26th April 2019
BAHAMAS DEPUTY PM REJECTS FATF CRITICISM ON LACK OF MONEY LAUNDERING PROSECUTIONS
The Nassau Guardian on 26th April reported that Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said this country has had a significant number of prosecutions, but has simply not recorded and reported them in any tangible way, and said measures are now being taken that will allow these types of matters to be tracked end-to-end. He added that the FIU had not been given the resources to be more effective at prosecutions and reporting, but now it will.
OWNER OF US RECYCLING FIRM JAILED FOR 3 YEARS BY CHICAGO COURT FOR FRAUD AND TAX EVASION HAD ILLEGALLY SHIPPED ELECTRONIC WASTE TO HONG KONG
The South China Morning Post on 26th April reported that Brian Brundage, 47, owner of a US recycling firm which illegally exported electronic waste to Hong Kong has been sentenced to 3 years in jail and fined more than $1.2 million in a case that involved co-operation between local and US authorities – and illegally putting into landfill potentially hazardous e-waste as part of a scheme to resell the materials and avoid paying income taxes.
MAGNITSKY-STYLE SANCTIONS IN EASTERN EUROPE
On 26th April, an article from the European Council on Foreign Relations reported that Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine are all working to enact individual legislation sanctioning human rights abuses – Magnitsky-style. If they pass, they would infuriate Russia. It says that Magnitsky-style legislation in Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine will, if passed, have only a limited directed impact, as their targets have already laundered much of their ill-gotten wealth in the West. However, the measures have important symbolic value.
OFAC: REGULATIONS FOREIGN INTERFERENCE IN US ELECTIONS SANCTIONS
On 26th April, OFAC announced the publication of these regulations, which will take effect from 29th April. It is also said that OFAC intends to supplement this with a more comprehensive set of regulations, which may include additional interpretive and definitional guidance and additional general licenses and statements of licensing policy.
27th April 2019
THE PERSISTENCE OF TERRORISM IN NORTHERN IRELAND
An article in the April issue of the CTC Sentinel says that continuing presence of violent groups on both sides of the ethno-national divide, therefore, points to broader imperfections in the peace process. Moreover, the challenge posed by these groupings is significantly different than it was 25 years ago when the paramilitary ceasefires were announced. There has been a blurring of the concepts of terrorism and criminality that challenges orthodox perspectives on the security landscape in Northern Ireland. It points out that the end of major armed hostilities in Northern Ireland in the late 1990s did not lead to the complete termination of terrorism or criminality, as the respective armed wings appeared to undergo a metamorphosis into criminally motivated organisations.
TRUMP ANNOUNCES INTENTION TO WITHDRAW FROM UN ARMS TRADE TREATY
On 26th April, MSN reported that President Trump has announced that he would end US support for the Arms Trade Treaty. He made the remarks at the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Indianapolis. The Treaty was negotiated under the auspices of the UN and signed in 2013 under President Barack Obama but has never been ratified by Congress. It seeks to prevent illicit arms transfers that fuel destructive conflicts, making it harder to conduct weapon sales in violation of arms embargoes. About 100 countries have ratified the Treaty, while more than 30 others have signed but not ratified. It has been rejected by countries including Russia, North Korea and Syria.
TURKEY-IRAN HEALTH DEAL RAISES CONCERNS OVER TRANSFER OF DUAL-USE MATERIALS, TECHNOLOGIES
The Nordic Monitor on 26th April reported that a recent deal in the fields of health and medical sciences between Turkey and Iran has raised concerns that the mullah regime plans to circumvent restrictions on dual-use medical materials and technology to bypass UN and US sanctions on Iran. Although medicines are not included in the list of sanctions, dual-use articles and technologies present a particular problem when it comes to enforcing sanctions and insuring that Iran is using the imported materials for their intended purposes and not diverting them for weapons research.
FRAUDSTER JAILED FOR 7 YEARS FOR £3 MILLION ‘BOILER ROOM’ FRAUD OF ELDERLY AND VULNERABLE
A news release from the CPS on 26th April reported that a fraudster has been jailed for conning elderly and vulnerable victims out of nearly £3 million in a ‘boiler room’ fraud operation. Mohammed Tanveer, 30, led an operation which cold-called potential victims and offered them the chance to invest in corporate bonds that were supposedly only available to private investors. Victims were persuaded to invest huge sums of money – with one losing life savings of nearly £1 million. 3 co-defendants were also convicted of money laundering offences in relation to money from the scam.
UK: BUSINESSES NOT COMPLYING WITH MONEY LAUNDERING REGULATIONS IN 2018 TO 2019
On 26th April, HMRC issued a news release involving a list of businesses that have not met their obligations under the 2017 regulations. Under those Regulations, HMRC has a duty to publish details of businesses that have been penalised for not complying with the regulations.
FUTURE INTERNATIONAL TRADE OPPORTUNITIES FOR THE UK
On 26th April, the House of Commons Library published a page containing links to various documents in connection with a debate in Westminster Hall on 1st May on future international trade opportunities for the UK. The topics are options for trade with the EU, rolling over EU trade agreements, Government consultation on future trade agreements, and processes for future trade agreements.
THAI-BASED JAPAN FRAUDSTERS BILKED 8 VICTIMS OUT OF 30 MILLION YEN (C. $269,000)
Mainnichi on 26th April reported that police here are set to launch a full-scale investigation into suspected Japanese fraudsters operating in Pattaya who are accused of conning their compatriots back home. It said that the group allegedly committed “special fraud,” the collective name for several types of fraud in which scammers impersonate the victim’s family members, or pose as company representatives or financial workers. 15 suspects are being held at an immigration detention centre in Thailand.
OECD: RUSSIA MUST URGENTLY STEP UP FIGHT AGAINST FOREIGN BRIBERY
A news release from the OECD on 26th April says that the OECD Working Group on Bribery has repeatedly recommended since 2012 that Russia rectify key legislative deficiencies in order to comply with the Convention on Combating the Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The Working Group also says that Russia must also increase foreign bribery enforcement, having failed to investigate or prosecute a case involving the bribery of foreign public officials in the 7 years since ratifying the Anti-Bribery Convention. Earlier this month, an OECD Working Group on Bribery high-level mission discussed these serious issues with senior Russian officials.
THE IMPACT OF BREXIT ON ASSET MANAGEMENT
The latest Brexit briefing from Irish law firm Matheson says that, in the asset management space, certain matters are now clear regardless of how and when the UK leaves the EU.
EU AND UN LAUNCH JOINT PROJECT TO PREVENT ACTS OF NUCLEAR TERRORISM
UNODC on 26th April reported on a joint project to prevent acts of nuclear terrorism through the promotion of the universal ratification and effective implementation of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism (ICSANT). ICSANT was adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly in 2005 and has 115 Parties to date – it facilitates international co-operation, including exchange of information on nuclear security threats, prosecution and extradition of suspects.
CHINA AND JAPAN TO IMPLEMENT AEO CUSTOMS AGREEMENT IN JUNE
China.org on 26th April reported that the China-Japan agreement on mutual Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status will go into effect on June 1st to provide easier customs clearance for exporters. The AEO system, initiated by the WCO, aims at facilitating customs clearance for enterprises through the authentication by customs on enterprises with a high level of law compliance, credit status and safety. China has signed mutual AEO agreements with 36 countries and regions including Singapore, the Republic of Korea, the EU, Switzerland and New Zealand.
IRELAND: TIGHTER SECURITY FOR AIRPORT POLICE AND CUSTOMS STAFF FOLLOWING REVIEW
The Irish Examiner on 26th April reported that new security checks are coming into force for airport police and customs staff at Irish airports following a security review, following a secret report by Paris-based inter-governmental airport security that investigated risks at Dublin airport last year.
BREXIT PREPAREDNESS TRACKER
On 26th April, law firm Eversheds Sutherland published its Brexit Tracker which provides a quick overview of the current position in relation to legislative preparations for Brexit in the following jurisdictions where Eversheds Sutherland has a presence – Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland and Spain.
ARGENTINA: NATIONAL ANTI-CORRUPTION PLAN
Baker McKenzie on 26th April reported that the Executive Branch seeks to consolidate progress in the fight against corruption and establishes certain priorities for the next 5 years, in line with several international conventions against corruption, organised crime and money laundering. The Plan includes various initiatives including institutional strengthening, citizen participation, integrity in the private sector, and ethics education at the school level, among others. It also provides for an Advisory Council composed by civil society organisations and recognised experts of the private sector, to carry out the follow-up of the implementation of the initiatives, and public monitoring mechanisms. The article provides a link to the relevant Decree and its Annex.
UK: IS AML PLAYING CATCH-UP TO BRIBERY?
A commentary from law firm Corker Bining on 26th April considered recently released reports on the Bribery Act 2010 and by the Office for Professional Body Anti-Money Laundering Supervision (OPBAS) have given contrasting assessments of the performance of the 2 keystones in the fight against financial crime and corruption. It says that the OPBAS first-year assessment of legal and accountancy sector supervisory procedures paints a bleaker picture for the fight against dirty money, asking has AML become the poor cousin of anti-bribery? It reminds one that OPBAS was created to promote quality and consistency of AML supervision amongst professional enablers, and it is almost inevitable that the first reviews would be poor.
UPDATE ON FCA CONSULTATION ON PERMANENT PRODUCT INTERVENTION MEASURES TO RESTRICT THE SALE, MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION OF CFD AND CFD-LIKE OPTIONS SOLD TO RETAIL CLIENTS
A news release from the FCA on 26th April provided a statement containing an update on the FCA consultation on permanent product intervention measures to restrict the sale, marketing and distribution of contract for differences and CFD-like options sold to retail clients. It says that it is still considering the consultation feedback and ESMA’s temporary restrictions continue to apply to FCA-authorised firms. The FCA says that it plans to publish a Policy Statement and any final Handbook rules in Summer 2019, and its final rules for CFD would apply from the date that ESMA’s restrictions expire, if not earlier. Firms that sell, market, or distribute CFD-like options would be given at least 2 months to comply with our new rules.
WOLFSBERG GROUP ENDORSEMENT FOR ASIA PACIFIC BANKS ALLIANCE TOOLKIT FOR TACKLING HUMAN TRAFFICKING
On 25th April, the Wolfsberg Group – an association of 13 global banks which aims to develop frameworks and guidance for the management of financial crime risks, particularly with respect to KYC and AML/CFT policies – has endorsed the latest practical Anti Human Trafficking Toolkit from the Thomson Reuters Foundation Banking Alliance, this time covering the Asia Pacific region. There are now 3 Anti-Human Trafficking Toolkits, relevant across 3 substantial geographic regions, that are designed for specific use by banks and financial Institutions in the fight against human trafficking.
STUDY HIGHLIGHTS NUCLEAR INDUSTRY’S VALUE TO EU EMPLOYMENT
On 26th April, World Nuclear News published the findings of a study saying that it sustains more than 1.1 million jobs in the EU and generates more than half a trillion euros in GDP, according to a new study by Deloitte. The study was commissioned by the European nuclear trade association Foratom to assess the contribution of the nuclear sector to the overall economy of the EU28 both today and in 2050.
COMPARING POLICIES ON RETURNING FOREIGN TERRORIST FIGHTERS IN EGYPT, MOROCCO AND TUNISIA
The Egmont Institute on 24th April published a report saying that more than 5,000 North African volunteers travelled to Syria and Iraq in the aftermath of the ‘Arab Spring’, and about 2,000 joined jihadi groups in Libya. This report looks at the unprecedented scope and dynamics of this mobilisation, focusing on 3 countries: Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.
UKRAINIAN ALCOHOL TYCOON DETAINED IN MOSCOW ON ‘LARGE-SCALE BRIBERY CHARGES’
The Kyiv Post on 27th April reported that Pavel Klymets, the owner of the Olymp group of vodka-making companies and former member of fugitive ex-president Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, has been detained in Moscow by detectives of the Investigative Committee of Russia on suspicion of large-scale bribery.
VIETNAMESE AUTHORITIES DISMANTLED MASSIVE ILLEGAL ONLINE SPORTS BETTING RING LINKED TO FUN 88
Calvin Ayre on 27th April reported that the Ministry of Public Security had arrested 22 individuals suspected of involvement in an illegal online gambling ring that authorities are describing as one of the biggest ever rumbled in the country. Police staged simultaneous raids in several cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, seizing “hundreds” of electronic devices and other tools of the gambling trade, along with numerous luxury vehicles and “large amounts of cash and bank accounts with large account balances”. It was reported that the wagering was processed through Fxx88.com, which currently redirects to a Philippines-licensed Fun88 mirror domain.
BELGIAN BANK DEGROOF PETERCAM AUDITED BY THE BELGIAN CENTRAL BANK OVER ITS AML CONTROLS
Baker McKenzie on 27th April reported that Belgian bank Degroof Petercam has been audited by the Belgian central bank over how it guards against money laundering, and was implementing recommendations the National Bank of Belgium made after the audit.