 94% IN MALTA LAST YEAR
Xinhua on 23rd February reported that the “Reported Crime Annual Report 2018” also said that the number of reported cases of fraud in Malta have increased by 31% over the past year. The police force’s economic crimes unit would be strengthened following the rise in reported cases of financial crime.
EU VISA POLICY: COMMISSION WELCOMES AGREEMENT TO STRENGTHEN EU VISA RULES
On 20th February, an EU news release advised that Member States had endorsed the agreement reached by the European Parliament and the Council on the Commission’s proposal to modernise the EU’s common visa policy, adapting the rules to evolving security concerns, challenges linked to migration and new opportunities offered by technological developments. The agreed changes are intended to make it easier for legitimate travellers to obtain a visa to come to Europe, facilitating tourism, trade and business, whilst strengthening security and reducing irregular migration risks.
NIGERIA: GOVERNMENT WINS RIGHT TO PROSECUTE JP MORGAN CHASE OVER OIL FRAUD
All Africa on 23rd February reported that the High Court in London has granted Nigeria’s plea to allow it proceed with the trial involving JPMorgan Chase. The bank is alleged to have enabled the misappropriation of state funds totalling $875 million over the Oil Prospecting Licence, OPL 245. JPMorgan Chase had failed to halt the prosecution brought against it by the Federal Government.
WIFE OF GUATEMALAN PRESIDENT INVESTIGATED FOR CASHING ILLEGAL CHEQUES
Reuters reported on 22nd February that the wife of Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales will be investigated on suspicion of cashing illicit cheques made out to her and her husband totalling more than $30,000, the country’s top prosecutor said.
ALBANIAN MAFIA FLOODING BRITAIN WITH DRUGS AS IT GRASPS £5 BILLION COCAINE MARKET
The Mirror reported on 22nd February that violent gangs from Albania have reportedly taken control of the UK drugs trade.
US DOJ CIVIL FORFEITURE COMPLAINTS SEEKING THE FORFEITURE AND RECOVERY OF APPROXIMATELY $38 MILLION IN ASSETS IN 1MDB CASE
A news release on Mondo Visione on 22nd February said that the DoJ had announced further filing of civil forfeiture complaints seeking the forfeiture and recovery of approximately $38 million in assets allegedly associated with an international conspiracy to launder funds misappropriated from 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a Malaysian sovereign wealth fund. They identify additional assets traceable to the 2012 and 2013 bond offerings – including luxury real estate in London, proceeds from the sale of luxury real estate in New York City, and converted equity in a facilities management company headquartered in Kentucky. A civil forfeiture complaint is merely an allegation that money or property was involved in or represents the proceeds of a crime. These allegations are not proven until a court awards judgment in favour of the US.
FATF GIVES IRAN UNTIL JUNE TO PASS MONEY LAUNDERING LAWS
Reporting on the recent FATF Plenary, Rferl reports that FATF has given Iran 4months to pass AML/CFT rules or face increased international scrutiny of its banks.
IRELAND: WITHDRAWAL OF THE UNITED KINGDOM FROM THE EUROPEAN UNION (CONSEQUENTIAL PROVISIONS) BILL 2019
On 22nd February, law firm Matheson released an article about this just-published Bill in Ireland. It deals with changes to Irish laws that will be needed in the event of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without an agreement on 29th March. The Bill consists of 15 different parts which fall under the remit of 9 different government ministers. It is due before the parliament for review the week commencing 11th March.
The Bill’s Explanatory Memorandum states that a key part of Ireland’s planning and preparations is protecting and maintaining the Common Travel Area (CTA) and the associated rights and privileges. Both the Irish and British Governments are committed to maintaining the CTA in all circumstances, and have committed to undertaking all the work necessary, including through legislative provision, to ensure that the CTA rights and privileges are protected.
US CONGRESS COMMITTEE: “GRAVE CONCERNS” CONCERNING NUCLEAR TECH TRANSFERS TO SAUDI ARABIA
World ECR reported that a US House of Representatives’ committee has published a report following, it said, ‘multiple whistleblowers [having come forward] to warn about efforts inside the White House to rush the transfer of highly sensitive US nuclear technology to Saudi Arabia in potential violation of the Atomic Energy Act and without review by Congress as required by law – efforts that may be ongoing to this day’. The report includes leaked memos, and a timeline suggesting an inner circle formed in part by retired generals who have been advancing a plan to sell nuclear power to Saudi since Donald Trump took office.
FORMER ENRON CEO RELEASED FROM PRISON
On 22nd February, Jurist reported that Jeffrey Skilling, founder and ex-CEO of Enron, imprisoned for his involvement in the high-profile corporate fraud scandal publicised in 2001, was released from US federal custody after serving more than 12 years in prison. It says that more than $40 million of Skilling’s fortune, which has been frozen since his conviction in 2006, will be distributed to victims of Enron’s collapse.
THE COMMON FACTOR IN OFAC PENALTY ACTIONS THIS YEAR
A blog post in the Trade Sanctions Blog from Holland & Hart on 22nd February says that there is one principle similarity in the violations involved in all 4 OFAC penalties cases so far this year, and that reveals OFAC’s highest enforcement priorities. In all 4 cases, the violating companies ignored warning signs which clearly indicated increased risk of sanctions violations. OFAC expects companies to have compliance programmes commensurate with their overall risk.
“SHISHA BARS NEED LICENSING” TO TACKLE SERIOUS CRIME AND WEAK SMOKE-FREE LAWS
The Local Government Association in the UK on 23rd February said that licensing powers are needed to help councils tackle shisha bars that repeatedly flout smoking and fire safety laws, and in the worst cases are linked to organised crime. The number of shisha bars has more than trebled in recent years with more than half of councils now having a bar or café open in their area.
PRIVATE EYE QUESTIONS DERIPASKA’S HONESTY, AND HENCE THE VALUE OF THE RELAXATION OF US SANCTIONS MEASURES
In its 22nd February print edition, Private Eye magazine questioned the lifting of US sanctions on Rusal and its parent, En+, after Oleg Deripaska seemingly reduced his shareholding to 44%, leaving the boards and handing voting controls to independent trustees. It does by recalling the comments of a judge in a case before the High Court in London, where he was less than impressed by the honesty and evidence of both Deripaska and the claimant in the case, fellow Russian Vladimir Chernukhin. The judge said that it was a “depressing fact…there is good reason to doubt the honesty of each of the principal actors in the case”. Specifically about Deripaska, the judge said that after he gave evidence that deripaska “did not appear…to be a witness who wished to assist the court in ascertaining the truth,,,It would be wholly unsafe to rely upon his evidence save where it was not disputed…”. The judge also referred to Deripaska making “dishonest attempt” to provide “false evidence”. Mind you, the judge’s comments about the other party to the case lead the magazine to comment that Chernukhin is just the type of “questionable” Russian money accepted by successive UK governments.