30th March 2019
UKRAINE’S SECURITY SERVICE SEIZES AMMUNITION EXCEPT ROCKETS IN ODESA
On 30th March, 112 UA reported that military equipment said to belong to JSC Rosoboronexport, the sole state intermediary agency for Russia’s exports/imports of defence-related and dual-use products, technologies and services. The equipment included grenade launchers RPG-7, RPG-18, RPG-22, anti-tank shells, anti-personnel mines, and TNT blocks, stored only with the number of containers and estimated weight. This is said to have followed the seizure of 36 Russian surface-to-air missiles for man-portable “Pechora” air defence systems.
MYANMAR SEIZES LARGEST CRYSTAL METH EXPORT HAUL THIS YEAR
Outlook India on 30th March reported that Myanmar authorities seized more than 1,700 kg of crystal meth worth nearly $29 million, the biggest haul of 2019 in a country widely believed to be the world’s largest methamphetamine producer – with a largely unchecked supply of precursor chemicals flooding in from China. It is smuggled out of Myanmar via sophisticated networks to lucrative developed markets as far away as Japan, South Korea, and Australia. Myanmar Navy stopped a boat with 7 people aboard off the coast.
US BILL WOULD IMPROVE BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP POSITION
An article from Ballard Spahr on 29th March detailed the contents of a Bill introduced into the US House of Representatives that would extend the AML/CFT provisions of the Bank Secrecy Act and seeks to ensure that persons who form legal entities in the US disclose the beneficial owners of those entities. Although such a law would have broad application, the Act does not include “formation agents”, i.e. those who assist in the creation of legal entities such as corporations and LLC — in the definition of financial institutions subject to the BSA. The Bill focuses on bolstering beneficial ownership disclosure – the subject of regular criticism of the US system.
UK BOOKMAKERS PREPARE FOR STORE CLOSURES AS FOBT STAKE IS CUT
The Guardian on 30th March reported that bookmakers are preparing to shut shops and push customers towards online gambling, as they brace for a reduction in the FOBT stakes (from a maximum £100 to £2) from 2nd April. Ladbrokes has already chosen 71 out of 1,000 shops that are likely to close. The Association of British Bookmakers predicted that up to 4,500 shops could shut – more than half of all the shops in the UK – though estimates from the big bookmakers so far indicate a toll closer to 2,300.
IRELAND: MEN ADMIT INDUCING PEOPLE TO INVEST €5 MILLION IN FORESTRY SCAM
Bray People on 30th March carried an article saying that 2 men ran a ‘Ponzi scheme’ in which they induced dozens to invest over €5 million in a forestry investment scam. They were involved in Arden Forestry Management (Arden FM) between January 2014 and mid-2016 during which 143 foreign investors were induced to deposit approximately €5.5 million into the company’s accounts. It is said that investments would have required around 858 acres of land to be serviced but the company only owned 30.2 acres of land.
JUDGMENTS OBTAINED BY DEPLOYING FRAUDULENT EVIDENCE WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO STAND
On 27th March, Shoosmiths published an article discusses the mantra that “fraud unravels all” and that judgments obtained by deploying fraudulent evidence will not be allowed to stand, in the light of a recent UK Supreme Court decision. One side argued that the claim involved was an abuse of process as the matter had already been decided and any fraud could have been discovered at the time of the original proceedings. If so, either cause of action estoppel or issue estoppel (aka res judicata), had to be heard as a preliminary issue and the Court considered both cause of action estoppel and issue estoppel. The Court of Appeal had held that there was an abuse of process, and the Supreme Court agreed with this – but said that fraud had not been in issue between the parties in the original proceedings, and it was also a matter of public policy that fraud should override the general principles.
PAKISTAN: WORLD BANK SUSPENDS $200 MILLION WATER DEVELOPMENT PROJECT LOAN
Pakistan Today on 30th March reported that the World Bank has suspended a $200 million loan due to allegations of corruption in Balochistan Integrated Water Resource Management and Development Project. The project beneficiaries were supposed to be small-holding farmers and medium-holding farmers engaged in irrigated agriculture, and approximately 42,800 farm households were supposed to benefit from the project’s interventions. However, after the award of contracts allegations were made about false information being provided and complaints to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) about the alleged corruption in awarding civil works.
BBC CATCHES ROGUE TRADERS SELLING BLACK-MARKET RECEIPTS
On 30th March, the BBC reported an investigation which has discovered rogue traders are selling tens of thousands of pounds’ worth of receipts and invoices in a black-market trade to cheat UK taxes.
IRELAND: CORPORATE BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP – CENTRAL REGISTER REQUIREMENTS IMMINENT
On 29th March, McCann Fitzgerald reported that many Irish corporate entities are, since 15th November 2016, required to maintain registers containing their respective beneficial ownership information under the EU (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Corporate Entities) Regulations 2016. This requirement has now been restated and supplemented in the recent EU (Anti-Money Laundering: Beneficial Ownership of Corporate Entities) Regulations 2019, which replace the 2016 Regulations from 22nd March. It details what the new Regulations do, and sets out the deadlines for submitting information – 22nd November for existing entities (i.e. those in existence before 22nd June), and within 5 months of being incorporated for new entities.
INDIA: ENFORCEMENT OF FOREIGN JUDGMENTS 2019
On 28th March, Clyde & Co made available a chapter from International Comparative Legal Guide to Enforcement of Foreign Judgments 2019, which offers a practical cross-border insight into the enforcement of foreign judgments in India.
GIBRALTAR: THE SPAIN-GIBRALTAR TAX TREATY
On 23rd March, the Gibraltar Chronicle published an article saying that the tax treaty covering Gibraltar and Spain is at the centre of a fierce political row over its implications for the Gibraltar community. The government insists it is a good deal that normalises tax relations with Spain and includes recognition, for the first time, of the Gibraltarian and Gibraltar’s authorities. The article says that most of the provisions in the tax treaty are already in place through EU Directives, or could be implemented by Spain unilaterally – in other words, most of the core provisions in the tax treaty, particularly when it comes to individuals, apply already. For example, the treaty sets out provisions too for the exchange of information on individuals and companies, something which has alarmed many people in the community with interests in Spain – but the reality is that, for the most part, such data already flows across the border in both directions under EU rules on tax information exchange. The treaty has been agreed signed and, once ratified by the UK – on Gibraltar’s behalf – and Spain, it will come into force.
REPORT ON ALLEGED “ENABLERS” OF RUSSIAN INFLUENCE IN EUROPE
On 27th March, the CSIS Europe Program and the Center for the Study of Democracy published a report – The Kremlin Playbook 2: The Enablers – which sets out to explore whether jurisdictions and companies could be enabling forces that amplify Russian malign economic influence in some countries in Europe. The study analysed the following case study countries: Austria, Czech Republic, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, and Romania. The report claims to show that some countries facilitate of enable Russian malign economic influence, and by doing so these enablers actively participate in the weakening and discrediting of their own democratic structures. It says that the US and its European allies must take decisive action to limit Russia’s malign behaviour in their financial systems.