15th April 2019
AUSTRALIA: WINE LABEL DIRECTORY CLAMPS DOWN ON COPYCAT EXPORTERS
On 15th April, Food Processing reported that the federal government is developing an Australian Wine Label Intellectual Property Directory to prevent copycat wine being sold overseas and better protect Australian wine producers – with exports wort more than $2.8 billion in 2017–18. The Directory aims to improve the transparency of exported labels, identify copycat labels and ensure fraudsters are held accountable. Copycats could be stripped of their export licence, and those being copied could also take legal action under the Trade Marks Act 1995.
AUSTRALIA: MAN CAUGHT ALLEGEDLY SMUGGLING EXOTIC FISH IN BAG AROUND HIS NECK
Travel Weekly on 15th April reported that a 34-year-old Vietnamese man landed in Adelaide from Malaysia and was selected for a baggage examination. The fish was identified as a Fully Red Asian Arowana, the trade of which is controlled under CITES.
THE 10 MOST COUNTERFEITED PRODUCTS IN AMERICA
On 14th April, the Coloradoan published an article listing the top 10 most counterfeited goods seized on import into the US. Top was clothing, then watches and jewellery, footwear, consumer electronics and other consumer products, handbags and wallets, pharmaceuticals and personal care items, optical media, computer parts and accessories, and toys.
HOW SOME CRYPTOCURRENCY EXCHANGES INCENTIVISE WASH TRADING
On 14th April, the Cryptoslate website reported that there is evidence that some exchanges are structured to encourage wash trading – being eager to increase their trading volume which results in more liquidity, attracts more traders and ultimately results in higher revenue. “Wash trading” is a form of market manipulation in which an investor simultaneously sells and buys the same financial instruments to create misleading, artificial activity in the marketplace. Such activity can be illegal in the US and other jurisdictions to protect retail investors.
NEW ZEALAND: FURTHER ARRESTS IN COMANCHERO MOTORCYCLE GANG OPERATION
Stuff on 15th April reported further drugs and money laundering linked to the Australian biker gang, which is said to have connections with the Mexican cartel formerly controlled by “El Chapo” Guzman. Police said the original operation targeted senior members of the gang and a number of professionals, namely a lawyer and an accountant, who were believed to be linked to the alleged offending. The Commancheros (named for a gang in a – rather good – John Wayne Western) are one of 2 Australian biker gangs (the others being the Bandidos), which are vicious rivals.
DOJ CHARGES PROPERTY FIRM FOUNDER, FORMER EXECUTIVES IN HUGE ALLEGED PONZI SCHEME
KYC 360 on 15th April reported that prosecutors had charged the owner and two former executives of Woodbridge Group of Companies LLC with orchestrating a $1.3-billion Ponzi scheme involving 10,000 victims.
TAX AND VAT: INITIAL COIN OFFERING (ICO) THROUGH CYPRUS
Kinanis LLP on 5th April published a second article on ICO using Cyprus. The first publication dealt with general issues of ICO through Cyprus. The second article deals with the “unclear and highly unstable” issue of the TAX and VAT treatment of ICO from the issuer company’s perspective.
The first article is available at –
IRELAND: BENEFICIAL OWNERSHIP REGISTER OF TRUSTS – APPLICATION TO AIRCRAFT LEASING AND STRUCTURED FINANCE TRANSACTIONS
On 20th March, Mason Hayes & Curran published an article about 2019 Regulations which transpose into Irish law the requirements under the 4th AML Directive (as amended) regarding the creation and holding of beneficial ownership registers for trusts. The 2019 Regulations apply to express trusts whose trustees are resident in Ireland or which are otherwise administered in Ireland and has a very broad application. This article focuses on the potential application to the aircraft leasing and financing sector.
CAN A DIRECTOR BE A PSC (PERSON WITH SIGNIFICANT CONTROL) IN RELATION TO THEIR COMPANY?
On 11th April, Brodies LLP published an article which explains that the aim of the PSC regime is to establish who ultimately owns and controls UK companies. Under the PSC regime, UK companies are required to find out if they have any PSC; maintain a register of PSC; and provide information about their PSC position to Companies House (where it is publicly available). It explains when a director may also be a PSC – but that is more likely to be because of the level of their shareholding or voting rights – and all relationships that the director has with the company must be analysed before reaching a final conclusion.
LATIN-AMERICAN NATIONALS LODGE RECORD NUMBERS OF ASYLUM APPLICATIONS IN FEBRUARY 2019
On 12th April, the EU announced that, in February 2019, some 57,000 applications for international protection were lodged in the EU+. Despite a small decrease compared to the first month of the year, this monthly figure remained higher than the average over the past 12 months, and considerably higher than applications in February 2018 (46,000 applications). Most applications were lodged by nationals of Syria, Venezuela, Afghanistan, Iraq and Nigeria. These 5 together made up one third of all applicants in February. Colombian and Nicaraguan applications recorded significant increases.
CHINESE TYCOON’S SON BUYS $3.8 MILLION BUGATTI IN VANCOUVER WITH DAD’S CREDIT CARD, AND COMPLAINS ABOUT TAXES
Zero Hedge on 14th April has published an article which followed up its article from 2 years previously – “The Rich Chinese Kids of Vancouver”. This was at the time of the Vancouver housing bubble with unprecedented money laundering funds from Chinese oligarchs and tycoons in the Western Canadian real estate market. It says that, every now and then we get a stark reminder of just how much funds China’s “0.1%“ transfer overseas – such as the story of the son of a Chinese tycoon buying a C$5.1 million custom Bugatti sports car in Vancouver, using his daddy’s Union Pay credit card, according to a picture of the invoice the young man posted on Instagram to complain about Canadian taxes.
VEHICLE DOCUMENTS DRIVERS NEED TO LEGALLY CROSS INTERNATIONAL BORDERS IN A UK-REGISTERED VEHICLE
On 15th April, the UK Department for Transport published updated guidance, for goods vehicles and coaches etc, and provides information about the main documents a driver needs to make sure that the vehicle is legally able to cross international borders.
REAL ESTATE AGENT & BROKERS, PROPERTY DEVELOPERS AND CERTAIN OTHERS ETC MUST REGISTER AS DNFBP IN THE CAYMAN ISLANDS
On 12th April, Ogier published an article saying that real estate agent and brokers, property developers and certain other Designated Non-Financial Businesses and Professions (DNFBP) must register their businesses with the Department of Commerce and Investment by close of business on 29th May. The requirement for such registration arises under the Anti-Money Laundering (Designated Non-Financial Business and Professions (Amendment) (No 2) Regulations 2017.
TURKISH DEFENCE EXPORTS TO 2023: GRAND AMBITIONS
The International Institute for Strategic Studies published an article on 10th April saying that Turkey’s growing defence industry is making significant progress in the export arena – but the industry still faces a number of challenges. Turkish defence exports over the past decade have typically been of wheeled armoured vehicles. However, defence export contracts signed over the last 12 months reflect the growing capability of the Turkish defence industry. Frigates, attack helicopters and armed uninhabited aerial vehicles are more complex than armoured vehicles and require a larger supply chain, as well as a more demanding post-sales logistics and support service. Of the 13 countries Turkey has reported delivering armoured vehicles to since 2010, 11 are both Muslim and diplomatically friendly and Turkey has yet to secure any significant defence exports to fellow NATO members. It says that many platforms currently entering service with the Turkish armed forces are being licence-produced or imported, but it is probable that over the next two decades a higher proportion of equipment will be of a local design – many of these systems may then be offered for export.
IMO “SINGLE WINDOW” MARITIME DATA SOLUTION AVAILABLE AFTER LAUNCH IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
The International Maritime Organisation on 11th April reported that a successful IMO project promoted by Norway to establish a maritime “single window” in Antigua and Barbuda has been completed – and the source code for the system will now be made available to other countries who need it. New requirements which came into effect on 8th April require national governments to introduce electronic information exchange between ships and ports. The maritime single window is recommended for this. The generic Maritime Single Window system is a software that will perform many different tasks within the realm of ship reporting and information exchange. The generic system is not customised to any particular country, application or process, but will provide basic services to support the general acknowledged processes within any country that seeks to meet the obligations of the FAL Convention. These services typically relate to registering port calls and facilitating the clearance of ships, passengers and crew members. The facility will allow submission of standardised information covered by the FAL Convention to a single-entry point, including the ability to upload several spreadsheets (including crew and effects, passenger and ship stores lists).
PREPARING THE UK NUCLEAR INDUSTRY FOR A POST-BREXIT WORLD
On 15th April, Gowling WLG published an article outlining where are we now since the announcement of the Government’s draft European Union (Withdrawal) Bill on 26th January, safeguarding measures, Nuclear Co-operation Agreements (NCA) with the US, Australia, Canada and Japan, and where next for the nuclear industry? The UK government has interpreted EU comments as confirming that the UK will not be able to use the NCAs and so has sought to put alternative arrangements in place (including the underpinning safeguarding framework) so that there is no gap in the UK’s ability to conduct international nuclear trade from the eventual date of departure.
EU MULLS VAT CHANGES FOR FINANCIAL SERVICES
Accountancy Daily on 15th April reported that there are signs that the EU could be about to reconsider the VAT treatment of financial and insurance services, removing their exemption, partly because of recent changes to cost-sharing arrangements, and the challenges of taxing the digital economy. In a briefing paper, the EU’s group on the future of VAT points out that the current rules date back to 1977 and are believed to be complex and difficult to apply in practice. The group says a study, which is scheduled to begin shortly and could conclude in a year’s time, should develop possible options for the review of the provisions in the VAT directive and prepare an analysis of impacts in respect of each.
MALTA: €10.3 MILLION IN COCAINE SEIZED IN 19-HOUR OPERATION BY CUSTOMS
Newsbook on 15th April reported that 76 packets of cocaine weighing 91.25 kg were seized by customs Officials from 3 containers at the Malta Freeport.
STATE DEPARTMENT SECURITY ASSISTANCE TO EGYPT
The Security Assistance Monitor newsletter from the Center for International Policy reported, as its Data Fact of the Week, on how much security aid that Egypt receives from the US. After Israel, Egypt receives more State Department-administered security aid than any other country, principally through Foreign Military Financing (FMF).
16th April 2019
UK AML LAW AFTER EXIT DAY
Bright Line Law on 15th April published an article saying that in the AML arena, efforts are well underway to minimise the impact of a UK departure. The EU Exit Regulations amend the Money Laundering, Terrorist Financing and Transfer of Funds (Information on the Payer) Regulations 2017 which transposed the 4th Money Laundering Directive into UK law, and they ensure the continuation of the AML obligations once the Directive ceases to be enforceable in the UK subject to some subtle differences. In the coming months, the article says, it will be prudent for regulated firms to review their AML policies.
AUSTRALIAN ATTORNEY GENERAL ANNOUNCES REVIEW OF CORPORATE CRIME LAWS
On 10th April, the Attorney General announced a comprehensive review by the Australian Law Reform Commission into the laws dealing with corporate criminal responsibility, saying that it is essential that the laws are effective in holding corporations to account for criminal misconduct by their officers. The terms of reference for the review are included in the news release and information about the review will be available on the Commission website. The Commission’s report will be delivered to the Government by 30th April 2020.
CRIMINAL FINANCES ACT 2017 – BEING CRIMINALLY LIABLE FOR FAILING TO PREVENT ANYONE REGARDED AS AN “ASSOCIATED PERSON” FROM FACILITATING UK OR FOREIGN TAX EVASION
On 2nd April, DAC Beachcroft published an article about the Act which, inter alia, makes “relevant bodies”, which includes solicitor corporates and partnerships, criminally liable for failing to prevent anyone regarded as an “associated person” from facilitating UK or foreign tax evasion. The Act is, it says, highly relevant to solicitors and other professionals providing any form of tax advice. HMRC and Law Society have published guidance, and the Law Society has set out questions and scenarios to supplement the guidance.
FRANCE TO ASK EU PARTNERS TO ADOPT ITS CRYPTOCURRENCY REGULATION
KYC 360 on 16th April reported that France will push for the EU to adopt a regulatory framework on cryptocurrencies similar to the one adopted at a national level. The new French law will allow companies that want to issue new cryptocurrencies or trade existing ones to apply for a certification.
THE 6th MONEY LAUNDERING DIRECTIVE
On 11th April, KPMG Malta re-published an article (first published on 31st January) about an EU Directive published in October, which complements and reinforces the 4th and 5th Directives. The article says that it contains 5 amendments that EU business should look out for – a harmonised definition of a “predicate crime”; it extends the criminal liability to legal persons such as companies or partnerships, including persons acting on their behalf; introduces investigative tools and rules to determine which Member State would have jurisdiction when an offence falls within the jurisdiction of more than one Member State; introduces the requirement for the offence to be unlawful in both jurisdictions, the country where the offence takes places and the jurisdiction in which the offence of money laundering is committed; and punitive measures are enhanced for individuals and certain punitive measures were introduced for legal organisations.
UN COMMITTEE TO DECIDE ON SANCTIONS WAIVER FOR RELICS EXCAVATION PROJECT IN KOREA
On 16th April, Yonhap reported that the UN Security Council sanctions committee on North Korea is expected to grant South Korea’s request for a sanctions waiver for a cross-border project to excavate relics from a historical site in North Korea. The exemption is to allow goods to be used for the excavation project in the Manwoldae site in the North’s border town of Kaesong.
JAPAN VEHICLES IN CHINA SMUGGLED INTO NORTH KOREA
The Japan Times on 16th April reported that Japanese-made luxury vehicles that were used by Chinese military forces are being smuggled into North Korea through the Chinese border city of Dandong. It says that it is believed that many banned items are secretly being brought into the reclusive country through informal channels at the China-North Korea border.
NIGERIA: DRAMA IN COURT AS OFFICIALS APPREHEND JUDGE AFTER CORRUPTION CHARGES STRUCK OUT
On 16th April, the Daily Post reported on drama at the premises of an Ikeja High Court as officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) apprehended Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia, a dismissed judge of the Federal High Court, after corruption charges against her were struck out.
MARITIME ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENDA ANNOUNCED
On 16th April, Government Europa reported that the International Maritime Organization (IMO) has announced it will begin work on official guidance to combat maritime corruption. The article says that more than 28,000 individual incidents of corruption – predominantly bribery and “facilitation payments”, where shipping operators pay onshore officials to accelerate or circumvent administrative processes – have been reported since 2011. The IMO has agreed to include the formation of a maritime anti-corruption agenda in the work programme for its Facilitation Committee in response to requests from several states, with support from the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS). The proposed maritime anti-corruption agenda is expected to draw on the UN Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which came into force in 2005 and has been adopted by 186 countries. The UNCAC is currently the world’s only legally binding instrument combatting corruption.
US CHOCOLATIERS JAILED FOR TRAFFICKING COCAINE TO AUSTRALIA
SBS News on 16th April reported that brothers Nathan and Andrew Dulley have been sentenced by a US judge to prison after admitting to using their California-based fine chocolate business to traffic large quantities of cocaine to Australia. The Dulleys linked up with Owen Hanson, the former University of Southern California gridiron player who was the kingpin of the violent gang involved in drug trafficking, money laundering and illegal gambling.
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR ENTREPRENEURS AND INVESTORS TO PRODUCE MEDICINAL CANNABIS IN MALTA
A Dixcart briefing on 16th April says that a new legislative initiative in Malta means that it is now possible to grow and process cannabis (marijuana) in Malta, as long as it is for medical use. This presents an opportunity for entrepreneurs and investors. Entities need to apply to produce and/or process medicinal cannabis in Malta and must comply with the legal criteria as specified in the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal Use Act 2019.
UK: APPEALS TO THE FIRST-TIER TAX TRIBUNAL SOAR
On 16th April, Taxation reported that disputes between HMRC and taxpayers are surging, according to information obtained by Price Bailey. The number of appeals to the First-tier Tribunal has jumped by 43% over the past 2 years with 7,377 cases in 2017-18, up from 6,559 in 2016-17 and 5,161 in 2015-16.
LITTLE-KNOWN US LAW ALLOWS DISCOVERY FOR FOREIGN PROCEEDINGS
On 15th April, an article from Sheppard Mullin about what it describes as the often-overlooked provisions of a US statute from 1948 that authorises US courts to order discovery for use in certain foreign legal proceedings.
UK: ORGANISED CRIME GROUP BOSS WHO FLED BEFORE CONVICTION HUNTED
On 16th April, a news release from the NCA said that it had released CCTV footage of an organised crime group boss who fled before he was convicted and sentenced to 11 years. Richard Wakeling, 52, from Brentwood, Essex, tried to import £8 million of liquid amphetamine into the UK in April 2016. He is aid to have caught a bus from Heathrow to Glasgow, and the following day he took a ferry from Stranraer to Belfast. Wakeling has family and friends in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Canada and Thailand.
TROPICAL HIDEAWAY IN BRAZIL REVEALS ROMANIA’S POLITICAL SECRETS
On 16th April, OCCRP published an article about Liviu Dragnea, president of Romania’s ruling Social Democratic Party, and the claim that Dragnea illegally benefitted from business carried out by Tel Drum SA, a Romanian company that has received millions of euros in EU road construction money. Dragnea maintains he has had no relationship with Tel Drum executives for at least a decade (and that he never profited from the company’s lucrative business).
PERU RESTORES AUTONOMY OF AGENCY FIGHTING ILLEGAL LOGGING
OCCRP on 15th April reported that the Peruvian government published a decree restoring the independence of OSINFOR, its agency in charge of combating illegal logging in the Peruvian Amazon, reversing a decision from a few months ago that had placed the organisation under ministerial control. NGO Global Witness called the decision a “dramatic U-turn”. A 2015 report from a UK-based NGO, found rampant violations of timber regulations leaving port cities on Peru’s Pacific Coast. OSINFOR verified that at least 45 companies exported illegally-sourced timber from the city of Callao, accounting for 41% of Peru’s timber exports for the entire year. Verified illegal wood was exported to 18 countries.
LITHUANIAN LINKED TO MONEY LAUNDERING ALSO FUNDS KREMLIN’S CHURCH
OCCRP on 15th April reported that Marine Services and Repairs Pte, a company owned by a Lithuanian businessman, Vladimir Stefanov, who allegedly was part of a network that laundered money looted by the dictator of Equatorial Guinea has donated funds for the construction of the third-highest church in Russia that will serve as the principal temple of Russia’s armed forces.
CLAMPDOWN PLANNED FOR BRITISH ONLINE PHARMACIES
On 16th April, the BBC reported that new rules to keep people safe when buying medications from online pharmacies have been described as a “big step forward” by Britain’s pharmacy regulator. The General Pharmaceutical Council has issued guidance for providers – it will help regulate access to addictive medication, such as strong painkillers. The way some online pharmacy websites operate will change, and more checks will be done on medications.
MAN CONVICTED OF BRIBERY SENTENCED TO EDUCATING OTHERS ON CORRUPTION
Baker McKenzie on 16th April reported that a former executive at T&M Associates in New Jersey was sentenced to a year of house arrest and 5 years of probation over bribery charges. He will also be required to educate others who do business with public officials on issues of corruption. T&M Associates made large and frequent political contributions to officials in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and the defendant was charged with bribing mayors to get public works contracts.
COCAINE HAUL SHOWS SOPHISTICATED TRAFFICKING ROUTE THROUGH HONDURAS’ LA MOSQUITIA REGION
Insight Crime on 15th April reported that authorities in Honduras arrested 4 Colombian citizens caught in an attempt to smuggle over 100 kg of cocaine into the US through a remote region of the country’s eastern coast, an example of increased drug flow through Honduras. This trafficking operation was based in La Mosquitia (“the Mosquito Coast”), a region of dense rainforest and swamps, which is almost inaccessible by land. It extends along Honduras’ Caribbean coast as far as Nicaragua and has been used for the smuggling of drugs by plane and boat from South America to the US.
EU: ELECTRONIC FREIGHT TRANSPORT INFORMATION – PROPOSAL FOR A FULLY DIGITAL AND HARMONISED ENVIRONMENT FOR INFORMATION EXCHANGES BETWEEN TRANSPORT OPERATORS AND AUTHORITIES
The EU Parliament has published a briefing document on the proposal for an EU Regulation on electronic freight transport information, saying that the digitalisation of information exchange on the movement of goods within the EU could make the transport of goods much more efficient and reliable, and yield significant savings. In May 2018, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Regulation on electronic freight transport information. The European Parliament adopted its position on the proposal on 12th March, but interinstitutional negotiations cannot begin until the EU Council reaches a common position on the file. The document says that discussions on the file are ongoing in the Council working party on ‘Transport – intermodal questions and networks’, but the Council has not yet reached a common position on the file.
MALICIOUS COMMUNICATIONS v HARASSMENT
On 16th April, Corker Bining published an article looking at the misuse of social media as a platform which enables the commission of a number of criminal offences such as making threats to kill, harassment and controlling or coercive behaviour. It says that these types of behaviour may also involve the commission of communications offences contained within the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003 – a common example of this being the sending of a malicious communication during the course of harassment. It explains what is a “malicious communication” and what is harassment, and the charging practices of the CPS. It then looks at what one might to do protect oneself.
NCA PUBLISHES ANNUAL PLAN 2019/20
On 16th April, the NCA published its Annual Plan.
ISLE OF MAN CONFIRMS REMOVAL OF 13 NAMES FROM IRAQ SANCTIONS LIST
On 15th April, the Isle of Man confirmed the removal of 13 entities from the Iraq sanctions list, following the decision of the UN and EU.
HMRC DIRECT RECOVERY OF DEBTS INTERVENTION – REVIEW
On 16th April, HMRC published a review of Direct Recovery of Debts activity between April 2016 and December 2018. Direct Recovery of Debts came into effect in November 2015 and gives HMRC the power to recover established debts directly from debtors’ bank and building society accounts. The report considers whether the key policy objectives – reducing tax debt owed by securing payment in full, ensuring a fairer tax system and providing better value for money – have been achieved, focusing on effectiveness in collecting tax debt, and the impact on debtors, including vulnerable taxpayers. When announced at Budget 2014, ministers agreed HMRC would provide Parliament with a full review of the functioning of the policy after it had been operational for 2 years. The report says over 22,000 debts were considered, but only 19 of recoveries were actually used, collecting £361,678. However, findings demonstrate that the policy has had a significant deterrent effect, leading to improved recovery of tax debts, and the intervention was introduced to target those taxpayers who actively choose not to pay or delay paying, even though they have sufficient funds to do so – additional tax revenue totalling £178 million was recovered through the intervention, reducing any unfair advantage those debtors have over the compliant majority.
2 NEW EU REGULATIONS ESTABLISHING THE FRAMEWORK FOR THE INTEROPERABILITY OF EU INFORMATION SYSTEMS FOR SECURITY, BORDER AND MIGRATION MANAGEMENT
On 16th April, the EU announced the adoption of a legislative initiative by the Parliament by the Commission that will allow EU information systems for security, migration and border management to work together more intelligently. When in force it will allow –
- border guards and police, using a single screen, will be able to carry out and cross-check identity documents against all the relevant EU information systems, in line with their existing access rights; and
- they will also be able to identify dangerous criminals more easily through a shared biometric matching service that will use fingerprints and facial images to search across existing information systems, and through a common identity repository which will store biographical data of non-EU citizens. In addition, a multiple-identity detector will cross-check and immediately flag anyone who is using fraudulent or multiple identities.
See the following factsheet on how the EU plans to plug interoperability gaps in the various system in use or planned –
See also this EU factsheet on existing EU information system for use in security and at the borders – the Schengen Information System (SIS), the Visa Information System (VIS), Eurodac fingerprint database; the European Criminal Records Information System (ECRIS), ECRIS-TCN for third country nationals expected in 2022, the Entry/Exit System (EES) expected 2021, and the European Travel Information and Authorisation System (ETIAS) expected in 2022.
EU AIR SAFETY LIST: Q&A ON AIR CARRIERS THAT ARE RESTRICTED FROM OPERATING WITHIN THE EU
On 16th April, a news release from the EU on the “EU blacklist” – a list of air carriers from non-EU countries which do not fulfil the necessary international safety standards. As of April 2019, on the list are 114 airlines (certified in 16 states), due to a lack of safety oversight by the aviation authorities from these states; 6 airlines, based on safety concerns with regard to these airlines themselves; and 4 airlines are subject to operational restrictions and can only fly to the EU with specific aircraft types.
ANGOLA’S AENERGY IS FIRST AFRICAN BUSINESS TO RECEIVE ANTI-BRIBERY CERTIFICATE
All Africa on 16th April reported that Angola-based Aenergy, which operates the country’s largest thermal power plant and provides locomotive engines for the nation’s railways, has been awarded an ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management System Certificate. Certification agency Bureau Veritas also noted that Aenergy, based in the capital Luanda, is guided by international standards of safeguarding and commercial activity. Aenergy is said to have 3 offices in Africa and 1 in Portugal, and is currently engaged in several projects across Africa and the world including Ghana, Cameroon, Namibia, Singapore, the UK and US.
For information on ISO 37001 see –
THE DAUGHTER OF REPUBLIC OF CONGO’S PRESIDENT AND A $7 MILLION APARTMENT IN NEW YORK
On 16th April, a blog post relates a Global Witness claim that the daughter of Denis Sassou-Nguesso, president of the Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville), purchased an apartment for $7 million in a Donald Trump-developed building in New York. It is claimed that ownership of the apartment has been traced to a shell company owned by Claudia Sassou-Nguesso and involving a money trail including Republic of the Congo contracts awarded to a Brazilian company to a shell company in Cyprus to the purchase of the apartment. Separately, it is said, the French government is actively investigating Sassou-Nguesso for corruption and has identified €60 million of various types of property that the family has acquired in France.
NIGERIA SIGNS UP FOR WEST AFRICAN POLICE INFORMATION SYSTEM (WAPIS) PROGRAMME
On 16th April, Interpol reported that Nigeria and Interpol had signed an agreement formalising Nigeria’s support for WAPIS. The WAPIS Programme, implemented by Interpol and funded by the EU, will see the creation of national criminal data systems in each of the 15 ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) countries, plus Mauritania and Chad, along with the development of a regional platform for stronger criminal data exchange. Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Togo have already signed MoU with Interpol as part of their undertaking to establish electronic police information systems shared by national law enforcement authorities.
RUSSIA’S HISTORY OF USE OF IRREGULAR FORCES AND PRIVATE MILITARY GROUPS
On 16th April, Real Clear Defense published a fascinating paper from the Jamestown Foundation saying that Russia’s growing employment of non-linear forms of warfare (including private military contractors or “PMC”) has long historical traditions. The paper seeks to discuss the main milestones of historical evolution of Russia’s use of mercenary and irregular forces from Tsarist Russia to the final days of the Soviet Union. It points out that Russia’s use of private military contractors dates all the way back to the Livonian War (1558–1583) and reflected Russia’s traditional weakness in the realm of naval operations. The most famous of irregular or semi-irregular forces were probably the Cossacks – which a footnote to the paper explains were militarised and initially ethnically non-Russian people, first mentioned in official correspondence in 1550, and throughout Russian history, until 1917, this group was actively employed by the Russian Imperial government for mainly paramilitary services. The paper traces use of irregular forces and/or tactics into the evolution of the Spetznaz, and the use of “advisors/instructors” during the Cold War – sometimes officially labelled as “tourists”.
E-CIGARETTE MAKER JUUL SUED FOR ALLEGEDLY TARGETING YOUNG USERS IN US
The Daily Business review from Law.com on 16th April reported that a complaint alleges the e-cigarette company and Altria Group knowingly withheld information from consumers, specifically teenage users, about the addictive nature of JUULs, and of illegally underplaying the dangers of its product to expand its appeal among underage users.
AL-QAEDA AND THE ISLAMIC STATE WILL BE THE WINNERS OF THE LIBYAN CIVIL WAR
On 15th April, Homeland Security Today reported that the multi-year civil war is creating conditions that will allow Islamic State and al Qaeda-linked militants to regain strength in the country. It says that Salafi-jihadi groups are seizing the opportunity to recoup their losses during the standstill in the conflict(s).
ISIS DEVELOPMENT OF SUICIDE CAR BOMBS 2014-19
A paper from the Middle East Institute looks at the development and use of the suicide vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (SVBIED), aka the “car bomb”. It says that ISIS consistently adapted the SVBIED design based on operational environment and other factors, with modifications in armour, payload organisation, colour, and detonation technology, and that it “exported” the technology to such places as Nigeria and the Philippines. It argues that ISIS’s research and development of SVBIED technology presents a continued threat, even after the collapse of the territorial caliphate, due to the group’s ability to export its designs and enable nascent ISIS provinces to launch powerful attacks on unsuspecting communities globally. Included in its chilling details are such facts that IED or anti-tank mines could be deliberately mounted in specific directions in order to direct explosive energy outwards toward the target, rather than produce a simple explosion, or including oil to cause fire as well as blast in the target area. It explains the distinction between the SVBIED and the unmanned VBIED – there are also covert SVBIED and other variants.