OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – APRIL 9

9th April 2019

US GAO TELLS TSA TO IMPROVE COVERT TESTING FOR WEAPONS IN AIRLINE BAGGAGE

On 6th April, Homeland Security Today reported that the Government Accountability Office (GAO) evaluated the testing of security screening at US airports by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) that looks for guns and simulated bombs at checkpoints or in checked-in baggage.  The GAO found that TSA’s ability to run covert tests to test its own system has improved, but a new process intended to address vulnerabilities found in testing has not fully worked.  The GAO made 9 recommendations and TSA concurred with the recommendations, all of which it estimates for completion by the end of the calendar year, with some, such as the first and second recommendations, estimated to be completed already by the end of May 2019.

https://www.hstoday.us/federal-pages/dhs/tsa/gao-tells-tsa-to-improve-covert-testing/

The GAO report is available at –

https://www.gao.gov/assets/700/698202.pdf

US LABELS IRAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARD ‘TERRORIST ORGANISATION’

KYC 360 reported on 9th April that the designation imposes sanctions that include freezes on assets the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) may have in US jurisdictions and a ban on Americans doing business with it.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/us-labels-iran-revolutionary-guard-terrorist-organization/

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefings-statements/statement-president-designation-islamic-revolutionary-guard-corps-foreign-terrorist-organization/

UK TAXMAN ‘COULD BE PROFITING FROM FROZEN LIBYAN ASSETS’

Sky News on 9th April reported that a total of £12 billion is being held in British financial institutions following the collapse of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.  It also points out that victims of IRA attacks that used Gaddafi-supplied Semtex, like the 1996 Docklands bombing, have not received compensation from Libya.  A report from the Commons Northern Ireland Affairs Committee recommended that ministers enter into direct negotiations with the Libyan authorities to seek a compensation deal, reveal whether any tax is collected on frozen Libyan assets, and asked for an explanation as to why the UK government has chosen not to finance a victims’ reparations fund if tax is being collected.

https://news.sky.com/story/taxman-could-be-profiting-from-frozen-libyan-assets-mps-say-11688376

http://www.irishnews.com/news/uknews/2019/04/09/news/libyan-assets-may-go-to-tax-man-while-victims-of-gaddafi-supplied-ira-semtex-get-nothing-say-mps-1593169/

ALLEGATIONS THAT FORMER SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENT MAY HAVE HIDDEN GADDAFI’S STOLEN MONEY

On 8th April, OCCRP reported that political parties in South Africa have called for investigations into former president Jacob Zuma after a report alleged that Zuma stashed millions of dollars belonging to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi in a bunker at his private home.   South African intelligence authorities allegedly said the money was later transported from Nkandla, in the eastern KwaZulu-Natal province, to the Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly Swaziland) – and comprised the proceeds from the sale of a large proportion of Libya’s gold reserves, worth more than $ 1 billion.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/9520-ex-south-african-president-may-have-hidden-gaddafi-s-stolen-money

THAILAND RAMPS UP FIGHT AGAINST FORCED LABOUR WITH STRICTER LAW

Baker McKenzie on 8th April reported that Thailand will use a newly amended law to crack down on forced labour with hefty fines and prison time, a move that analysts said could help curb exploitative practices against migrant workers.  Anyone found guilty can be jailed for 4 years and fined $12,516, with more severe penalties if a victim is harmed.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/thailand-ramps-up-fight-against-forced-labor-with-stricter-law/

FISH BLADDERS MEAN BIG BUSINESS FOR CHINESE AND MEXICAN SMUGGLERS

Insight Crime on 8th April reported that the swim bladder of an endangered fish, a giant fish which is a species of drum called totoaba caught only in Mexico, nets tens of thousands of dollars on China’s black markets, with traffickers from both countries feeding the illegal trade.  The totoaba is prized in Asia for its gas-filled sac, or swim bladder (or maw), can fetch a price of between $20,000 and $80,000 per kilogram on the black market.  Demand for maw stems from its use as an opulent business or wedding gift in China, as well as its value as an investment.  Used as an ingredient in soup, the swim bladders have supposed medicinal benefits and are considered a delicacy.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/fish-bladder-big-business-china-mexico-smugglers/

UK: HIGH COURT RULES AGAINST ‘WORST GANGMASTER EVER’ IN MODERN SLAVERY CASE

Ekklesia on 9th April reported that the High Court has ruled in favour of a group of Lithuanian men who were put to work in terrible conditions by a British company, catching chickens at farms all over the country.  The chickens were supplied to leading brands such as Noble Foods, for slaughter and subsequent sale in UK supermarkets.  It ruled that the workers who brought the case were subject to a gruelling and exploitative work regime by their employer, and also found that wages were withheld as a form of punishment, that a Lithuanian ‘enforcer’ was used to keep workers under control, and that workers who complained could be evicted into the street.

http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/28046

FDA REGULATION OF CANNABIS

On 8th April, King & Spalding in the US published a briefing saying that the FDA is clearly open to developing marketing pathways for certain products containing cannabis-derived compounds, like CBD.   Whether and how and when the agency does so will depend, in part, on the scientific data and information it obtains from stakeholders and the public.

https://www.kslaw.com/news-and-insights/fda-regulation-of-cannabis

TRADE IN COUNTERFEITS CONTINUES TO RISE, ACCORDING TO EUIPO/OECD STUDY

Novagraaf in the Netherlands on 8th April published an article saying that the latest joint study by the EU Intellectual Property Office and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development estimates the annual value of international trade in counterfeit and pirated goods to have reached €460 billion by 2016.

The report is at –

https://euipo.europa.eu/ohimportal/en/web/observatory/trends-in-trade-in-counterfeit-and-pirated-goods

https://www.novagraaf.com/en/insights/trade-counterfeits-continues-rise-finds-euipooecd-study

THE BRIBERY ACT 2010 – BREXIT AND EU ENFORCEMENT

In the second of a series of articles on the recent House of Lords select Committee into post-legislative scrutiny of the Bribery Act 2010.  It looks at the effect of Brexit.

https://www.bclplaw.com/en-GB/thought-leadership/the-bribery-act-2010-brexit-and-eu-enforcement.html

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The Statista Infographics Bulletin reports that, in the US alone, it is estimated that more than $148 billion was sent to individuals in other countries in 2017. Back in 2004, it says, a study found that over 60% of the 16.5 million Latin American-born adults living in the country at that time sent money home on a regular basis, with Mexico the top destination country for US remittance payments by far with over $30 billion sent home.

https://www.statista.com/chart/17640/remittances-sent-by-immigrants-living-in-the-us-to-their-home-countries/

UK GOVERNMENT QUESTIONED ON 5 ALLEGED RWANDAN GENOCIDE PERPETRATORS

On 9th April, it was announced that an MP had asked for a statement from the UK Government, saying that in 2017 Rwanda requested the extradition of 5 British men for alleged genocidal crimes, but were denied by the High Court who ruled that there was a high risk they would not receive a fair trial.  Following the referral of documents from Rwanda to Scotland Yard, the investigation has been reopened.

https://www.parliament.uk/business/news/2019/april/Government-questioned-on-alleged-Rwandan-genocide-perpetrators/

SOUTH AFRICAN COURT SAYS MOZAMBIQUE EX-FINANCE MINISTER CAN BE EXTRADITED TO US

Defence Web on 9th April reported that a South African court has ruled that Mozambique’s former finance minister Manuel Chang can be extradited to the US, where he is wanted on charges related to a $2 billion debt scandal.

https://www.defenceweb.co.za/governance/governance-governance/south-african-court-says-mozambique-ex-finance-minister-can-be-extradited-to-u-s/

EU COUNCIL FINAL APPROVAL TO THE COMMISSION PROPOSAL TO CREATE A EUROPEAN CRIMINAL RECORDS INFORMATION SYSTEM ON CONVICTED THIRD COUNTRY NATIONALS

On 9th April, a news release reported that this central system (ECRIS TCN) aims to improve the exchange of criminal records information regarding convicted non-EU-citizens and stateless persons through the existing European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS).  Legislation proposed by the Commission is also under negotiation which would also make it possible to check the ECRIS-TCN database when a travel authorisation is requested to enter the EU (through ETIAS), when considering visa applications (through VIS) or when investigating identity fraud – but only the identity information of those convicted for serious crime or terrorism would be made available.  ECRIS is currently used around 3 million times a year to exchange information on previous criminal convictions.

http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-19-2018_en.htm

WORLD FEDERATION OF EXCHANGES WELCOMES FATF RECOMMENDATIONS TO IDENTIFY USERS OF VIRTUAL ASSETS

Investor Ideas on 9th April reported that the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), the global industry group for exchanges and CCP, has responded to FATF recommendations on mitigating risks associated with virtual asset service providers (VASP) and cryptoassets.  The article summarises the response from the WFE.

https://www.investorideas.com/news/2019/main/04092WFE-FATF.asp

GREECE: ANTI-CORRUPTION AUTHORITY CHIEF DISMISSES ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HER

To Via on 9th April reported that the head of the Anti-Corruption General Secretariat, Anastasia Xepapadea, has denied another allegation – that she has a seat on the Board of a family business which may constitute a conflict of interest.  She described the allegations against her as a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from the ongoing Novartis probe, which involved 10 MPs.

https://www.tovima.gr/2019/04/09/international/anti-corruption-authority-chief-dismisses-allegations-against-her

A MARKETPLACE FOR STOLEN FINGERPRINTS HAS EMERGED

PYMNTS.com on 9th April reported that security researchers have revealed at the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit in Singapore that a Dark Net marketplace in which hackers are selling digital fingerprints has emerged.

https://www.pymnts.com/news/security-and-risk/2019/marketplace-stolen-fingerprints

SWISS REFUNDED SF365 MILLION TO BRAZIL IN PETROBRAS – ODEBRECHT AFFAIR

Reuters on 9th April reported that the Swiss Attorney General’s Office has so far returned roughly $365 million to Brazil related to the corruption probe into state-owned oil firm Petrobras and construction firm Odebrecht, and around 70 related criminal proceedings underway in Switzerland, 2 of which are into Swiss financial groups.

https://www.reuters.com/article/brazil-corruption-petrobras-swiss/swiss-refunded-365-mln-sfr-to-brazil-in-petrobras-odebrecht-affair-idUSZ8N18K01J

HORSE RACING CONMAN STOLE £200,000 FROM PUNTERS THEN POSED AS PRIVATE DETECTIVE TO FLEECE THEM AGAIN

Yahoo News on 9th April carried an article saying that Christopher Beek, 36, from Blackpool, a horse racing conman who stole more than £2000,000 from punters in an elaborate betting scam has been jailed for almost 6 years.  He defrauded his victims then posed as a private detective, charging them a fee whilst pretending to help them get their money back.  Beek was caught after one suspicious victim reported him even after the conman made threats of IRA links in a bid to stop him going to police.

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/horse-racing-conman-stole-200000-punters-posed-private-detective-fleece-130219247.html

HACKER FROM RUSSIAN CRIME GROUP JAILED FOR MULTI-MILLION POUND GLOBAL BLACKMAIL CONSPIRACY

An NCA news release on 9th April reported that Zain Qaiser, 24, from Barking, Essex has been jailed for 6 years and 5 months after a NCA investigation.  He is described as a top-level cyber criminal who targeted hundreds of millions of computers with locking ransomware and as a member of an international, Russian-speaking organised crime group that made massive profits from victims in more than 20 countries.

https://nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk/news/hacker-from-russian-crime-group-jailed-for-multi-million-pound-global-blackmail-conspiracy

FROM IGUANAS TO COCAINE: GERMANY PUBLISHES LIST OF CUSTOMS SEIZURES

The Local on 8th April reported that the recently released 2018 German customs statistics show that despite the ever-more creative ways smugglers have tried to evade the authorities, by far the most comes in through the post.  The statistics showed that 91% of contraband found was in mail sent from abroad to Germany, particularly medicines and illicit drugs being sent from China, with the drugs are frequently ordered from the Dark Web before being packaged and sent to Germany.  The confiscated drugs include counterfeit medicines – particularly impotence drugs like Cialis and Viagra – as well as anabolic steroids.  2018 also saw more than 21,000 violations of Germany’s Species Protection Act, including attempted smuggling of live fish and iguanas.

https://www.thelocal.de/20190408/iguanas-smugglers-and-swallowers-germanys-weird-and-wacky-customs-seizures

ISLE OF MAN BUSINESS AVIATION LAW – A PRACTICAL GUIDE 2019

Appleby has published on its website the Isle of Man chapter it contributed to “Business Aviation Law in Europe – A Practical Guide 2019”.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/insights/insights-2019/business-aviation-law-in-europe—a-practical-guide-2019.aspx

SOUTH KOREAN POLICE USE AI TO BUST $19 MILLION BITCOIN-FUELLED PYRAMID SCAM

Baker McKenzie on 9th April reported that South Korean police have caught the masterminds of a Bitcoin-fuelled Ponzi scheme responsible for generating almost $19 million in revenue using a scam called “M-Coin,” which targeted those with poor understanding of the technology – mostly elderly people, retirees, and housewives – with promises of free cryptocurrency and recruitment bonuses for signing up others.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/south-korean-police-use-ai-to-bust-19m-bitcoin-fuelled-pyramid-scam/

EU COUNTER-FRAUD PROGRAMMES: PERICLES 2020, HERCULE III AND AFIS     

On 9th April, the EU Parliament published a report on these programmes – Pericles 2020 is an exchange, assistance and training programme for the protection of the euro against counterfeiting.  Hercule III is a programme aimed at supporting action to combat irregularities, fraud and corruption affecting the EU budget. AFIS is a collection of applications for the exchange of anti-fraud information between OLAF and national administrations.  The report also mentions other EU anti-fraud programmes and actions, including Customs 2020 and Fiscalis 2020.

http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/BRIE/2019/637917/EPRS_BRI(2019)637917_EN.pdf

BORDER INSPECTORS IN SINGAPORE MAKE RECORD SEIZURE OF TRAFFICKED PANGOLIN SCALES

Illicit Trade on 9th April reported that customs officers in Singapore have discovered nearly 13 tonnes of pangolin scales and close to 180 kg of ivory in one of the largest such seizures the world has ever seen, with a combined estimated value of nearly $39 million.  It was found in a shipping container that had arrived in the country from Nigeria while in transit to Vietnam.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2019/04/border-inspectors-in-singapore-make-record-seizure-of-trafficked-pangolin-scales/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

ELECTRONIC INFORMATION EXCHANGE BETWEEN SHIPS AND PORTS MANDATORY FOR FROM 8 APRIL

The International Maritime Organisation on 8th April reported that a mandatory requirement for national governments to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports comes into effect from 8th April.  It says that the aim is to make cross-border trade simpler and the logistics chain more efficient, for the more than 10 billion tons of goods which are traded by sea annually across the globe.  The requirement, mandatory under IMO’s Convention on Facilitation of International Maritime Traffic (FAL Convention), is part of a package of amendments under the revised Annex to the FAL Convention, adopted in 2016.

http://www.imo.org/en/MediaCentre/PressBriefings/Pages/06-electronic-information-exchange-.aspx

ISLE OF MAN SHIP REGISTRY ANNUAL REPORT 2018

This Report was released on 9th April.

https://www.iomshipregistry.com/media/2002/2018-annual-report.pdf

FINTRAC PARTNERS WITH THE REAL ESTATE COUNCIL OF BRITISH COLUMBIA TO COMBAT MONEY LAUNDERING

A news release from the Canadian Government on 9th April announced that fedarl anti-money laundering organisation FINTRAC had signed a MoU with the Real Estate Council of British Columbia aimed at combatting money laundering in the real estate sector in British Columbia – the first of its kind with real estate regulators in Canada.

https://www.canada.ca/en/financial-transactions-reports-analysis/news/2019/04/fintrac-partners-with-the-real-estate-council-of-british-columbia-to-combat-money-laundering.html?src=ilaw

MORE THAN 100 SAID DISMISSED IN AIRBUS COMPLIANCE CRACKDOWN

Reuters on 9th April reported that it is said that Airbus has dismissed more than 100 people and issued more than 300 warnings for ethics or compliance reasons in 2018 as it conducts a wide-ranging internal crackdown and deals with outside fraud probes. It is being investigated by UK and French authorities over suspected corruption dating back over a decade.

https://ca.reuters.com/article/businessNews/idCAKCN1RL2DK-OCABS?src=ilaw&feedType=RSS&feedName=businessNews&rpc=401

US CORRUPTION LIST OMITS KEY CENTRAL AMERICAN OFFICIALS

Insight Crime on 9th April published an article saying that the list was intended to provide US Congress with the identities of high-level state actors in the Northern Triangle countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador “known to have committed or facilitated acts of grand corruption or narcotics trafficking”.  However, the State Department chose only to name individuals who had already been convicted of the crimes.  The list, which omits high-level officials currently suspected of crimes but not yet convicted, was heavily criticized by US Congresswoman Norma Torres who originally asked for the report.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/us-corruption-list-omits-key-central-american-officials/

The list is available at –

https://torres.house.gov/sites/torres.house.gov/files/Report%20to%20Congress%20on%20Narcotics%20Trafficking%2C%20Corruption%2C%20and%20Illicit%20Campaign%20Finance%20in%20Honduras%2C%20Guatemala%2C%20and%20El%20Salvador.pdf

REPORT: ILLEGAL TRADE IN A GREENHOUSE GAS RAMPANT IN EU

On 9th April, OCCRP reported that EU’s tight regulations of greenhouse gases seem to have caused an eruption of criminal trade of hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), synthetic chemicals hundreds of thousands of times stronger than carbon dioxide and used in many common household products, according to a new report from a UK-based NGO.  HFC gases are used in common appliances like refrigerators and air-conditioners, as well as in fire protection, aerosols and foams.  Most of the HFC enters the EU from China or via Russia, Ukraine, Turkey and Albania, according to the report.  Investigators suspect common entry points and hotspots are located in Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland and Malta.  The HFC are then dispersed throughout the EU, including via web-based platforms, including eBay, Facebook and even SMS texting.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/9541-report-illegal-trade-in-a-greenhouse-gas-rampant-in-eu

The report is available at –

https://eia-international.org/criminal-trade-hfc-super-greenhouse-gases-flourishing-eu/

US CHARGES 24 IN $1.2 BILLION MEDICARE ORTHOTIC BRACE FRAUD

Reuters reported on 9th April that US authorities say that they have broken up a $1.2 billion Medicare fraud in which doctors, telemarketers and owners of medical equipment companies peddled medically unnecessary orthotic braces to hundreds of thousands of elderly and disabled patients.  Authorities called the case one of the largest health care frauds ever prosecuted in the US.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-health-care-fraud/u-s-charges-24-in-1-2-billion-medicare-orthotic-brace-fraud-idUSKCN1RL2M2

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/federal-indictments-and-law-enforcement-actions-one-largest-health-care-fraud-schemes

UK AMENDS DETAILS FOR 11 PERSONS ON THE IRAN SANCTIONS LISTS

A Notice from HM Treasury on 9th April advised of changes to the details of 11 persons on the UK Consolidated List, the changes mirroring those made to the underlying EU sanctions by EU Regulation 2019/560/EU.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/794143/Notice_Iran__HR__2019_560.pdf

PROTECTION OF EU FINANCIAL INTEREST ON CUSTOMS AND VAT: CO-OPERATION OF NATIONAL TAX AND CUSTOMS AUTHORITIES TO PREVENT FRAUD

On 9th April, the EU Parliament released an excellent, informative Study which says that the losses from customs and VAT fraud impact the Member States’ contributions to the EU budget.  This study aims to describe the current levels of fraud and map and analyse the effectiveness of the EU co-operation measures in tackling fraud.  The first conclusion is that the lack of methodology for measuring customs gap or its elements, such as losses from customs fraud, prevents tailored risk-based policy responses.  As a second conclusion, current co-operation channels are underused, but recent developments have been positive and new proposals are expected to strengthen the joint fight against fraud.  It is said to be clear that the customs duties and VAT-based contribution to own resources would be larger and resulting total national contributions to the EU budget fairer, if fraud in these areas was tackled more efficiently.

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http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2019/636470/IPOL_STU(2019)636470_EN.pdf

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DRUG GANGS CORRUPT PANAMA’S SHIPPING INDUSTRY

On 9th April, Insight Crime carried an article saying that local gangs, in partnership with Colombian traffickers, have become increasingly involved in protecting and smuggling cocaine onto cargo ships docked in the port city of Colón along the northern edge of the Panama Canal.  It says that the cocaine arrives from Colombia via drug mules, carrying as much as 10 kg of cocaine in backpacks, they cross the Darien Gap separating Colombia and Panama.  The Colón gangs receive the cocaine and then smuggle it into the port with the help of compromised employees.  In 2018, authorities in Colón arrested 330 people and seized 12 tons of cocaine – nearly half of the seized cocaine was discovered in the port terminals.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/drug-gangs-corrupt-panama-shipping-industry/