US TO ALLOW PRIVATE ACTIONS AGAINST ENTITIES ON CUBA RESTRICTED LIST

A briefing from Baker McKenzie on 7th March said that, from 19th March, the suspension of the right to bring private actions in US federal court against Cuban entities handling confiscated property under the Helms-Burton Act will not apply to Cuban entities or sub-entities identified on the State Department’s List of Restricted Entities and Sub-entities Associated with Cuba.  The right to sue all other Cuban entities and foreign entities under the Act has been further suspended, but only for a 45-day period to April 17th.  The Act allows US nationals who formerly owned commercial property expropriated by the Cuban Government after the country’s 1959 revolution to file suit in US courts against persons (including foreign companies) that may be “trafficking” in that property.  The threat to lift restrictions is likely an effort to pressure the Cuban government, which has been supportive of the Maduro regime in Venezuela, it says.  It advises that companies doing business in or with Cuba may wish to begin assessing their potential exposure to potentially trafficked property – particularly if the suspension on “other Cuban and foreign entities” is not renewed after 17th April.

http://sanctionsnews.bakermckenzie.com/us-government-to-allow-private-actions-under-helms-burton-act-against-entities-on-cuba-restricted-list/

https://www.winston.com/en/thought-leadership/state-department-to-allow-lawsuits-against-certain-entities-that-traffic-in-property-confiscated-by-the-cuban-government.html

 

HMRC LAUNCHES FIRST INVESTIGATIONS USING NEW CORPORATE MONEY LAUNDERING POWERS

City AM on 10th march reported that HMRC is investigating a handful of cases under the corporate criminal offence of failure to prevent the facilitation of UK tax evasion which was introduced in the Criminal Finances Act 2017 as part of a crackdown on money laundering.  It is described as a strict liability offence, meaning that companies can be convicted even if they claim the actions were of rogue individuals.

http://www.cityam.com/274447/hmrc-launches-first-investigations-using-new-corporate

VENEZUELAN MINISTER AND FORMER VICE PRESIDENT CHARGED WITH SANCTIONS OFFENCES IN US

On 8th March, a news release from US Immigration and Customs Enforcement reported that the former Venezuelan Vice President Tareck Zaidan El Aissami Maddah and a Venezuelan businessman, Samark Jose Lopez Bello, had been charged with criminal violations of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act and sanctions imposed in February 2017 by OFAC.  They are said to have violated US Sanctions in connection with their use of private jets – evading the sanctions imposed by OFAC by employing US companies to provide international transport via private jet.  Related charges under the Act were also filed against a number of others.

https://www.ice.gov/news/releases/venezuelan-minister-and-former-vice-president-tareck-zaidan-el-aissami-maddah-charged

AUSTRALIA: 2 CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGES SUSPENDED FOR DRUG OFFENCES

KYC 360 reported on 11th March that AUSTRAC, the national AML agency, had suspended the licences of 2 cryptocurrency exchanges after a police investigation found the businesses were being exploited for drug trafficking.  This was under new legislation introduced in April 2018 that brought digital currency exchanges under its controls to ensure cryptocurrencies were monitored the same way as cash exchanges and transfers.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/australia-watchdog-suspends-two-cryptocurrency-exchanges-for-drug-offences/