OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – MAY 1/2

1st May 2019

 DANISH BUNKERING COMPANY UNDER INVESTIGATIONS IN SANCTIONS CASE

Ship & Bunker reported on 30th April that Dan-Bunkering is under investigation in Denmark for violation of EU sanctions re a cargo of jet fuel that reached Syria.

https://shipandbunker.com/news/emea/266747-dan-bunkering-caught-up-in-eu-sanctions-case

CRACKING DOWN ON THE SWIM BLADDER SMUGGLERS

On 30th April, Maritime Executive reported that China’s craze for the swim bladder of the totoaba, a large Mexican fish, has driven it close to extinction.  Dubbed “fish maw” or “aquatic cocaine”, trade in the delicacy is banned, but smuggling is still a major problem.  It reports that, since the beginning of 2018, Chinese customs authorities have arrested 32 people and seized $45 million worth of contraband.  The plight of the totoaba and vaquita only came to international attention in 2013, when an alert customs officer triggered the first US seizure of totoaba maw at the Mexican border and China cracked its first totoaba smuggling case in 2018.

https://www.maritime-executive.com/editorials/cracking-down-on-the-swim-bladder-smugglers

NORDEA SETS ASIDE €95 MILLION FOR POSSIBLE MONEY LAUNDERING PENALTY

Law 360 on 30th April reported that the Nordea Bank has put aside €95 million for a possible fine related to money laundering allegations.

https://www.law360.com/articles/1154732/nordea-sets-aside-95m-for-possible-laundering-penalty

US JUDGE ORDERS CHINESE BANKS TO HAND OVER NORTH KOREA RECORDS

On 1st May, KYC 360 reported that a US district judge has ordered 3 Chinese banks to comply with investigators’ demands that they hand over records connected to the alleged movement of tens of millions of dollars in violation of international sanctions on North Korea, and relating to records of dealings between a now-defunct Hong Kong-based front company and a North Korean state-run entity.

https://www.riskscreen.com/kyc360/news/u-s-judge-orders-chinese-banks-to-hand-over-north-korea-records/

BUSINESSMAN ALLEGEDLY BRIBED INDONESIAN REGENT

The Jakarta Post on 1st May reported that the Corruption Eradication Commission has arrested a businessman, Bernard Hanafi Kalalo, who allegedly bought luxury items to bribe the Talaud Islands Regent to gain advantage in winning local projects.

https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2019/05/01/businessman-allegedly-bribes-indonesian-regent-with-diamonds-luxury-bags.html

FACIAL RECOGNITION AND BIOMETRICS STRATEGY

On 30th April, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper prepared in advance of a debate entitled “Facial recognition and the biometrics strategy” in Westminster Hall on 1st May.  It outlines the strategy published in 2018 and which sets out how the Home Office and its partners currently use biometric data, and how they will approach its use in future.

https://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/CDP-2019-0099/CDP-2019-0099.pdf

SAMSUNG EXECUTIVES ARRESTED OVER £3 BILLION FRAUD

The ICAEW on 30th April reported that employees at Samsung’s biopharmaceutical unit have been arrested on suspicion of destroying evidence to cover up an alleged fraud.  Samsung Bioepis is the biopharmaceutical unit and affiliate of Samsung Biologics. Both are part of South Korea’s biggest conglomerate, Samsung Group.   South Korea’s financial watchdog ruled last year that Samsung Biologics intentionally inflated the value of Samsung Bioepis, which is a joint venture with US drugmaker Biogen.

https://economia.icaew.com/news/april-2019/samsung-executives-arrested-over-3bn-fraud

CAYMAN ISLANDS TO BROADEN REGULATION OF SECURITIES AND INVESTMENTS

Tax News on 29th April published an article on the Cayman Islands’ plans to broaden the territory’s regulatory regime for securities and investments and consultation on The Securities Investment Business (Amendment) Bill 2019.  The Bill would allow the jurisdiction to introduce a regulatory and supervisory framework for entities that previously were excluded from licensing requirements.  For example, a Cayman subsidiary, of a parent company located in another jurisdiction, was excluded from the law on the basis that the parent company was regulated in its home jurisdiction.

https://www.lowtax.net/news/Cayman-To-Broaden-Regulation-Of-Securities-And-Investments_97092.html

VOLUME OF CARGO TRANSHIPPED FROM RUSSIA, IRAN VIA TURKISH PORTS EXCEEDS 13 MILLION TONS

Customs Today on 1st May reported that, in March 2019, the volume of cargo transhipment from Russia and Iran through the ports of Turkey amounted to 13,688,726 tons; and the volume of cargo transhipment from Iran through the ports of Turkey amounted to 1,461,308 tons.  The volume of cargo transhipment from Iran by ships sailing under the Iranian flag amounted to 1,004,104 tons.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/volume-of-cargo-transshipment-from-russia-iran-via-turkish-ports-exceeds-13-million-tons/

NETHERLANDS: FROM 2020 DUTCH BUSINESSES MUST REGISTER THEIR BENEFICIAL OWNERS

On 1st May, Baker McKenzie reported that the register of ultimate beneficial owners in the Netherlands will be introduced in January 2020.  Each corporate or other entity incorporated or founded in the Netherlands must obtain and register information on the persons who ultimately own or control them.  The beneficial ownership register is based on European rules aiming to prevent money laundering and terrorist financing.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/netherlands-2020-dutch-businesses-must-register-their-beneficial-owners-20190405/

AMMONIA AS A WEAPON, OR A PRECURSOR

On 30th April, Belligcat published an article on alleged incidents of use of ammonia as a weapon, and asks if these are feasible, and if ammonia can be used as a weapon.  Ammonia is extremely irritating to humans, and in its purer forms ammonia is dangerous via skin contact and inhalation.  However, its lethal levels are quite high (many thousands of parts per million for long periods) relative to many other poisons.  Liquid ammonia can freeze exposed flesh.  It says that ammonia has been considered a theoretical hazard as a weapon for terrorist use.  It says that, given the toxicity of ammonia, even when pure, and the timescale for deadly exposures to take place (many minutes to an hour), it is simply unrealistic for ammonia to be used in practical warfare in the same way as chlorine or Sarin.  However, ammonia has some role as a precursor in the production of certain chemical warfare agents – hydrogen cyanide (HCN) and the nerve agent Tabun.  Ammonia is used to produce a number of explosive compounds.  Ammonium nitrate, which is extremely common as a fertilizer around the world, is made from ammonia.  Ammonia also has uses in the manufacture of the illegal drug methamphetamine.

https://www.bellingcat.com/news/mena/2019/04/30/can-ammonia-be-used-as-a-weapon-likely-not/

RISK FROM RISE IN QUI TAM SUITS BASED ON AVOIDANCE OF IMPORT DUTIES COMBINED WITH THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S PROTECTIONIST POLICIES

On 18th April, Crowell & Moring published an analysis which says that the “America first” policies of the current US administration mean importers to the US could face increased risk from False Claims Act (FCA) litigation.  In qui tam suits the plaintiff can also make a claim where the Government recovers funds lost to fraud, being entitled to a percentage of the recovery of the penalty as a reward for exposing the wrongdoing and enabling the recovery of funds for the government.  The analysis considers a case in March involving an importer of premium women’s wear from the UK.  It concludes that importers now face heightened FCA risks in light of increased duties stemming from the current administration’s new tariffs, the number of anti-dumping and countervailing duty orders, plus domestic US industries closely monitoring imports for potential violations.

https://www.crowell.com/files/20190418-Reverse-FCA-Cases-Rise-With-America-First-Trade-Policies.pdf

HONG KONG STOCK EXCHANGE UPDATES SANCTIONS GUIDANCE

In March, the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing issued updated guidance, first issued in June 2018, mentioning, inter alia, in paragraphs 25 to 28, the need for timely disclosure of sanctions impact, risks to assist investors, cases in which an issuer’s suitability would become problematic or where listing approval may be withheld because of sanctions.

https://en-rules.hkex.com.hk/sites/default/files/net_file_store/new_rulebooks/g/l/GL96-18.pdf

NEW PACKAGING FOR TRANSPORT OF LITHIUM-ION BATTERIES – BUT NOT YET FOR TRANSPORT BY AIR

On 1st May, Loadstar reported that the automotive industry will be able to transport lithium-ion batteries in a safer and more sustainable way following the launch of new re-usable packaging.  It is designed for larger quantities which can be transported by road or rail, and is not suited to smaller quantities sent by air.  The article says that lithium-ion batteries need to be still during transit, and the developer involved is working with manufacturers to create an insert which would prevent the battery from moving within its packaging.

https://theloadstar.com/new-packaging-for-lithium-ion-batteries-means-safer-transport-but-not-by-air-yet

US JUDGE RULES SPANISH MUSEUM IS LEGAL OWNER OF NAZI-LOOTED PAINTING

A post from Boodle Hatfield on 1st May reported that the museum was the rightful owner, rather than the survivors of the Jewish woman who relinquished it to flee the Holocaust.  The museum was not aware that the painting had been stolen and under Spanish law it is the rightful legal owner.  This ruling settles a 20-year legal battle, though another appeal may still be possible according to the ruling.

https://artlawandmore.com/2019/05/01/judge-rules-spanish-museum-is-legal-owner-of-nazi-looted-painting/

MANAGED SERVICE COMPANIES AND TAX AVOIDANCE

On 1st May, HMRC Spotlight 32 warns one about certain tax avoidance schemes which you should be aware of, and using “Managed Service Companies”

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spotlight-32-managed-service-company-legislation-tax-avoidance-scheme-involving-unpaid-paye-and-class-1-national-insurance-contributions/spotlight-32-managed-service-company-legislation-tax-avoidance-scheme-involving-unpaid-paye-and-class-1-national-insurance-contributions

AFRICA: FIGHTING TAX EVASION AND TAX AVOIDANCE

An article in Africa Focus on 30th April considered the Economic Report on Africa 2019 report from the UN Economic Commission for Africa, published on 23rd March.  The report focused on financing development in Africa, highlighting the urgency to curb what it termed “revenue leaks” through tax evasion and tax avoidance, as well as through misguided government policies.  Multinational corporations, corrupt officials, and financial intermediaries around the world siphon off African wealth, leaving national budgets starved for resources to invest in health, education, and sustainable economic growth.  The report lays out specific ways in which African countries can curb these revenue leaks – but it also stresses that these are limited by the fact that so much of the diverted wealth is hidden in financial capitals outside Africa.  The article contains excerpts from the report, as well as brief descriptions and links to 2 cases illustrating such illicit financial flows: a $7.1 million condominium in Trump Tower owned by the daughter of an African president and a $2.2 billion set of bank loans to Mozambique now under indictment in a New York court.

https://allafrica.com/stories/201905010444.html

The report is available at –

https://www.uneca.org/publications/economic-report-africa-2019

US DOJ SEEKING INFORMATION ABOUT FINNISH RESIDENTS USING US BANK CARDS LINKED TO NON-FINNISH BANK ACCOUNTS

A news release from the DoJ on 1st May said that a federal court has authorised the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to serve “John Doe” summonses on Bank of America, Charles Schwab, and TD Bank seeking information about persons residing in Finland that have Bank of America, Charles Schwab, or TD Bank payment cards linked to bank accounts located outside of Finland.  The summonses are referred to as “John Doe” summonses because the IRS does not know the identity of the persons being investigated.  The summons seeks the identities of Finnish residents who have payment cards linked to bank accounts located outside of Finland so that the Finnish government can determine if those persons have complied with Finnish tax laws.  The court order in this case authorising this enforcement action is part of ongoing international efforts by the US and its treaty partners to stop persons from using foreign financial accounts to evade taxes.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/court-authorizes-service-john-doe-summonses-seeking-information-about-finnish-residents-using

SOUTH KOREANS JAILED OVER ‘RUSSIAN TREASURE FIND’

The BBC reported on 1st May that a South Korean court has sentenced 3 business executives to prison after finding them guilty of falsely claiming they had found a long-lost treasure-laden shipwreck, scuttled by its crew in 1905 after Japan’s victory in the Battle of Tsushima – a key moment of the Russo-Japanese War.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-48118420

OKLAHOMA’S SUPREME COURT RULES A STATE LAW THAT RESTRICTS ACCESS TO DRUG-INDUCED ABORTIONS UNCONSTITUTIONAL

Jurist on 1st May reported that a 2014 law had banned “off-label” use of mifepristone, a medication used for abortions, also referred to as RU-486, which made Oklahoma the only state to have such a ban.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2019/05/oklahoma-supreme-court-strikes-down-state-law-restricting-drug-induced-abortion/

2nd May 2019

6 CHARTS THAT SHOW HOW HARD US SANCTIONS HAVE HIT IRAN

On 2nd May, the BBC published an article which included charts illustrating the effect of sanctions on Iran’s GDP, its oil output, oil exports to those countries which had a waiver from US sanctions, the value of its currency, inflation and incomes in Iran.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-48119109

IN PAKISTAN, UNCHECKED TYRE SMUGGLING DAMAGES LOCAL INDUSTRY

On 2nd May the Express Tribune reported that Pakistan’s largest tyre manufacturer is facing the heat from smuggling, misdeclaration and under-invoicing.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1963638/2-pakistan-unchecked-tyre-smuggling-damages-local-industry/

https://nation.com.pk/02-May-2019/smuggling-mis-declaration-under-invoicing-hurting-tyres-industry

GARDAÍ TARGET DRUG SMUGGLING GANG IN 18 SEPARATE RAIDS AGAINST KINAHAN GANG IN DUBLIN

On 1st May, the Irish Times reported that 9 homes, a car dealership and 8 professional services offices, including solicitors and tax and planning companies, were searched.  Officers are said to have unearthed what Gardaí believe is documentary evidence of other significant expenditure on houses owned and linked to those involved in the Kinahan cartel.  Other financial documents seized also relate to investments made by those involved in the cartel in Dublin.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/gardaí-target-drug-smuggling-gang-in-18-separate-raids-1.3877236

NIGERIA: LOCAL PRODUCERS “LOSE $500 MILLION ANNUALLY” FROM PALM OIL SMUGGLING

The Daily Trust in Nigeria on 2nd May reported claims by the National Palm Produce Association of Nigeria about the illegal importation of crude palm oil into the country, blaming a price reduction on the smuggling.

https://www.dailytrust.com.ng/before-our-palm-oil-goes-under.html

2 INDIVIDUALS INDICTED FOR RUNNING “SHADOW BANKING” OPERATION IN NEW YORK

On 1st May, Yahoo Finance reported that 2 individuals had been indicted for providing “shadow banking” services to crypto exchanges, the indictment alleging that “Reginald Fowler and Ravid Yosef [of Global Trading Solutions LLC] allegedly ran a shadow bank that processed hundreds of millions of dollars of unregulated transactions on behalf of numerous cryptocurrency exchanges” and evaded AML laws that govern the operations of licensed financial institutions.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/indictments-issued-two-individuals-running-205428969.html

US: REGULATORS PLAN MEETING WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT ON BANKS’ AML BURDEN

On 1st May, American Banker reported that federal financial regulators will meet with law enforcement officials in an attempt to address banks’ reporting burdens under AML laws.  The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Chairman said that regulators are working with FinCEN to schedule the meeting, which she said will occur hopefully within a month.  The purpose of the meeting is to understand what law enforcement and intelligence officials do with the millions of suspicious activity reports banks submit every year without much feedback.

https://www.americanbanker.com/news/regulators-plan-meeting-with-law-enforcement-on-banks-aml-burden

VIETNAM: ACTION PLAN ISSUED TO ADDRESS MONEY LAUNDERING, TERRORIST FINANCING RISKS

On 2nd May, Vietnam Plus reported that the Deputy Prime Minister has signed a decision on 30th April to promulgate an action plan to address money laundering and terrorism financing risks in the 2019-2020 period and which would control and minimise the risks identified in the national risk assessment – and will assist re the evaluation by the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG) of Vietnam’s AML/CFT mechanisms.

https://en.vietnamplus.vn/action-plan-issued-to-address-money-laundering-terrorist-financing-risks/151876.vnp

9 ACCUSED OF MULTI-MILLION LAUNDERING PLOT AT HOUSTON POKER CLUBS

The Houston Chronicle on 1st May reported that 1 2-year investigation has led to the arrest of 9 people accused in multi-million dollar laundering plots at 2 west Houston poker rooms – the Post Oak Poker Club and Prime Social Poker Club.   Poker rooms are illegal in Texas but the newspaper says that private clubs have found ways to skirt around the state’s gambling laws by not taking a share of the gambled money and charging membership fees.

https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Nine-accused-of-multi-million-laundering-plot-at-13812186.php

DRUG TRAFFICKER LITERALLY USED LAUNDROMAT TO LAUNDER MONEY IN NEW JERSEY

NJ.com on 1st May reported that an Atlantic City laundromat owner who used his business to hide the proceeds of his large-scale drug trafficking ring has been sentenced to 22 years in prison.  He ran the drugs ring out of the Ta’Ja Laundromat from 2010 to December 2014.

https://www.nj.com/news/2019/05/drug-trafficker-laundered-millions-through-his-yes-laundromat-and-now-hes-headed-to-prison-for-years.html

SFO RAIDS AND SECTION 2 INTERVIEW STATISTICS DIP…BUT THERE ARE MORE TO COME

On 1st May, an article from Greenberg Traurig said that figures provided by the SFO show a reduction in its use of both property raids and powers under section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 to compel individuals to answer questions or produce documents.  To 31st March 2019, it carried out 21 property raids for the purpose of gathering evidence, down from 32 in the previous financial year; and it issued 808 notices under section 2 compared with 1,031 the previous year.  It says that SFO has also made use of the provisions of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 to enter and search premises following an individual’s arrest.

https://www.gtlaw.com/en/insights/2019/5/2018-2019-sfo-raids-figures-dip-but-there-are-more-to-come

WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THE BANKRUPT’S HOME UNDER CURRENT UK INSOLVENCY LEGISLATION

On 1st May, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper which applies only to England and Wales. Scotland has its own separate bankruptcy law (known as sequestration).  The purpose of this briefing paper is to provide a general outline of what will happen to the bankrupt’s home under current insolvency legislation. However, it should be emphasised that anyone made bankrupt (or considering bankruptcy) should seek proper legal advice based on a full appraisal of the facts of their case.

http://researchbriefings.files.parliament.uk/documents/SN05178/SN05178.pdf

5 BULGARIAN CITIES TO BE INVESTIGATED FOR FRAUD WITH EUROPEAN FUNDS

On 2nd May, Novinite reported that investigators’ teams are in Sofia, Plovdiv, Sliven, Karnobat and Burgas.  The investigation is now said to relate to businessman Mineu Staykov, who is in custody.  This is the second case against Staykov who was accused of being the leader of a criminal group for cigarette production.

https://www.novinite.com/articles/196822/Five+Bulgarian+Cities+to+Be+Investigated+for+Fraud+with+European+Funds

FRENCH POLYNESIA GRAPPLES WITH BAIL PAYBACK REQUEST FROM FRENCH BUSINESSMAN

Radio New Zealand on 2nd May reported that judicial authorities in French Polynesia are grappling with a request by a French businessman to be reimbursed $800,000 he paid in bail 10 years ago.  Hubert Haddad had been jailed in Tahiti’s biggest corruption case in which he was accused of paying the then president, Gaston Flosse, kickbacks for government contracts.  Both were given jailed in 2013, but the sentences were quashed in 2014.  Mr Haddad’s lawyer has now secured the consent of an investigative judge to be repaid just over half a million dollars of the bail sum, but the prosecution is said to be opposed to any reimbursement.

https://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/388291/french-polynesia-grapples-with-bail-payback-request

US: GREEN ENERGY FRAUDSTER CONVICTED

A DoJ news release on 1st May reported that David M. Dunham Jr had been convicted of fraud, filing false tax documents; and obstruction of justice – to defraud the Environmental Protection Agency, IRS, and his customers to obtain renewable fuel credits in his “green energy” business.  He fraudulently applied for, received, and sold “credits” for selling renewable biofuels that he, in fact, did not sell and, in many instances, had never possessed in the first place.   He obtained these credits from government agencies, which resulted in Dunham obtaining $50 million in fraudulent revenue, running the scam from approximately 2010 to 2015.

https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/green-energy-fraudster-convicted-trial-scamming-multiple-federal-agencies-and-his-customers-0

CFTC GOES AFTER BINARY OPTIONS FRAUDSTERS WHO ORCHESTRATED $4.8 MILLION SCHEME

Finance Feeds on 2nd May reported that the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) continues with its efforts to stop binary options fraud, and has filed a lawsuit against various entities said to have been engaged in a scheme whereby they fraudulently solicited $4.8 million from 62 commodity pool participants.

https://financefeeds.com/cftc-goes-after-binary-options-fraudsters-who-orchestrated-4-8m-scheme/

JAPANESE WOMAN ARRESTED FOR SMUGGLING 19 LIZARDS IN AUSTRALIA

Customs Today on 1st May reported that a Japanese woman appeared in court after being detained at the Melbourne International Airport for attempting to smuggle 19 lizards out of the country.  She was targeted following a tip-off from the agency’s international network which has been on high alert recently after 2 other similar cases involving Japanese nationals.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/japanese-woman-arrested-for-smuggling-19-lizards-in-australia/

RECEIVERS’ DUTIES AND CONFLICTS OF INTEREST: HIGH COURT CLARIFICATION

Walker Morris on 1st May published an article saying that a recent High Court case has provided welcome clarity for LPA and fixed charge receivers as to the scope of their duty of good faith and potential conflicts of interest.  In the case, it was alleged, in part, that the receivers had placed themselves in a position where there was a conflict of interest and had not acted in the interests of the claimant borrower.  A receiver is able to dispose of a property to the appointing lender without concerns of self-dealing or conflict of interest, providing they fulfil their duties in the ordinary way, but receivers should always be mindful of their general duties when considering sale strategy and options.

https://www.walkermorris.co.uk/publications/receivers-duties-and-conflicts-of-interest-high-court-clarification/

PLAIN PACKAGING FOR CIGARETTES IN CANADA FROM NOVEMBER

On 1st May, TJI reported that from 9th November, Canadian cigarette packs must be plain, dark brown with standardised layouts and lettering under new rules.  It reports that the new rules are part of a larger strategy aimed at driving the rate of tobacco use among Canadians down to 5% by 2035.  The regulations also standardise the size and appearance of cigarettes, cigars and other tobacco products inside the packages.

http://www.tobaccojournal.com/Health_Canada_sets_plain-packaging_rules.55260.0.html

HOW AML LEGISLATION COULD IMPACT THE US ART MARKET

On 1st May, Baker McKenzie reported that a resolution in the US Congress suggests that galleries and auction houses could soon be subject to strict reporting requirements about their customers amid a global push for greater transparency in art transactions.  The Illicit Art and Antiquities Trafficking Prevention Act (IAATP), which would have introduced such controls, was introduced in May 2018 but did not pass but, the article says, the new House of Representatives resolution may signal that it is still alive.

http://www.riskandcompliancehub.com/how-anti-money-laundering-legislation-could-impact-the-art-market/

HIGH-RANKING BOLIVIA POLICE GAVE PROTECTION TO WANTED DRUG TRAFFICKER

Insight Crime on 1st May reported that a number of high-ranking police officials in Bolivia have been arrested for their suspected links to a drug trafficker, Pedro Montenegro Paz, wanted for years by police in Brazil, but the full extent of their collusion has yet to be revealed.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/high-ranking-bolivia-police-gave-protection-wanted-drug-trafficker/

LONDON BOROUGH SECURES £1.1 MILLION CONFISCATION ORDER AGAINST LANDLORD OVER STUDIO AND BEDSIT CONVERSIONS

Local Government Lawyer on 1st May reported that Southwark Council has secured a confiscation order for more than £1.1 million against a landlord who turned 3 flats in London Bridge into around 20 studios and bedsits.

https://www.localgovernmentlawyer.co.uk/housing-law/397-housing-news/40438-london-borough-secures-1-1m-confiscation-order-against-landlord-over-studio-and-bedsit-conversions

US: WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING A COMPLIANCE MONITOR

On 2nd May, an article from Baker McKenzie reported that the goal of the recent change in the US DoJ approach to the use of corporate monitors is to ensure that the hiring of a compliance monitor as one of the conditions of a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act settlement will be required only if it appears to be truly beneficial to improve the company’s compliance environment, and will not impose unnecessary burden to its business’ operations.  The article says that a memorandum issued on 11th October supplements the guidelines on the appointment of a corporate monitor included in a memorandum issued in 2008, and adds more specific criteria, thus putting companies in a much better position to take proactive measures and be able to demonstrate their willingness to improve their corporate compliance programmes and internal control systems by the time the department has to make a decision on the necessity of the monitoring.  The article provides suggestions on complying with a monitoring programme.

https://globalcompliancenews.com/us-what-to-expect-when-youre-expecting-a-compliance-monitor-20190429/

GLOBAL TAX GUIDE TO DOING BUSINESS IN… 2019

On 1st May, Dentons published this guide which it says highlights the complexities of corporate tax systems (direct and indirect) in 28 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia Pacific, Australia and Europe.

https://www.dentons.com/en/insights/guides-reports-and-whitepapers/2019/may/1/2019-global-tax-guide

Identity-Tampering-mid-sea-DPRK

North Korean tanker changing its identity in mid-sea while transiting between China and DPRK – and then changes back while heading to China again

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/shipping-businesses-and-bunkering-firms-under-threat-with-expiry-of-us-waivers-for-importing-iranian-oil/

ALIBABA TO PAY $250 MILLION TO SETTLE COUNTERFEIT GOODS CASE

Giga Law on 30th April reported that Alibaba Group Holding, China’s largest e-commerce services provider, has agreed to pay $250 million to settle a US lawsuit over the company’s failure to disclose that its executives met with Chinese regulators to discuss counterfeit goods sold on its largest retail platform, several months before the firm went public in 2014.

https://giga.law/daily-news/2019/4/30/alibaba-to-pay-250-million-to-settle-suit-over-counterfeit-goods-disclosure

https://www.scmp.com/tech/enterprises/article/3008293/alibaba-us250-million-settlement-lawsuit-over-regulatory-meeting

INDONESIA BRIBERY CASES WEIGH ON ITS PRESIDENT’S REFORM PLANS

Nikkei Asian Review on 2nd May published an article saying that, just weeks after an election he is projected to win and seal a second term, Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s economic plans for the next 5 years have been hit by one of the nation’s oldest problems: endemic corruption.  It says that several recent cases involving corruption looks set to drag on the president’s reform and infrastructure-building agenda, as well as giving foreign investors reason to pause.  The article details the most recent scandal.

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https://asia.nikkei.com/Politics/Indonesia-bribery-cases-weigh-on-Jokowi-s-reform-plans

HEROIN’S STEALTHY TAKEOVER OF SOUTH AFRICA

On 11th April, ENACT Africa published a policy brief saying that heroin use is widespread across the country, with local and provincial governments bearing the brunt.  The heroin route that crosses South Africa has created a regional heroin economy, with severe social and political repercussions.  The policy brief sets out to shed light on the domestic heroin economy, analyse its implications and propose responses to its drivers and consequences.

https://enactafrica.org/research/policy-briefs/hiding-in-plain-sight-heroins-stealthy-takeover-of-south-africa

TAXATION OF IMAGE RIGHTS AGREEMENTS – VITAL LESSONS FOR FOOTBALL CLUBS AND PLAYERS

The Law in Sport website on 1st May published an article containing lessons from the Hull City Tigers v HMRC tribunal decision.  This decision held that payments made by a (then Premier League) football club to an offshore service company, purportedly in respect of a player’s image rights, in fact constituted the player’s earnings – the first comprehensive judicial guidance in almost 20 years as to how the Tax Tribunals should approach the question of whether payments purported to be for use of image rights in fact constitute earnings.  The article says that the decision is likely to result in HMRC scrutinising afresh the use of image rights agreements in the sports and entertainment sectors, with particular scrutiny on whether there is sufficient evidence of commerciality where these agreements are used.

https://www.lawinsport.com/topics/articles/item/taxation-of-image-rights-agreements-vital-lessons-for-football-clubs-and-players-from-the-hull-city-tigers-v-hmrc-decision

EU VOWS TO RESPOND TO US SANCTIONS TO PROTECT COMPANIES IN CUBA

EurActiv on 2nd May reported that the EU is reportedly ready to counter potential US sanctions against European companies in Cuba, following Washington’s reactivation of parts of the legislation that would allow US citizens to file lawsuits against investors in the island under the Helms-Burton Act.

https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/news/eu-vows-to-respond-to-us-sanctions-to-protect-companies-in-cuba/

https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2019/05/02/declaration-by-the-high-representative-on-behalf-of-the-eu-on-the-full-activation-of-the-helms-burton-libertad-act-by-the-united-states/

ARMENIA: WHEREABOUTS OF FUGITIVE EX-MINISTER REMAIN UNKNOWN

On 2nd May, Armenpress reported that the General Prosecution has no information about the whereabouts of ex-Minister of Nature Protection Aram Harutyunyan, who is wanted by Armenian authorities on bribery charges, Prosecutor General Arthur Davtyan told reporters.  Aram Harutyunyan is a former Republican lawmaker and former Minister of Nature Protection who is charged with money laundering and bribery since December 2018.

https://armenpress.am/eng/news/973401.html

ARMENIAN POLICE DETAIN 8 PEOPLE AND SEIZE 14 COMPUTERS FROM THE OFFICES OF A SUSPECTED CYBERCRIME RING OPERATING IN YEREVAN

OCCRP on 2nd May reported that the raid came hours after a OCCRP associate published an investigation that suggested a company, Piconet Technology LLC, was defrauding US citizens of tens of thousands of dollars through fake virus scams.

https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/9680-hetq-police-raid-cybercriminals-in-wake-of-investigation

CHINESE CUSTOMS SEIZE 62 TONNES OF SOLID WASTE

Xinhua state media on 2nd May reported that Huangdao customs in eastern China’s Shandong Province had seized a total of 62 tonnes of solid waste.  The seized garbage was a batch of leather scraps, which are banned from importation.  The government announced last year a ban on 32 types of solid waste including plastics and paper and has imposed tough quality restrictions on other recyclable materials.

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-05/02/c_138029187.htm

HONG KONG CUSTOMS FIND A CONTAINER FROM BULGARIA WITH 20 TONNES OF CONTRABAND HOOKAH TOBACCO

South China Morning Post on 1st May reported that Hong Kong customs officers intercepted about 20 tonnes of hookah tobacco, which was suspected to be contraband, in a cargo container from Bulgaria at the Kwai Chung Custom House Cargo Examination Compound. The tobacco had an estimated market value of about HK$13 million and a duty potential of about HK$46 million.

https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/law-and-crime/article/3008464/hong-kong-customs-officers-arrest-man-smuggled

ZAKIR NAIK: PREACHER SAID TO BE LAUNDERING MONEY INTO REAL ESTATE

On 2nd May, India Today reported that the Enforcement Directorate has filed its first direct charge sheet against controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik on charges of laundering criminal money and allegedly creating illegal real estate assets worth crores in India and abroad.  The agency filed the prosecution complaint under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) before a special court in Mumbai.  In the past, the agency has attached Naik’s various properties, investments made in mutual funds, the Islamic International School in Chennai, land in Pune and Mumbai, and 10 bank accounts.

https://www.indiatoday.in/india/story/ed-charge-sheet-against-zakir-naik-preacher-laundering-money-real-estate-1515606-2019-05-02

OECD WORKING GROUP ON BRIBERY’S CALL FOR COMMENTS RE THE UPCOMING REVIEW OF THE 2009 OECD ANTI-BRIBERY RECOMMENDATION – THE SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES THE NEW EU DATA PROTECTION LEGISLATION POSES TO CORPORATE ANTI-BRIBERY COMPLIANCE PROGRAMMES

A blog post on 2nd May on the FCPA Blog is concerned with a submission from TRACE that describes in detail the ways in which the GDPR and other similar personal data protection laws create new significant liability risks for companies and add costly and time-consuming obligations when the companies carry out best-practice anti-bribery compliance processes.  TRACE is an anti-bribery business organisation and leading provider of cost-effective third-party risk management solutions, its members and clients include hundreds of multinational companies.

The submission, dated 30th April, is available at –

https://www.traceinternational.org/Uploads/PublicationFiles/TRACEConsultationSubmissiontoOECDWGB.pdf

http://www.fcpablog.com/blog/2019/5/2/conflicts-between-gdpr-and-corporate-anti-bribery-compliance.html

CAYMAN ISLANDS STOCK EXCHANGE AND US CLO LISTINGS

On 2nd May, an article from Harneys discusses how the onerous regulatory burden placed on US collateralised loan obligation (CLO) issuers and sponsors in the EU, both from an administrative and legal perspective, combined with the relative ease, efficiency and legal certainty of the Cayman Islands as a jurisdiction, has caused a significant increase in Cayman Islands Stock Exchange (CSX) CLO listings.  A CLO is a single security backed by a pool of debt, and are often corporate loans that have a low credit rating, or leveraged buyout made by a private equity firm to take a controlling interest in an existing company.

https://www.harneys.com/media/1936/cayman-islands-stock-exchange-the-future-for-us-clo-listings.pdf

UK ADDS MOHAMMED MASOOD AZHAR ALVI TO ISIL/AL-QAIDA SANCTIONS LIST

On 2nd May, a Notice from HM Treasury advised that 1 name had been added to its Consolidated List of persons and entities subject to sanctions.  This followed the decision of the relevant UN sanctions committee on 1st May.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/799529/Notice_ISIL_02052019.pdf

OFAC SETTLEMENT WITH US COMPANY OVER FUNDS TRANSFERS LINKED TO BLOCKED IRANIAN SHIPS

On 2nd May, OFAC announced a settlement with MID-SHIP Group LLC of Port Washington, which is to pay a $871,837 penalty in connection with electronic funds transfers, totalling approximately $472,861, that pertained to payments associated with blocked vessels identified on OFAC’s List of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons.  OFAC says the company did not voluntarily self-disclose the apparent violations constitute an egregious case.  It is said that MID-SHIP subsidiaries in China and Turkey negotiated charter party agreements between multiple third parties regarding the transportation of goods from foreign ports to other foreign ports and involving IRISL ships of Iran.  OFAC says it considers that the company’s culture of compliance appears to have been deficient at the time of the apparent violations.

https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USTREAS/bulletins/24264b1

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20190502_midship.pdf

https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/CivPen/Documents/20190502_midship_settlement.pdf

PHOTOS REVEAL EXTENT OF FOREIGN LUXURY GOODS AVAILABLE IN NEW PYONGYANG DEPARTMENT STORE

NK News on 2nd May carried an article saying that a “plethora” of international brands, including products which some UN member states have determined constitute sanctioned luxury goods, appear to be available for sale at Pyongyang’s recently reopened Taesong Department Store.

https://www.nknews.org/2019/05/photos-reveal-extent-of-foreign-luxury-goods-available-in-new-pyongyang-dept-store

PERU CRIMINALS SET UP PHONEY GOVERNMENT AGENCY TO RECEIVE BRIBES

Insight Crime on 1st May reported that a criminal group in Peru built a phony government office to swindle contractors bidding on a public works project, although the scheme only worked because such projects have long been vehicles for bribery and corruption.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/brief/peru-criminals-phony-agency-bribes/

MONEY LAUNDERING CASE BEING BUILT AGAINST FORMER OFFICIALS IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

The Trinidad & Tobago Guardian on 1st May reported that for­mer at­tor­ney gen­er­al Anand Ram­lo­gan and Unit­ed Na­tion­al Con­gress (UNC) sen­a­tor Ger­ald Ramdeen have been ques­tioned by po­lice about their al­leged in­volve­ment in a mon­ey laun­der­ing scheme, and said it had been told that was told that an in­ter­na­tion­al QC is help­ing the State with its case against the men.  It is alleged that the QC earned over $20 mil­lion in state briefs and that he had an agree­ment to pay back a per­cent­age of the mon­ey to the former AG in ex­change for the brief.

http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/money-laundering-case-built-against-ramlogan-ramdeen-6.2.836456.5fce68ac76

SPECIAL UNIT OF FOREIGNERS PROBING CORRUPTION CASES IN TRINIDAD & TOBAGO

The Trinidad & Tobago Guardian on 1st May reported that spe­cial­ist po­lice pros­e­cu­tors from abroad were qui­et­ly ush­ered in­to the coun­try last year to help form a se­cret, yet-to-be named unit of in­ves­ti­ga­tors prepar­ing ma­jor cor­rup­tion cas­es.

http://www.guardian.co.tt/news/special-unit-of-foreigners-probing-corruption-cases-6.2.836464.8ea0d475cf