3rd April 2019
GPS SPOOFING BY RUSSIA
A new report from C4DS says that the Russian Federation is growing and actively nurturing a comparative advantage in the targeted use and development of GNSS spoofing capabilities to achieve tactical and strategic objectives at home and abroad. An article on the report was published by GPS World on 2nd April and comments on report’s claims of the use of the ability to mimic, or spoof, legitimate GNSS signals to manipulate PNT data.
SOUTH KOREAN TANKER HELD OVER SUSPECTED NORTH KOREAN SMUGGLING
The Tradewinds website reported that a tanker has become the first South Korean-flagged ship detained over suspected oil smuggling to North Korea. The unnamed vessel is being held at Busan, South Korea, pending investigations into possible breaches of UN sanctions, the Yonhap news agency cited.
HUNDREDS OF SMUGGLED VENOMOUS TARANTULAS SEIZED ALIVE IN MANILA
Philippines Lifestyle News on 2nd April reported that Customs has seized hundreds of venomous tarantulas smuggled alive into the Philippines from Poland said to be 757 spiders concealed inside gift-wrapped oatmeal and cookies.
UGANDA: IMPORTERS NOW TASKED TO CLASSIFY GOLD BY COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
The Observer in Uganda on 2nd April reported that companies and individuals importing gold for refining in Uganda for re-exportation, must classify its origin in an effort to stop the trade in conflict minerals.
BARBADOS “REMAINS ONE OF THE MAJOR MONEY LAUNDERING COUNTRIES IN 2018”
An article in Barbados Today on 3rd April comments on the country’s ranking in the recent US State Department’s International Narcotics Control Strategy Report, and the shortcomings identified in that report. Barbados is among more than 82 countries, including the US, which it identified as major money laundering countries.
AML/CFT COMPLIANCE IN HONG KONG: RECENT RECORD FINE AND REMINDER OF LATEST GUIDANCE
On 1st April, Herbert Smith Freehills published an article about the Guosen Securities (HK) Brokerage Company case where fines were imposed for failures in complying with AML/CFT regulatory requirements when handling third party fund deposits – being the largest fine imposed under the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing Ordinance to date. The article sets out to provide an overview of the Guosen case and other recent cases, the regulators’ approach to AML/CFT enforcement, as well as a reminder of the recent AML/CFT regulatory guidance.
EX-MALAYSIAN LEADER’S FIRST 1MDB TRIAL BEGINS
KYC 360 reported on 3rd April that the trial of Najib Razak is set to begin on charges that the former Malaysian prime minister took part in a scheme to steal vast sums from a state fund he established a decade ago.
ALBANIA CLAMPS DOWN ON CANNABIS BUT TRAFFICKING OF HARD DRUGS INCREASES
BNE Intellinews on 2nd April reported that the US State Department has named Albania as a source country for cannabis and increasingly a transit country for cocaine and heroin trafficked by organised criminal groups to European markets, according to its latest International Narcotics Control Strategy Report.
DEUTSCHE BANK’S US UNIT KEPT DANSKE’S SHADY BILLIONS FLOWING
On 3rd April the Luxembourg Times reported that years before regulators learned about what may be one of the biggest money laundering pipelines in history, low-level bank employees in Jacksonville, Florida, sounded repeated alarms. Compliance workers for correspondent bank, Deutsche Bank, flagged some of at least $150 billion in transactions that the bank’s US subsidiary handled for the Estonian unit of Danske Bank, according to a former compliance officer.
AUSTRALIANS LOSE MORE THAN $10 MILLION DUE TO INVESTMENT SCAMS IN Q1 2019
On 3rd April, Finance Feeds reported that Scamwatch, the body operated by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), has just published its latest data about scams, with the numbers revealing that losses due to investment fraud topped $10 million in the first 3 months of 2019.
US INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE’S LIST OF FOREIGN FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS REPORTING FATCA
On 3rd April, iExpats reported that the IRS has published the list of foreign financial institutions reporting to them under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). It consists of 326,089 financial institutions in more than 200 countries – up from 324,649 in February.
HARD OR SOFT BREXIT – DOES IT MATTER FOR THE ORIGIN OF GOODS?
On 2nd April, White & Case published an article about potential difficulties for businesses using UK content in their products for export under EU Free Trade Agreements, or for UK businesses using EU content under future UK Free Trade Agreements. The article asks will these products still be able to benefit from tariff preferences when exported to third countries under EU FTA? Will origin certificates, invoice declarations and long-term suppliers’ declarations issued before Brexit declaring that a product meets relevant preferential origin rules still be valid after Brexit? Does it matter if Brexit happens with or without a deal (meaning at least a deal for a transitional period)? What about “approved exporter” authorisations and Binding Origin Information (BOI)?
ESTONIA: CIVIL FRAUD CASE FILED AGAINST BETR SIHTASUTUS (AKA ‘BETTER BETTING ‘)
On 3rd April, Calvin Ayre reported that a law suit has been filed on behalf of allegedly defrauded investors against BETR Sihtasutus. 3 men are seeking to recover damages based on fraud, conspiracy, and misappropriation of investment funds. It is said that extensive discovery has uncovered illegal gambling, banking violations, money laundering and the disappearance of all or most of the original $5.3 million in investment monies. The article says that BETR is currently openly operating as an unlicensed gaming site and specifically within the UK, and maintains office in London, with both Brink and Collins being UK residents.
FREIGHT FORWARDERS INCREASINGLY OPTING TO PARTNER WITH E-COMMERCE SHIPPING SERVICES
On 2nd April, Loadstar published an article saying that the decision of Easyship, an online shipping platform, to expand its arrangement with U-Freight to partner with Seko Logistics is the latest example of such tie-ups.
SERVICE OF PROCEEDINGS WITHIN THE JURISDICTION: 10 QUESTIONS ANSWERED
On 2nd April, Gowling WLG published a briefing answering some basic questions about service of proceedings, saying that once proceedings have been issued, the claim form must be served correctly within a specified period to ensure that the claim is properly brought to the defendant’s attention.
JAPAN TO INTRODUCE ELECTRONIC CUSTOMS DECLARATION SYSTEM FOR PASSENGERS
Nippon.com on 3rd April reported that Japan’s Finance Ministry unveiled to the media an electronic customs declaration system using facial recognition technology, at Narita International Airport. The move is designed to make customs procedures for goods such as alcoholic drinks and cigarettes more efficient and ease congestion as the number of visitors to Japan has been increasing, and will be first used the system for Japanese people returning from abroad, from 15th April. It is said that the system will be deployed at other major airports across the country in stages, ahead of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.
US COURT DISMISSES CASE AGAINST 9 BANKS SUED BY MILITARY PERSONNEL FOR PROVIDING BANKING SERVICES TO IRAN
On 3rd April, the EU Sanctions Blog reported that the court found that there was not a sufficient link between the alleged misconduct and the attacks.
BVI GUIDANCE ON ECONOMIC SUBSTANCE REQUIREMENTS EXPECTED IN DRAFT FORM IN LATE APRIL 2019
On 2nd April, Appleby reported that the BVI enacted the Economic Substance (Companies and Limited Partnerships) Act, 2018 (w.e.f. 1st January. The Act requires certain BVI entities carrying on specified activities to have ‘adequate substance’ in the BVI. BVI Finance announced on 29th March that, with the assistance of external draftsmen, progress is being made with the drafting of the BVI Government’s guidance, termed the Economic Substance Code.
TRADE FINANCE STANDARDISATION PROJECT BACKED BY 14 GIANTS
Banking Tech on 2nd April reported that a number of global financial institutions have launched a drive to use technology and standardisation for the wider distribution of trade finance assets – the Trade Finance Distribution (TFD) Initiative – powered by Tradeteq, whose technology allows banks and institutional investors to connect, interact and transact. The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) UK and the International Trade and Forfaiting Association (ITFA) have each joined TFD Initiative as an observer.
BRITAIN TO SPEND MILLIONS IN FIGHT AGAINST CHILD SEX TOURISM
On 3rd April, The Times reported that money from the overseas aid budget is to be used in the fight against child sex tourism and the growing problem of livestreamed abuse. The NCA will get £3 million in aid funding to investigate British paedophiles who travel to “high risk destination countries”, including the Philippines.
PROFILES OF INCIDENTS INVOLVING CBRN AND NON-STATE ACTORS (POICN) DATABASE
On 27th March, news of this Database was published in the Journal of Studies in Conflict & Terrorism. It says that the dearth of systematic analyses is the lack of a comprehensive database on chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) terrorism events amenable to quantitative analysis. The Database consists of 517 CBRN terrorism–related events from 1990 to 2017.
HOW TO IDENTIFY COUNTERFEIT PRINTER SUPPLIES
US FENTANYL-LINKED OVERDOSE DEATHS RISING FASTEST AMONG AFRICAN AMERICANS
Illicit Trade on 26th March reported that the Center for Disease Control reported that has revealed that US overdose deaths linked to the consumption of synthetic opioid fentanyl are rising fastest among African Americans. In total, the number of overdose deaths linked to fentanyl rocketed between 2011 and 2016, increasing from fewer than 1,700 to over 18,000.
UKRAINE ANTI-CORRUPTION BUREAU SEARCHES AT ASSET RECOVERY AGENCY
UNIAN on 3rd April reported explanation by NABU of its searches carried out at the Asset Recovery and Management Agency, saying they were part of a probe into suspected abuse of power by officials in a number of government agencies, and said to be connected with investigations involving the Rostock Holding Group.
MOLDOVAN CONSUL IN ODESSA ARRESTED FOR BRIBERY
UA Wire on 3rd April reported that Sergey Sheptelich, the Moldovan consul in Odessa, has been arrested by members of the Moldovan Anti-corruption Prosecution and National Anti-corruption Center (NAC).
PANAMA PAPERS INVESTIGATION HELPS RECOVER MORE THAN $1.2 BILLION AROUND THE WORLD
Baker McKenzie on 3rd April reported news stories that gains in Panama, France and Iceland have pushed above $1.16 billion the global tally of fines and back taxes resulting from the Panama Papers investigation’s exposure of the offshore finance industry.
US SUPREME COURT LIMITS THE IMMUNITY OF INTERNATIONAL ORGANISATIONS
On 12th March, Crowell Moring published an article about a recent decision of the Court that open the door to claims against international organisations by holding that they are not entitled to absolute immunity from suit in US courts, but are instead entitled to only the same limited immunity currently granted to foreign governments. The case involved claims of certain farmers, fisherman, and villagers who live near a power plant in India and who brought suit against the International Finance Corporation (IFC), an international development bank and member of the World Bank Group.
PODCAST: COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT PREDICTIONS
In the latest TRACE podcast, a panel of former US prosecutors discusses trends and makes predictions about FCPA compliance and prosecutions over the next few years.
MALAYSIA TO SELL 1MDB-LINKED SUPERYACHT FOR $126 MILLION
On 3rd April, Al Jazeera reported that the sale of the Equanimity is the first major asset sale by Malaysia to recover billions stolen from state fund.
TAIWAN: AUTHORITIES DETAIN, QUESTION 9 EXECUTIVES AND STAFF OVER PONZI FRAUD ALLEGATIONS
The Taipei Times in its 4th April edition reported that the company promoted a Ponzi-style programme on social media and promised greater payouts to those who recruited friends and family into the lower levels. It is said to have defrauded at least 2,400 people of $3.2 million at the current exchange rate) over the past 2 years. Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau officers and police raided 12 locations in Taipei and took 9 suspects in for questioning.
TRUMP ORDERS CRACKDOWN ON COUNTERFEIT SALES ONLINE
Reuters on 3rd April reported that Trump has ordered a crackdown on counterfeit products on third-party online marketplaces, asking for more information on how the US can better track and curb such sales, saying that about 20% of this trade infringing upon US intellectual property. An Executive Order requires the Department of Homeland Security Department, together with the Commerce and Justice Departments, to provide recommendations in 210 days on how to address the problem through better monitoring and enforcement.
SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCER’S LAVISH POSTS LEADS TO ARREST FOR MONEY LAUNDERING
Epoch Times on 3rd April reported that a Colombian-born social media influencer in Miami who flaunted designer clothes and her red Lamborghini in online posts has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in her family’s alleged massive money laundering scheme.
MICRONESIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL PLEADS GUILTY TO MONEY LAUNDERING SCHEME INVOLVING FCPA VIOLATIONS
A DoJ news release on 3rd April announced that a Micronesian government official pleaded guilty to a money laundering charge involving bribes made to corruptly secure engineering and project management contracts from the government of the Federated States of Micronesia. Master Halbert, 44, a Micronesian citizen, pleaded guilty in federal court in Honolulu.