OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 30

30th April 2019

FORMER MOSSAD CHIEF SAYS US MUST BLOCK USE OF MALAYSIA TO CIRCUMVENT IRAN SANCTIONS

The Jerusalem Post on 29th April reported that Danny Yatom has said that the US, not Israel, must take the lead in preventing the use of Malaysia to circumvent sanctions on Iran.  With the end of the oil waiver due on 2nd May, he says it not just the big countries like China that matter.  The article says there have been past reports of close contact between Iran and the Malaysian state-owned oil company, Petronas, and that the two countries have established an alliance to evade sanctions.

https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Ex-Mossad-chief-US-must-block-Iran-Malaysia-sanctions-end-run-588199

ANATOMY OF A MUDDLE: US SANCTIONS AGAINST RUSAL AND OLEG DERIPASKA

On 29th April, the Foreign Policy Research Institute in the US published a paper which looks at this recent case, and argues that the sanctioning of replaceable individuals should be abandoned in favour of sanctioning irreplaceable Russian industries, and that the US should announce that sanctions will be imposed on a given Russian company only after a relatively long grace period of perhaps 9 months to a year, during which time US partners and allies could find new sources of supply (although surely this gives time for the company affected, its suppliers, customers and associates, time to find and set up alternative arrangements?).

https://www.fpri.org/article/2019/04/anatomy-of-a-muddle-u-s-sanctions-against-rusal-and-oleg-deripaska/

TACKLING THE TRADE IN ENDANGERED MARINE SPECIES

Eco-Business on 30th April reported that earlier this year in Rome, scientists from around the world debated the need to control trade in the endangered shortfin mako shark.  The meeting of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) was to determine if this species, along with a handful of others, should be given protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) – but the expert panel declaring insufficient evidence to list the species.  The article says that, in theory, a CITES listing should put a species on the radar of law enforcement agencies, as the treaty calls for strict controls on imports and exports – but that doesn’t stop smugglers.  One estimate quoted is that only 10% of smuggled species are confiscated or interdicted, and the remainder is either not discovered or not identified

screen_shot_2019-04-30_at_10.57.22_am

https://www.eco-business.com/news/tackling-the-trade-in-endangered-marine-species/

SECRECY OVER $300,000 SEIZED FROM MEMBER OF A FOREIGN DELEGATION INVITED TO NEW ZEALAND

The New Zealand Herald on 30th April reported that an anonymous tip in the mail prompted Official Information Act requests which confirmed a member of a foreign delegation failed to declare a large sum of cash, in breach of New Zealand’s money laundering laws.  The cash was confiscated but no arrest made, a decision which one expert said “seemed odd”.  More than $300,000 has been seized from a mysterious foreign diplomat after he failed to declare the vast sum of cash in his luggage.  Passengers who fail to declare cash of $10,000 or more are breaching AML/CFT laws.

https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=12226177

SWISS INVESTIGATING OIL TRADER GUNVOR FOR FOREIGN BRIBERY

Swissinfo on 29th April reported that Switzerland’s Attorney General said it is investigating Gunvor Group Ltd on “suspicion of bribery of foreign public officials” in the Republic of Congo, underscoring the energy traders’ legal troubles in the long-running case.

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/swiss-investigating-oil-trader-gunvor-for-foreign-bribery/44929386

BANK OF MONTREAL IRELAND FINED €1.24 MILLION FOR BREACHES OF LICENCE

RTE on 29th April reported that the Central Bank of Ireland has reprimanded and fined Bank of Montreal Ireland a total of €1,246,189 for breaching a condition of its banking licence.   It said that Bank of Montreal Ireland failed to submit 3 operational risk returns to it.  This is the Central Bank’s 127th settlement since 2006 under its Administrative Sanctions Procedure, bringing total fines imposed by it to over €70 million.

https://www.rte.ie/news/business/2019/0429/1046327-bank-of-montreal-ireland-fined/

WILL THE 2019 FATF MUTUAL EVALUATION OF SOUTH AFRICA REFLECT THE 2018 BASEL AML INDEX?

An article from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr on 29th April says that FATF regional body, the Eastern & Southern Africa Anti-Money Laundering Group (ESAAMLG), is expected to complete its assessment of South Africa’s compliance with international AML standards in the last quarter of this year.  It also says that, in preparation for such assessment, a workshop was hosted by the Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) in March to prepare the different private sector institutions in respect of the nature and extent of information required to demonstrate South Africa’s compliance with FATF standards.  It then says that the question is whether South Africa will be found to be compliant with global AML/CTF standards or whether the chickens of corruption and state capture will come home to roost.  It looks at the country’s previous performance in an evaluation, and says that recent global reports have not provided any comfort.  In September 2018, Transparency International published its annual report on enforcement of the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and labelled South Africa as a country with “limited enforcement of foreign bribery”.  The Corruption Perceptions Index gave South Africa a score of 43 in 2017, a score below 50 is indicative of a country struggling with corruption issues – in 2016, the score was 45.  It ends by saying that in the latest Basel AML Index of 2018 South Africa is listed as one of the “top 10 decliners” under the list of countries which have significantly worsened their scores – South Africa’s score has declined from 4.59 in 2017 to 5.34 in 2018, a negative change in score of 0.75.

https://www.cliffedekkerhofmeyr.com/en/news/publications/2019/Dispute/dispute-resolution-alert-29-april-2019-financial-intelligence-will-the-2019-fatf-mutual-evaluation-reflect-the-2018-basel-aml-index.html

SWISS GROUP FILES CRIMINAL COMPLAINT AGAINST CREDIT SUISSE OVER MOZAMBIQUE LOANS

KYC 360 on 30th April reported that Public Eye, a Swiss anti-corruption lobby group, has filed a criminal complaint against Credit Suisse over alleged fraud in the arrangement of $2 billion of loans to Mozambique.  3 former Credit Suisse bankers were arrested in London in January on US charges of conspiring to violate anti-bribery law and to commit money laundering and securities fraud, while former Mozambique finance minister Manuel Chang was arrested in South Africa as part of the same case.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/swiss-group-files-criminal-complaint-against-credit-suisse-over-mozambique-loans/

JAPAN – BAN ON IMPORTS FROM AND EXPORTS TO NORTH KOREA EXTENDED

Baker McKenzie on 26th April reported that the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) had announced that it was extending the ban on all exports destined for North Korea, and all imports originating in or shipped from North Korea, to 13th April 2021.

http://www.internationaltradecomplianceupdate.com/2019/04/26/18574/#page=1

BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO SHIFTS NEARLY $1 BILLION OUT OF DEVELOPING COUNTRIES INTO ONE UK OFFICE

On 30th April, an article on Ekklesia claims that, for every dollar British American Tobacco (BAT) paid in tax in the countries it operates in, the giant multinational shifted more than half a dollar that would have been taxed locally to a UK subsidiary where BAT paid almost no tax.  New analysis by the Tax Justice Network estimates Bangladesh, Indonesia, Kenya, Guyana, Brazil and Trinidad and Tobago together stand to lose a total of nearly $700 million in tax revenue by 2030 from the financial manoeuvring of just one tobacco company if business continues as usual.  The TJN report claims that BAT used a range of mechanisms to shift income equivalent to over 12% of its pre-tax profits to BAT Holdings Ltd, a UK-based subsidiary where BAT paid almost no corporate income tax; and, by charging itself royalties, rerouting loans through tax havens and paying interests fees on loans made between regional offices, BAT shrunk its tax contributions in low and middle income countries where public funding is high in need and short in availability.  However, it says, this picture remains incomplete: BAT has over 100 offshore subsidiaries spread across 19 tax havens and books hundreds of millions of dollars each year to ‘other operating charges’ without further explanation.

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/28168

The report itself can be found at –

https://www.taxjustice.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Ashes-to-ashes_How-British-American-Tobacco-Avoids-Tax-in-Low-and-Middle-Income-Countries_Tax-Justice-Network_2019.pdf

DUTCH STATE RAILWAY FORMALLY WINDS UP IRISH TAX AVOIDANCE STRUCTURE

On 30th April, the Irish Times reported that the Dutch state railway has moved to formally wind up a Dublin-based company structure that had been the subject of fierce controversy in its home country over tax avoidance.

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/transport-and-tourism/dutch-state-railway-formally-winds-up-irish-tax-avoidance-structure-1.3875425

3 MEN EXTRADITED TO COSTA RICA OVER 5DIMES SPORTSBOOK OWNER

On 29th April, Calvin Ayre reported that the case surrounding the kidnap-for-Bitcoin and murder of the founder of the Costa Rica-based 5Dimes sportsbook, William Sean Creighton, continues to move forward.  3 men have been extradited from Spain – with 12 arrests so far in all, including several police officers.

https://calvinayre.com/2019/04/29/business/3-extradited-to-costa-rica-over-5dimes-kidnapping-murder/

CUBAN ENTITIES SUBJECT TO US EXPORT RESTRICTIONS UPDATED

Sandler Travis Rosenberg on 30th April reported that the US State Department has published an updated list of entities and sub-entities, with 5 additional sub-entries, that are under the control of, or act for or on behalf of, the Cuban military, intelligence, or security services or personnel and with which direct financial transactions would disproportionately benefit such entities at the expense of the Cuban people or private enterprise in Cuba.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-Cuba-entities-export-restrictions-list-043019.html

The updated list is at –

https://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/spi/cuba/cubarestrictedlist/290163.htm

CLARIFICATION OF ITALIAN GAMING BAN

On 30th April, Intergame reported that the ban on advertising for online gaming in Italy will apply to companies operating in the country with a registered office, including secondary offices.  It will also apply to persons with a registered office in other countries offering paid gaming in Italy or authorised to provide audio-visual media services in Italy.  However, purely trade publications such as Gioco News are not affected.

https://www.intergameonline.com/igaming/news/clarification-of-italian-gaming-ban

CIGARETTE PLAIN PACKAGING IN NETHERLANDS FROM JANUARY 2020

On 30th April, TJI reported that, from January 2020, cigarette packages sold in the Netherlands will all have the same shape and neutral colours.  It says that the State Secretary also wants to extend the smoking ban from 1st July 2020 – this would include the ban on e-cigarettes in the same public spaces as regular cigarettes.

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/Plain_packaging_decided.55258.0.html

WORLD MILITARY EXPENDITURE GROWS TO $1.8 TRILLION IN 2018

https://www.sipri.org/media/press-release/2019/world-military-expenditure-grows-18-trillion-2018

https://www.sipri.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/fs_1904_milex_2018.pdf

USING CANNABIS AND TOBACCO/NICOTINE TOGETHER IS LINKED TO HEAVIER USE AND POORER FUNCTIONING AMONG YOUNG ADULTS

A report from the US-based RAND Corporation on 29th April says that more than a third of young adults report using both cannabis and tobacco or nicotine products, providing a unique challenge to public health officials as cannabis is legalised in more jurisdictions.  Studying a group of young adults from California, researchers examined the many different ways that cannabis and tobacco or nicotine products are used together — a by-product of the introduction of new vaping devices and other delivery methods.

https://www.rand.org/news/press/2019/04/29.html

RUSSIA-NORTH KOREA SUMMIT: 5 KEY QUESTIONS ANSWERED

On 26th April, Chatham House published an article in which Chatham House experts analyse the summit meeting between President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, and examine wider contexts for international security.  The 5 questions include: what does Russia want out of it, and has anything concrete come out of the summit?

https://medium.com/chatham-house/russia-north-korea-summit-five-key-questions-answered-b0313658e967

ARMS

BUDGET

https://www.statista.com/chart/3591/the-biggest-military-budgets-as-a-percentage-of-gdp/

ISLE OF MAN AMENDS ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS – DELETES 1 NAME, AMENDS ANOTHER

On 30th April, an Isle of Man news release advised that it had followed the UK and EU and that 1 person had been removed from the sanctions list, with another entry amended.

https://www.gov.im/news/2019/apr/30/financial-sanctions-isil-daesh-and-al-qaida/

1MDB-LINKED SUPERYACHT EQUANIMITY RENAMED TRANQUILITY AFTER SALE TO GENTING, DOCKED IN SINGAPORE

The Strait Times on 30th April reported that the superyacht was one of many luxury items seized by the Malaysian government as part of its probe into 1MDB and was owned by fugitive businessman Low Taek Jho (aka Jho Low).  It was seized off Bali’s coast by Indonesia in February last year at the request of the US authorities as part of a multibillion-dollar corruption investigation into the 1MDB scandal.

https://www.straitstimes.com/asia/se-asia/superyacht-equanimity-renamed-tranquility-after-genting-sale-docked-in-singapore

NIGERIA DEPLOYS SATELLITE TECH TO TRACK OIL SMUGGLERS

Reuters on 30th April reported that one Nigerian government agency hopes it can use new technology to tackle theft which has cost the country billions.  It says Nigeria has turned to French data firm Kpler to help it ferret out the smugglers from the thousands of ships plying Nigerian waters – among other tech-focused plans to detect what it calls “rogue” or “dark” ships.  Kpler’s platform monitors 24/7, logging erratic journeys and changes to ships’ drafts which indicate on or off-loading of cargoes into an algorithm.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-nigeria-oil-theft/nigeria-deploys-satellite-tech-to-track-oil-smugglers-idUSKCN1S61KG

CHAIRMAN OF FRENCH TELECOMS COMPANY FINED €600,000 FOR INSIDER DEALING

The Irish Times on 30th April reported that the French Financial Markets Regulator said it had fined Maxime Lombardini, then CEO telecoms company Iliad, for “breaching insider dealing regulations”.  Iliad must pay €100,000 “for breach of its disclosure requirements”.  The case involves his sale of shares in the telecoms company weeks before they dropped during the failed 2014 takeover approach for T-Mobile USA.  Iliad owns Eircom, aka Eir, a former state monopoly in Ireland (hence the newspaper’s interest).

https://www.irishtimes.com/business/technology/chairman-of-eir-owner-illiad-fined-600-000-for-insider-trading-1.3876154

CORE INCIDENT REPORT Q1 2019: POLITICAL VIOLENCE AND VIOLENT ORGANISED CRIME INCIDENTS AROUND THE WORLD

On 30th April, Control Risks published this report which draws upon and highlights the extensive incident mapping data and analysis that is available within CORE, the essential risk monitoring toolkit from Control Risks.

https://www.controlrisks.com/our-thinking/insights/reports/core-incident-report-q1-2019

BVI DRAFT ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE CODE PUBLISHED

On 29th April, Appleby reported that the International Tax Authority in the BVI had published this draft Code which provides guidance on the interpretation of the Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) Act 2018 and on the manner in which the ITA will carry out its obligations under the legislation.  It provides clarification for entities which may be subject to economic substance requirements to assist with compliance under the Act.  Appleby highlight some key points to note, and says that the final version is due in May, together with an educational package.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/insights/insights-2019/bvi-ita-publishes-draft-economic-substance-code.aspx

PODCAST: UNPACKING THE MYSTERY OF NORTH KOREA’S “GHOST SHIPS”

On 30th April, NK News published a podcast interview in which filmmaker Nicholas Ahlmark discusses his new documentary about the strange phenomenon where dozens of North Korean fishing vessels reach the west coast of Japan, Russia, and sometimes South Korea everywhere without a crew.  If there are people on board, they are often dead, emaciated, or, in one exceptional case, beheaded.  This is usually at the end of the year, at the end of the squid fishing season.  It seems down to, more or less, “natural” causes (except perhaps the vessel with a crew of headless corpses…).

https://www.nknews.org/2019/04/unpacking-the-mystery-of-north-koreas-ghost-ships-nknews-podcast-ep-69/

The video is on Channel News Asia at –

https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/video-on-demand/undercover-asia/north-korean-ghost-ships-11303202

Other episodes in the compelling “Undercover Asia” video series include one involving exclusive access to one of the world’s most notorious passport forgers, as he speaks to us from inside the prison walls in Thailand; and another telling the story that every year, nearly 100,000 Japanese vanish without a trace. They are known as johatsu, or “evaporated people”.

THE IRAN NUCLEAR ARCHIVE IN ISRAEL: IMPRESSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS

The Belfer Center has published a report on an archive of documents related to Iran’s nuclear weapons programme, a large cache includes some 55,000 pages of documents and a further 55,000 files on CDs that included photos and videos.  A clandestine Israeli intelligence operation spirited the materials out of Iran in early 2018. The documents are said to show that senior Iranian officials had decided in the late 1990s to actually manufacture nuclear weapons and carry out an underground nuclear test; Iran made more technical progress than had previously been understood; and that Iran had help from quite a number of foreign scientists, and access to several foreign nuclear weapon designs.  This brief report summarises the group’s conclusions about what the archive reveals about Iran’s programme and questions that remain open.  It says, amongst other things, that the archive not only permits a more intimate and authoritative look at Iran’s nuclear programme and its progress – but also suggests some worrying implications for the non-proliferation regime.  Re foreign involvement, Iran was known to have ties to the A.Q. Khan nuclear black-market network, and it was already known that one expert from the Soviet nuclear weapons programme.  The archive reveals that Iran managed to recruit many more foreign scientists, and according to Israeli officials, over a dozen individuals, from various areas of expertise and from multiple countries, played a role.  It is said that Iran had an extensive effort to procure equipment and materials abroad for its programme, but the authors say that they did not have the opportunity to explore the procurement issues in detail.  It says that one important procurement-related question is how Iran acquired the uranium metal casting and machining equipment it intended to install in an underground tunnel.  One document mentions a budget allocation for purchase of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) abroad.  However, the report says that no evidence of state-level foreign support was seen for the development or procurement elements of the programme.

https://www.belfercenter.org/sites/default/files/files/publication/The%20Iran%20Nuclear%20Archive.pdf

GLOBAL EDITION OF THE DUAL CITIZENSHIP REPORT LAUNCHED

On 25th April, the third Dual Citizenship Report is being issued by Chetcuti Cauchi Advocates.  Whilst the first 2 editions analysed specific regions, the first global edition assesses the dual citizenship laws of over 100 countries globally.   The report summary is available online, and shows that 60% of the countries allow dual citizenship, whilst only 20% of the countries entirely prohibit dual citizenship.  It also says the practice for naturalisation to result in a withdrawal or loss of citizenship, has been widely discarded by many.  Moreover, there is only a small percentage of states which demand that a choice needs to be made by those born with dual citizenship, i.e. between their 2 citizenships, upon attaining the age of majority.

https://www.dualcitizenshipreport.org/report/

BUSINESS AVIATION LAW IN EUROPE

Appleby has prepared the Isle of Man section of this practical guide, and made available online the second edition of this guide.  It provides a summary of an analysis of business aviation law in a number of EU countries, including Turkey, San Marino and the Isle of Man.  A second section looks at customs and tax issues in a smaller number of countries, including France, the UK, Isle of Man and Malta.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/insights/business-aviation-law-in-europe-a-practical-guide.pdf

UK SUPREME COURT DELIVERS BLOW TO CRIMINAL RECORD DISCLOSURE SYSTEM

Ogletree Deakins on 19th April published an article saying that the UK government has lost its case defending the multiple convictions rule, which requires an individual to disclose all spent convictions if he or she has 2 or more such convictions.  The principle that convictions can become spent, and so do not normally require disclosure, does not apply when someone has 2 or more convictions.  The case involved a woman convicted on a petty shoplifting offence from decades before, and a charge of failing to answer bail for the same offence.  The Supreme Court ruled that the multiple convictions rule was “disproportionate” and “wrong in principle,” with the result that the government will need to disapply the rule.

https://www.natlawreview.com/article/uk-supreme-court-delivers-blow-to-criminal-record-disclosure-system

OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 29

29th April 2019

CAMBODIA: POLICE SEIZE $3.5 MILLION IN CASH FROM MEN AT PHNOM PENH AIRPORT

The Phnom Penh Post on 29th April reported that 3 Chinese nationals were charged with money laundering and held in detention by police after they were caught smuggling wads of $100 notes amounting to $3,520,000 in their bags at Phnom Penh International Airport after arriving from Hong Kong.

https://www.phnompenhpost.com/national/police-seize-35m-cash-men-phnom-penh-airport

CONVICTED MONEY LENDER LOSES APPEAL AGAINST CONTEMPT OF COURT FOR BREACH OF COURT ORDER

6KBW in its blog on 28th April reported that, following an ex parte application made by the FCA, a restraint order was made against the Appellant along with a number of companies under his control.  As a result of the breach of that restraint order, he was held in contempt of court on 2 separate occasions and sentenced to a term of imprisonment.  He raised a number of challenges to the finding of contempt, all of which were rejected on the grounds they provided no basis for a finding of contempt that was entirely justified and, in the court’s view, he had deliberately and repeatedly flouted the restraint order in a sophisticated manner.

https://blog.6kbw.com/posts/weekly-digest-29-april-2019

 SWITZERLAND: CO-OPERATION WITH FOREIGN JUDICIAL AUTHORITIES – ARTICLE 271 OF CRIMINAL CODE REMAINS SERIOUS OBSTACLE

An article from CMS Law member firm in Switzerland on 29th April was concerned with a recent case where the Federal Supreme Court ruled that a Swiss-based asset management company’s disclosure of client information to US authorities with a view to facilitating the conclusion of a non-prosecution agreement violated Article 271 of the Criminal Code.  Under Article 271(1)(1) of the Criminal Code, anyone who acts on Swiss territory on behalf of a foreign state without official approval of the federal authorities will be punished if such acts are attributable to an authority or a civil servant – intended to prevent the exercise of foreign official power on Swiss territory and thus to protect the state monopoly of power and Swiss sovereignty.  The proper routes for assistance are established in the law and have been upheld by the Federal Supreme Court.  The firm says that decision reiterates that it does not look favourably on persons who take matters into their own hands and bypass the competent Swiss authorities in furtherance of foreign state interests.

https://www.internationallawoffice.com/Newsletters/White-Collar-Crime/Switzerland/CMS-von-Erlach-Poncet-Ltd/Cooperation-with-foreign-judicial-authorities-Article-271-of-Criminal-Code-remains-serious-obstacle

HAMAS USING INCREASINGLY COMPLEX METHODS OF RAISING FUNDS VIA BITCOIN

KYC 360 on 29th April reported that the armed wing of Hamas – Izz el-Deen al-Qassam Brigades – is using increasingly complex methods of raising funds via bitcoin, researchers say, highlighting the difficulties regulators face in tracking cryptocurrency financing of outfits designated by some as terrorist groups.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/hamas-shifts-tactics-in-bitcoin-fundraising-highlighting-crypto-risks-research/

REGULATION IN GUERNSEY – WHAT CAN HAPPEN WHEN IT GOES WRONG

On 26th April, Ogier published an article about another decision from the Royal Court of Guernsey which shows how far-reaching the penalties and sanctions can be when an individual working in a regulated industry fails to put the right procedures in place or is unaware of a rule or requirement – implications can include heavy financial penalties, a public statement and, at worse, a loss of livelihood.

https://www.ogier.com/publications/regulation-in-guernsey-what-can-happen-when-it-goes-wrong

A DETAILED LOOK INTO THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE TAX BLACKLISTING OF THE UAE AND OMAN BY THE EU

An article from Omani law firm, Al Tamimi & Co, on 12th March sets out the background and discusses the implications of the EU list of non-cooperative tax jurisdictions for businesses operating and seeking to invest in the UAE.  The UAE and Oman have been added to the list.

https://www.tamimi.com/law-update-articles/a-detailed-look-into-the-implications-of-the-tax-blacklisting-of-the-uae-and-oman-by-the-eu/

MALTESE CITIZEN ARRESTED IN NEW YORK ON FRAUD CHARGES

The Malta Independent on 29th April reported that Mustafa Abdel-Wadood, former Abraaj Group managing partner, is said to have been arrested in New York on charges relating to fraud, for allegedly misappropriating millions of dollars at Abraaj Group, the largest private equity firm in the Middle East.

http://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2019-04-29/local-news/Maltese-citizenship-holder-arrested-in-New-York-on-fraud-charges-report-6736207345

USE DUE DILIGENCE AND AVOID UNORTHODOX BUSINESS PRACTICES TO PREVENT SANCTIONS VIOLATIONS, OFAC SAYS

Sandler Travis Rosenberg on 29th April reported that OFAC is encouraging companies to exercise enhanced due diligence in business relationships with entities subject to the sectoral sanctions identification list and to avoid the use of unorthodox business practices such as the amendment or alteration of trade documents or the re-submission of payment information without a sanctions-related term, phrase, or location.  It also said that the development and implementation of a risk-based sanctions compliance programme can give companies the ability to assess prospective and real-time transactions for potential prohibitions and violations.

https://www.strtrade.com/news-publications-export-sanctions-due-diligence-OFAC-compliance-042919.html

IRELAND’S TRANSFER PRICING RULES

On 26th April, Mathesons made available a chapter on recent developments in Ireland’s transfer pricing rules.

https://www.matheson.com/images/uploads/documents/Transfer_Pricing_for_the_International_Practitioner.pdf

CMS EXPERT GUIDE TO SECURITY TOKEN OFFERINGS

CMS has published a guide covering a number of countries, including the UK, Colombia, Switzerland and a number of EU states.  It explains that Security Token Offerings (STO) are a new means for companies to emit securities.  The idea is to sell a virtual, blockchain-based token which is unique and transferable, and which represents, for example, a profit participation right or a share in the emitting company.  Profits could be distributed to the token holders directly without the need of a bank account.  It says that STO can be considered the successor of so-called Initial Coin Offerings (ICO).

https://cms.law/en/GBR/Expert-Guides/CMS-Expert-Guide-to-Security-Token-Offerings

A guide to ICO is also available at –

https://cms.law/en/Media/International/Files/Publications/Publications/Initial-Coin-Offerings-New-means-of-fundraising2

KERCH STRAIT STANDOFF DEEPENS AS UKRAINE TRAINS TO SEIZE SHIPPING

Janes.com on 26th April reported that the Ukraine’s 73rd Maritime Special Purpose Centre at Ochakiv has begun extensive visit, board, search, and seizure (VBSS) training.

https://www.janes.com/article/88122/kerch-strait-standoff-deepens-as-ukraine-trains-to-seize-shipping

 WCO AND EU PARTNERS IN NEW PROJECT “COLIBRI” FOR INTERNATIONAL CO-ORDINATION AND COMBATING ORGANISED CRIME AND CHALLENGES RAISED BY COCAINE TRAFFICKING IN LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN, AS WELL AS IN WEST AND CENTRAL AFRICA

A news release from the World Customs Organisation on 29th April reported that the purpose of the COLIBRI Project, which aims to monitor and control general aviation along the entire length of the cocaine route, is to rally Customs and its partners around the risks of fraud in this little-monitored channel and to step up the regional, international and inter-departmental co-operation that is so essential in the fight against drug trafficking.

http://www.wcoomd.org/en/media/newsroom/2019/april/the-world-customs-organization-and-the-european-union-join-forces-on-a-new-project.aspx

DISCLOSURE CONSENT FORMS ROLLED OUT UNDER THREAT OF LEGAL CHALLENGE

Police Professional on 29th April reported that victims of crime, including those alleging rape, are being asked to give police access to their phones and social media accounts or risk prosecutions not going ahead.  The move is part of a series of new measures introduced by the DPP to address failures in the system around disclosure in England and Wales that led to the collapse of a number of rape and serious sexual assault cases.  Consent forms asking for victims to give permission for officers to access personal information including emails, messages and photographs are being rolled out across the CPS.  However, the forms face a legal challenge from campaign groups.

https://www.policeprofessional.com/news/disclosure-consent-forms-rolled-out-under-threat-of-legal-challenge/

THE EU–RUSSIAN SANCTIONS OF 2014

On 28th April, a paper on the VOX CEPR Policy Portal estimates that the value of trade lost due to Western sanctions over 2014-2016 amounts to $1.3 billion, while trade lost due to the Russian counter-sanctions amounts to $10.5 billion.  There appears to be no evidence that Russian importers switched between suppliers from sanctioning countries to competitors from non-sanctioning countries.  It concludes that, while there is evidence that the targeted Western sanctions have had a significant impact on the Russian firms and individuals on whom these sanctions were imposed, it cannot confirm similar findings from the international trade standpoint.

https://voxeu.org/article/making-sanctions-bite-eu-russian-sanctions-2014

IMF AND ANTI-CORRUPTION 1 YEAR ON

On 12th April, Transparency International said that new research from the IMF shows that curbing corruption would deliver an additional $1 trillion in tax revenues annually across the world, money that could support much needed investments in health, education and infrastructure.  It looks at the situation one year on from the 2018 International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC).

https://www.transparency.org/news/feature/the_trillion_dollar_question_the_imf_and_anti_corruption_one_year_on

OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE US SECURITY ASSISTANCE SECTOR

On 29th April, the Center for International Policy said that the CSIS had published a report saying that, despite efforts to implement sweeping reforms to the Security Sector Assistance (SSA) enterprise across the US government, substantial gaps remain in the policy planning, implementation, and review process.  SSA is not new, the US has been providing assistance to allies and partners and pursuing an array of SSA-related engagements with them since WW2.   Increasingly, however, the US government is relying on SSA to further its global objectives.  The aim is to work by, with, and through allies and partners so that they own the spaces where this co-operation occurs

https://csis-prod.s3.amazonaws.com/s3fs-public/publication/190424_Dalton%20et%20al_ShiftingBurdenResponsibly_WEB_v2_0.pdf

0ccbb65a-76aa-46b3-bddc-bf552fbce302

The chart above illustrates the top 5 country recipients for section 333 security aid between fiscal years 2017 and 2019. You can see a full picture of section 333 recipients at –

http://securityassistance.org/data/country/military/Section%20333%20Building%20Partner%20Capacity/2012/2020/all/Global//

US DEFENCE MATERIAL EXEMPTION AMENDMENTS

On 19th April, the Center for International Policy reported that the US Directorate of Defense Trade Controls has published an amendment to the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) that substantially expands and clarifies the circumstances under which transfers of defence articles and services by or for a Department or Agency of the US government may occur without a licence.   This amendment furthers the objectives outlined in the President’s Conventional Arms Transfer Policy.

https://www.pmddtc.state.gov/?id=ddtc_public_portal_news_and_events&timeframe=upcoming

US STATE DEPARTMENT FACTSHEETS: CONVENTIONAL ARMS TRANSFER POLICY AND ARMS SALES

On 25th April, the State Department issued a factsheet on a new and updated US Conventional Arms Transfer (CAT) Policy to support Allies and partners, expand opportunities for US industry and create US jobs, and maintain US national security while thoroughly reviewing arms transfers to ensure that they are in the US interest.

https://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/2019/291344.htm

A second factsheet on US sales of arms and defence materials, Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) by companies.

https://www.state.gov/t/pm/rls/fs/2019/288737.htm

FINANCING OF NORTH KOREA’S NUCLEAR AMBITION REMAINS ALIVE AND WELL

On 29th April, a Commentary from RUSI says that a lack of awareness-raising by governments and misinterpretation by the private sector mean efforts to restrict North Korea’s finances are failing; and the global ambition to counter proliferation finance continues to suffer from a lack of awareness and sparse implementation and remains a poor relation to AML/CFT.

https://rusi.org/commentary/Financing-of-North-Koreas-Nuclear-Ambition-Remains-Alive-and-Well

EXPORT POTENTIAL: TURKEY’S HOMEMADE DRONES COULD BOOST LOCAL INDUSTRY

Defense News on 22nd April carried an article saying that several unmanned systems designed, developed and produced by Turkey’s industry have in recent years proven their export potential, providing hope for future deals with foreign customers – the Turks stressing that Turkish drones do not require foreign (e.g. US or EU) export licences, and they are combat-proven.  The article provides examples of the drones available.

https://www.defensenews.com/unmanned/2019/04/22/export-potential-turkeys-homemade-drones-could-boost-local-industry/

RUSI ANNOUNCES LAUNCH OF TASK FORCE ON THE FUTURE OF UK SANCTIONS POLICY

On 29th April, the always useful EU Sanctions Blog reported that the Royal United Services Institute in London is hosting an event on 28th May to launch its Taskforce on the Future of UK Sanctions Policy, composed of former officials, academic and policy experts, who will provide recommendations on UK sanctions policy post-Brexit over the next 12 months.

https://rusi.org/event/launch-event-taskforce-future-uk-sanctions-policy

MAERSK LAUNCHES ONLINE CUSTOMS CLEARANCE SERVICE

On 29th April, Loadstar reported that Maersk is now offering digital customs clearance for ocean customers.  It says that the online shipping management platform is available in 7 European countries and will be rolled out worldwide by the end of the year.  It gives customers full compliance with local customs rules online, with pricing displayed for all import and export declarations.

https://theloadstar.com/maersk-launches-online-customs-clearance-service-for-ocean-customers/

https://www.lloydsloadinglist.com/freight-directory/news/Maersk-takes-customs-clearance-digital/74205.htm

NEW EU ANTI-FRAUD STRATEGY

On 29th April, the EU announced that the European Commission has adopted its new Anti-Fraud Strategy that seeks to further improve the detection, sanctioning and prevention of fraud and will support the Commission’s ongoing efforts to bring fraud against the EU budget further down.  The vision behind the new Strategy is to strengthen the corporate oversight of the Commission regarding all issues related to fraud and to reinforce the anti-fraud system that is already in place.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2080_en.htm

3 WORKERS KIDNAPPED FROM OIL RIG IN NIGERIA

On 29th April, Defence News reported that Gunman have kidnapped 3 oil workers from Canada, Scotland and Nigeria from a rig in Nigeria’s Delta region officials said, the second abduction in the area in less than a week.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/security/human-security/nigeria-oil-rig-kidnap/

HOLOCAUST (RETURN OF CULTURAL OBJECTS) (AMENDMENT) BILL

On 29th April, the House of Lords Library published a briefing in preparation of the 2nd Reading of the Bill in the Lords on 7th May.  The Bill would confer powers on specified national museums and galleries to return certain cultural objects on grounds relating to events during the Nazi era.  The Government supports the extension of the Act’s provisions and wants the legislation to apply indefinitely.

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/LLN-2019-0051/LLN-2019-0051.pdf

TAIWAN MURDER SUSPECT JAILED IN HONG KONG FOR MONEY LAUNDERING

The Taipei Times in its 30th April edition reported that a Hong Kong man wanted in Taiwan for allegedly strangling his pregnant girlfriend in a case used by the territory to justify controversial changes to its extradition laws has been jailed, but not for murder.  It says that the killing sparked sympathy for the family and was used by the Hong Kong Government to advocate changing the territory’s laws to allow extraditions on a case-by-case basis to Taiwan, Macau and China.  However, the decision to include China in those proposals sparked huge protests and a major backlash within the territory’s business and legal communities.  With Hong Kong prosecutors unable to charge Chan for murder, he was instead charged with money laundering related to his possession of his victim’s smartphone, camera and money he withdrew from her account, and a judge sentenced him to 29 months in jail.

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/taiwan/archives/2019/04/30/2003714293

US SEC FREEZES ASSETS OVER SUSPECTED INSIDER TRADING IN ANADARKO BEFORE ITS TAKEOVER BY CHEVRON

Reuters on 29th April reported that the SEC has obtained an asset freeze in connection with suspected insider trading in Anadarko Petroleum before the oil company agreed to be acquired by rival Chevron.  The unknown buyers of Anadarko securities, who the SEC said stood to make roughly $2.5 million in illicit profits, according to a court filing.

https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-anadarko-petrol-m-a-chevron-sec/sec-gets-assets-frozen-over-suspected-illegal-trading-in-anadarko-idUKKCN1S51KF?rpc=401&

FIRST CHALLENGE TO A DECISION OF THE CHANNEL ISLANDS FINANCIAL OMBUDSMAN HEARD BY THE ROYAL COURT OF JERSEY

On 29th April, Ogier carried an article about a case where the court upheld the Ombudsman’s decision that local mortgage broker and lender Future Finance pay 2 individuals over £63,000 in compensation.  The Ombudsman was established at the end of 2015.   He has the power to investigate and determine individual customer complaints regarding financial services provided in both Jersey and Guernsey.   He can award compensation up to a maximum of £150,000.

https://www.ogier.com/publications/first-time-scrutiny-by-jersey-royal-court-of-decision-of-ci-financial-ombudsman

BLOOD TIES AND FAMILY CLANS SHAPE ARGENTINA’S UNDERWORLD

On 22nd April, Insight Crime published an article which says that criminal groups made up by close relatives come in all shapes and sizes in Argentina.  Small-time micro-trafficking organisations proliferate alongside mid-sized, more sophisticated groups, who have access to resources and contacts within security forces and the political sphere as well as in nearby drug-producing countries.  It says that the port city of Rosario, strategically located on the Paraná River that acts as a transit point for drug shipments coming from neighbouring Bolivia and Paraguay, is seen as the mecca for this phenomenon.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/family-clans-argentina-underworld/

TRUMP TRANSFERS BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION POWER TO PENTAGON

The Federal Times on 25th April reported that the US Department of Defense will have full responsibility for conducting background investigations of federal employees and contractors, under an Executive Order signed by President Donald Trump on April 24th.

https://www.federaltimes.com/management/2019/04/25/trump-transfers-background-investigation-power-to-pentagon/

https://www.hstoday.us/uncategorized/executive-order-all-federal-background-checks-shift-from-opm-to-dod-by-sept-30/

BELUGA WHALE WITH RUSSIAN HARNESS RAISES ALARM IN NORWAY

On 29th April, Rferl reported that Norwegian officials say they are concerned that a harnessed beluga whale found in the Arctic Sea may have come from a Russian military facility.  The white whale was wearing a harness that had “Equipment St. Petersburg” written on it, and also had a mount for a camera.  Russia does not have a known history of using whales for military purposes although the USSR. had a training program for dolphins.  The facility in Sevastopol, Crimea, was closed following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

https://www.rferl.org/a/beluga-whale-with-russian-harness-raises-alarm-in-norway/29910989.html

SHIPPING COMPANY AND SHIP CAPTAIN SENTENCED IN SEIZED MILITARY VEHICLE CASE IN HONG KONG

On 29th April, Hellenic Shipping News reported that, more than 2 years after 9 Singapore Armed Forces armoured vehicles worth were seized in Hong Kong, a court there has imposed fines on both the shipping firm APL and ship captain Pan Xuejun for their roles in the case.  Singapore-based APL and Pan were found guilty earlier of importing strategic commodities without the necessary licence.  The APL vessel which was transporting the 9 Singapore-made Terrex troop carriers back to Singapore after a military exercise in Taiwan in November 2016.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/apl-and-ship-captain-sentenced-in-seized-singapore-terrex-troop-carriers-case-in-hk/