On 19th March, the Home Office issued a fact sheet, partly perhaps because of criticism that right-wing extremism is under-estimated, with most emphasis on Islamic extremism.
EU Regulation 2019/429/EU of 19th March supplements EU Regulation 2017/821/EU and sets out rules on the methodology and criteria allowing the EU Commission to assess whether supply chain due diligence schemes concerning tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold facilitate the fulfilment of the requirements of 2017 Regulation by economic operators and to recognise such schemes. The 2018=7 Regulation sets out due diligence obligations for EU importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold which will apply from 1st January 2021; and is designed to provide transparency and certainty as regards the supply practices of EU importers and of smelters and refiners sourcing from conflict-affected and high-risk areas. However, a number of voluntary supply chain due diligence schemes with the same or similar objectives and it is necessary to establish the methodology and the criteria to be used by the EU Commission to determine whether such a scheme should be granted recognition by the Commission.
On 19th March, HMRC published materials designed to help stakeholders inform their customers about changes to the rules for reporting and paying import VAT on parcels for sellers outside the UK if it leaves the EU without a deal.
On 19th March, EU Regulation 2019/432/EU confirmed the removal from the Iraq sanctions lists of the GENERAL ESTABLISHMENT FOR MAIN OUT PALL DRAIN; the NATIONAL TOBACCO STATE COMPANY; the STATE ENTERPRISE FOR PETROCHEMICAL INDUSTRIES; and the STATE ENTERPRISE FOR PULP AND PAPER INDUSTRIES. This followed the decision of the relevant UN sanctions committee on 13th March.
From 20th March, EU Regulation 2019/431/EU amends the listing of Hamza Usama Muhammad bin Laden under the ISIL/Al-Qaida/Da’esh sanctions, bringing its listing into line with that of the UN.
An article from RPC on 19th March was concerned with a claim by the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC), which was a contractor in the offshore oil and gas sector. In 2012, it paid $87 million to a company established in the BVI and controlled by one of the defendants, Dean, as an advance payment for an oil rig. Dean failed to acquire the relevant oil rig the payment was misappropriated by several of the defendants, including IOEC’s managing director at the time. The English High Court found in favour of IOEC in almost all respects. The then MD had been central to the fraud and the other defendants in the proceedings had provided wide-ranging assistance. Some of the defendants used an illegality defence, and argued that IOEC should not succeed due to the sanctions on trading with Iran in place at the time, which they said made the transactions involved illegal. The article says that the case involved considerations of illegality and of public policy, and required the court to ask itself whether such considerations defeated the otherwise good claims brought by IOEC. To decide the questions, the High Court applied the test laid out in Patel v Mirza. RPC says that this case provides an interesting example of the extent to which entities complicit in the breach of EU sanctions are still able to bring legal proceedings relating to matters arising out of those breaches.
On 19th March, the Isle of Man announced that Wael Abdulkarim remained subject to financial sanctions, despite earlier incorrect statements to the contrary.
It also announced that Alexander Vladimirovich Zakharchenko had been removed from sanctions lists.