8th April 2019
CASH-RICH ISLAMIC STATE MAY HAVE STASHED UP TO $300 MILLION IN HOPES OF FIGHTING ON
Business Insider on 7th April reported that Islamic State (IS) has amassed a war chest of as much as several hundred million pounds and continues to exploit a string of revenue streams that are likely to enable the group to finance a covert network in Iraq, Syria and further afield despite the complete physical collapse of its so-called caliphate. This is according to according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. It also cites a UN report which said that some member states reported that IS has access to financial reserves of between $50 million and $300 million, with a proportion invested in legitimate businesses – reported to include hotels, real estate companies, farms and car dealerships in the Middle East region.
SKIN BETTING GETS ATTENTION OF DENMARK’S REGULATORS AS ILLEGAL SITES ARE BLOCKED
Casino.org on 7th April reported that a court in Copenhagen approved the government’s request for telecom companies to block 25 unlicensed online sites. 10 of these had casino games or sports betting, and 15 offered skin betting. Skins are coverings found in video or internet games, and sometimes start as video games but suddenly turn into gambling, according to gambling abuse experts. It says that this is the second time in the last year the Danish regulator went to court to block skin betting sites. In February 2018, 6 such websites were blocked. In the UK the Gambling Commission’s annual report, released last November, looked at skin betting for the first time; and in 2017, ESP.bet, operator of specialist esports fantasy league and betting website, eSportsPools, became the owner in the Isle of Man of what is believed to be the first-ever gaming licence that covers skin-betting.
CHINESE INVESTORS LOOK TO GREECE FOR CONTROVERSIAL ‘GOLDEN VISAS’
On 8th April, KYC 360 reported that wealthy Chinese nationals are increasingly obtaining so-called “golden visas” from the Greek government. Investors who buy land, property or securities worth at least €250,000 can obtain visas that include residency permits and EU passports. The number of such residency permits issued in Greece has grown 46% since 2017, with over 260 issued in the first quarter of 2019. Nearly 60% since January 2018 have gone to Chinese investors, while visas granted to Turkish investors have also risen sharply over that period.
Q&A – THE CAYMAN AML REGIME: SERVICE PROVIDERS, DELEGATION AND THE “RISK-BASED APPROACH”
On 5th April, Ogier provided this briefing.
NIGERIA: FREIGHT FORWARDERS FACE 25% PENALTY OVER 5,000 TRAPPED CONTAINERS
In an e-Flash on 8th April, FIATA reported that Nigeria Customs Service has agreed to resume clearing of over 5,000 third-party containers trapped at the Lagos ports – with a 25% penalty. The containers were trapped as a result of a suspension order issued in January due to discrepancies in documentation.
CHINA: JD.COM, ALIBABA’S MAJOR COMPETITOR, STARTS NEW SHIPPING BUSINESS
In an e-Flash on 8th April, FIATA reported that jd.com has signed an agreement with Orient Overseas International Limited, the Hong Kong-based holding company involved in international transportation and logistics, and shipping group COSCO, to form a joint venture for the acquisition of Shenzhen-based Eshipping Global Supply Chain Management, an online logistics platform controlled by Cosco.
UK HIGH COURT UPHOLDS WORLDWIDE FREEZING ORDER IN SHAM CHARTERPARTY DISPUTE
An article from Ince Law on 4th April concerned allegations of fraud and sham charterparties, in a case where the Hogh Court upheld a Worldwide Freezing Order granted against the Defendants’ assets. It had been claimed that the Defendants had fraudulently conspired to divert hire of over $5.5 million under several charterparties.
RUSSIAN GROUP OFFERED PARAMILITARY TRAINING TO US NEO-NAZIS
Real Clear Defense on 6th April carried a report that the FBI had obtained intelligence information indicating a Russian ultra-nationalist group, the Russian Imperial Movement based in St Petersburg, linked to bombings in Sweden and subversion in Ukraine offered paramilitary training to alt-right, neo-Nazi activists in the US.
6 CONSIDERATIONS WHEN BUYING PATENTS FROM A DISSOLVED COMPANY
On 5th April, an article from UDL was concerned with some risks to consider before you look to acquire a patent from a company which is in administration or has been dissolved. It highlights 6 key ones to think about — and although focused on companies facing administration, similar considerations also apply to liquidation.
COURT OF APPEAL TO CONSIDER LEGALITY OF UK ARMS EXPORTS TO SAUDI ARABIA
Ekklesia on 8th April reported that the Court of Appeal in London will hear an appeal brought by Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT) to overturn a 2017 High Court judgment which allows the UK Government to continue to export arms to Saudi Arabia for use in Yemen.
THE CUP TRUST: UK CHARITY COMMISSION DEMONSTRATES A ROBUST REGULATORY APPROACH WITH REGARD TO TAX PLANNING ARRANGEMENTS
An article from Herbert Smith Freehills on 5th April reported on the results of its inquiry into The Cup Trust, a charity which participated in a large-scale tax avoidance scheme that earned its founder £2 million in fees – said to be a reminder of the standards expected of charity trustees and demonstrates the Charity Commission’s wide range of regulatory powers and its willingness to use a number of them in combination to deal with a given matter, particularly where complicated and/or untested tax arrangements are involved. It says that the Commission has given guidance on how trustees can help ensure they satisfy their duties. It says that trustees must ensure they fully understand the structure and effects of any proposed tax planning arrangements, including the risks and any benefits conferred on private businesses or individuals; and must also ensure that any conflicts of interest are identified, declared and properly managed.
UK LIMITED PARTNERSHIP REFORM – PROPOSALS CONFIRMED
On 4th April, an article from Ashfords LLP was concerned with the UK Government response to last year’s consultation on proposals for reform of the law concerning limited partnerships, which followed concerns that, especially in Scotland (where partnerships have legal personality), limited partnerships are being used for money laundering, organised crime and tax evasion. Dealing with the details in the proposals, the article also says that further details will be provided when draft legislation is published; but it is not clear when that will be: the consultation response merely says the government will legislate when parliamentary time allows.
FREIGHT SECTOR GIVEN MORE GUIDANCE ON TRADE IN ENDANGERED SPECIES IN EVENT OF NO-DEAL BREXIT
On 8th April, the British International Freight Association reported that, following a recent event organised by BIFA, DEFRA has issued additional guidance on the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).
RUSSIA RESPONSIBLE FOR MASSIVE SATELLITE SYSTEM SPOOFING, STUDY FINDS
EurActiv on 8th April reported that targeted manipulation of global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) by Russia is a threat to aviation and maritime safety and underscores the country’s growing expertise in electronic warfare, a new study by the US Center for Advanced Defense (C4ADS), an NGO conducting data-driven analysis of conflict and security matters. C4ADS’s findings stem from a year-long investigation ending in November 2018. Its sources included automatic route logging systems on ships, low-earth satellite signals, route histories taken from users of the Strava exercise app and public reports of vessels, aircraft and vehicles that went off course. The main targets include the US GPS (GPS/NAVSTAR), the EU Galileo System, as well as Russian, Chinese, Indian and Japanese systems.
The study is at –
UKRAINIAN OLIGARCH KOLOMOYSKY UNDER FBI INVESTIGATION
112 UA on 8th April reported that the FBI is allegedly investigating possible financial crimes of the Igor Kolomoysky.
AUSTRALIA: THE DANGEROUS ‘LOOM’ PYRAMID SCHEME CRAZE SWEEPING THE INTERNET AND TARGETING YOUTHS
The Daily Mail on 8th April reported that a new dangerous money-making scam is taking over the internet, targeting young people on social media. The ‘Loom’ craze has resurfaced on Facebook and promises people a payment of $2400, 8 times the initial $300 entry fee, when their friends and family join. The scheme has surfaced online all over the world, with names such as ‘loom circle’, ‘fractal mandala’ and ‘blessing loom’.
2 DOMINICANS DECLARED $5,600 TO US CUSTOMS, BUT $567,000 FOUND
The Bradenton Herald on 8th April reported that 2 Dominican Republic citizens lost a combined $567,409 through to 2 seizures by US Customs and Border Protection officers in San Juan, Puerto Rico. US law says travellers bringing in or taking out more than $10,000 currency must declare it.
CUSTOMS REPORTS SPIKE IN CASH AND GOLD SMUGGLING AT DELHI’S INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
The Hindustan Times on 8th April reported data also shows a spurt in gold smuggling cases. In 2016-2017, gold smuggling cases busted at the Delhi airport were 95, which grew to 253 in the next fiscal of 2017-2018. The number of persons arrested with illegal cash too increased from 10 during 2016-17 to 54 last year.
CHINESE CUSTOMS SENDS SMUGGLED WASTE BACK TO SOUTH KOREA
China.org on 8th April reported that China has shipped a batch of smuggled solid waste back to the Republic of Korea, where it originated. The 243-tonne load was covered by fake documents. China began importing solid waste as a source of raw materials in the 1980s and for years has been the world’s largest importer. Rising public awareness and a green development drive, the government decided last year to phase out and completely halt such imports by the end of 2019, except for those containing resources that are not substitutable.
EU: ACCESS TO THE OCCUPATION OF ROAD TRANSPORT OPERATOR AND TO THE INTERNATIONAL ROAD HAULAGE MARKET
On 8th April, the EU Parliament Research Service published a policy paper on a proposed EU Regulation to deal with persistent shortcomings such as diverging national application of the rules and uneven enforcement in the sector.
TANZANIA: PROSECUTION FINALISES ECONOMIC SABOTAGE CASE INVESTIGATION
All Africa on 7th April reported that the economic and money laundering trial facing 4 prominent figures will move a step further as its investigations have been completed. They are charged in the case jointly with Six Telecoms Company Limited on account of their positions in the company.
The Center for International Policy on 8th April said a recent report found that the number and value of licenses granted to manufacture US weapons and weapons components overseas increased by over 50% from 2017 to 2018, accounting for 25% of all US arms offers in 2018. In all, the US made 40 manufacturing licence deals in 2018, worth a total of $19.8 billion.
FATF REPORT TO G20 FINANCE MINISTERS AND CENTRAL BANK GOVERNORS
On 8th April, FATF published the report submitted to G20 Finance Ministers and governors of central banks and outlining ongoing work to fight money laundering and terrorist financing. The report provides an overview of the FATF’s recent and future work in a number of specific areas, including the work programme on virtual currencies/crypto assets; improving transparency and the availability of beneficial ownership information; and de-risking.
TRINIDAD & TOBAO UNEXPLAINED WEALTH BILL
On 8th April, Global Voices published an article about the Civil Asset Recovery and Management and Unexplained Wealth Bill 2019. The legislation targets corruption as part of a larger aim to establish an agency in Trinidad & Tobago responsible for recovering criminal property and restricting ill-gotten assets, with the Attorney General saying that saying that “innocent people” with nothing to hide should not be concerned. This is the second attempt to enact such legislation – the previous attempt being in 2015.
RUSSIAN COURT SEIZES $160 MILLION OF EX-OFFICIAL’S PROPERTY
Moscow Times on 8th April reported that a Russian court has ordered prosecutors to seize $160.7 million worth of property belonging to Alexander Shestun, a former official in Moscow region arrested on suspicion of fraud.
WTO PANEL LANDMARK DECISION RE ACTIONS TAKEN TO PROTECT NATIONAL SECURITY INTERESTS – UKRAINE GOODS IN TRANSIT IN RUSSIA
An article from Kelley Drye & Warren LLP on 8th April was concerned with a decision in a landmark dispute between Russia and Ukraine – said to be the first time a WTO Panel has been tasked with determining whether it has jurisdiction to review actions taken by a WTO Member to protect its own national security interests. The dispute was brought by Ukraine in September 2016 after Russia imposed various restrictions preventing Ukraine from using road and rail transit routes through Russia for trade goods destined for other states. Russia claimed that its actions were not subject to WTO review because they constituted actions necessary to protect Russia’s “essential security interests” during an “emergency in international relations” between Russia and Ukraine. The Panel found that it possessed jurisdiction to review the matter, but that the “national security” exemption claimed by Russia was satisfied. The Panel did not make any additional findings regarding Ukraine’s challenges and it made no recommendations for any further action.
INDIVIDUALS WITH DOMINICA CITIZENSHIP BY INVESTMENT (CBI) PASSPORTS
On 8th April, Kenneth Rijock in his blog published scans of the lists of names of those holding Dominica CBI passports and obtained from the Official Gazette in that country. He noted that all the new holders came from China or the Middle East.
FINAL WHISTLE FOR AN ILLEGAL SPORTS BETTING RING IN PORTUGAL
A news release from Europol on 8th April reported that the Fiscal Action Unit of the Portuguese Guarda Nacional Republicana (GNR) carried out a successful operation against an illegal sports betting network based in Portugal. The GNR seized assets of more than €1 million in Operation Showdown. 41 houses were searched, 9 suspects arrested, 50 motor vehicles confiscated, and more than 80 computers and devices and 7 gambling machines seized.
RESPONSE TO THE GOVERNMENT’S ONLINE HARMS WHITE PAPER
On 8th April, Mondo Visione carried a response to the just-published UK White Paper from a Visiting Lecturer and Royal Academy of Engineering Fellow in City, University of London’s Department of Library & Information Science. Timely and sensible, it seems to me – the response, not the White Paper.
US DESIGNATES IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS AS ‘TERRORIST ORGANISATION’
On 8th April, Rferl reported that President Donald Trump has designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) a foreign terrorist organization (FTO), the first time the US has labelled another nation’s military as a terrorist group.
HALF OF DANGEROUS GOODS COMING TO EU MADE IN CHINA
EU Business reported on 8th April that an EU report on 2018 says that more than half of all dangerous products detected by the EU’s ‘Safety Gate for dangerous products’ came from China. Authorities in the EU exchanged 2,257 alerts on dangerous products in 2018. Toys belonged to the most notified product category (31%), followed by ‘motor vehicles’ (19%), and ‘clothing, textiles and fashion items’ (10%), while the main risks flagged were chemical risks and injuries (25% each) followed by the choking risk for children (18%). It says that co-operation with Chinese authorities in the product safety field continues to be a priority, but the results are mixed.
SIMPLE CHECKS COULD DEFEAT SHIPPING INDUSTRY FRAUDSTERS
Hellenic Shipping News on 8th April reported that the International Transport Intermediaries Club (ITIC) says ship brokers and agents are among those most at risk of exposure to fraud in the shipping industry, and urges them to carry out simple checks in order to protect themselves.
FBME BANK SUES OWN INVESTIGATORS FOR WHISTLE-BLOWING IN CYPRUS
On 8th April, the Cyprus Mail reported that 2 British private investigators are being sued by the owners of FBME Bank for breaking confidentiality after it hired them to help fight money laundering accusations but instead they blew the whistle to US and Cypriot authorities on alleged criminal activity within the bank.
NO DEDICATED FEDERAL AML POLICE OFFICERS WORKING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
Global News on 8th April reported that the first look at Peter German’s review of money laundering in British Columbia’s housing market has found there are currently no dedicated federal RCMP officers in the province investigating criminal money laundering.