25th May 2019
DOW JONES AND POLESTAR IN RISK MANAGEMENT AND CARGO TRACKING TIE-UP
On 23rd May, Ship Insight reported that the partnership enables users of Dow Jones’ trade compliance solution to access additional intelligence for vessel screening and monitoring via Pole Star’s PurpleTRAC software. PurpleTRAC provides a vessel’s complete voyage history and screening checks for advanced auditing, combining Transponder signals with Inmarsat Satellite tracking, for guarding against financial crime in maritime trade. Adding the Dow Jones’ tool adds assessment of the risk associated with a trade transaction – from the goods themselves to the vessel and counterparties involved. It covers dual-use goods, trade counterparties, vessels and sanctioned cities and ports, and coverage of all major export control regimes, including the Wassenaar Arrangement and Chemical Weapons Convention.
1,500-YEAR-OLD GILDED BOOK CONFISCATED IN TURKEY’S IZMIR
The Daily Sabah on 24th May reported that police in Turkey’s western Izmir province confiscated a 1,500-year-old gilded religious book written in Hebrew featuring the Shield of David. Thousands of anti-smuggling operations are carried out across Turkey every year to halt the illegal sale of historical objects and protect the country’s rich cultural heritage.
HONDURAS PROBING INTO EX-PRESIDENT’S INVOLVEMENT INTO DRUG MONEY LAUNDERING
On 25th May, Devdiscourse reported that an international anti-corruption mission from the Organisation of American States said that it is investigating former president Porfirio Lobo on suspicion of involvement in laundering illegal drug money as part of a wider probe into his 2010-14 administration. The investigation began after Devis Leonel Rivera, a leader of the “Los Cachiros” drug cartel, testified in a US court that he had given money to Lobo’s 2010 election campaign.
UAE: PENALTIES FOR VIOLATORS OF ‘MARKING TOBACCO AND TOBACCO PRODUCTS SCHEME’
On 25th May, The National reported that the Federal Tax Authority (FTA), will begin implementing the Cabinet Decision regarding violations of the “Marking Tobacco and Tobacco Products Scheme”, which calls for applying Digital Tax Stamps on the packaging of said products before supplying them to local markets. They are meant to curb attempts at commercial fraud, and protect consumers from contraband, low-quality products, that do not conform with standards and harm their health and the environment. A ban on the import of any type of cigarettes into the UAE not bearing the digital tax stamps came into effect on May 1st, and the sale, importation or production of tobacco products not bearing the digital tax marks will be prohibited in the UAE as of August.
OLAF CONSIDERING INVESTIGATION INTO NIGEL FARAGE
Politico on 25th May reported that OLAF, the EU’s anti-fraud agency, is in the process of determining whether to open a formal investigation into allegations that Nigel Farage received £450,000 from a businessman – Arron Banks, a co-founder of the Brexit campaign group Leave.EU.
CROATIA: “EVERY AVAILABLE OPTION” TO BE USED TO SEIZE FORMER PRIME MINISTER IVO SANADER’S ILLEGAL GAINS FOLLOWING HIS CONVICTION FOR CORRUPTION
On 25th May, Total Croatia News reported that the State Prosecutor said that the state would consider every available option to seize former prime minister Ivo Sanader’s illegal gains following his conviction in the Planinska corruption case. There is said to be a 15-day deadline for voluntary payment, after which seizure deadlines start. The case is named after a building in Planinska Street in Zagreb, which was owned by his friend and fellow party member Stjepan Fiolic. The building was overpriced and then sold to the government.
RUSSIA’S RE-EMERGENCE AS A POWER BROKER IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA
On 24th May, ETH Zurich published a briefing which looks at Russia’s re-emergence as a power broker in the Middle East and North Africa. It contends that Russia is bolstering its influence in Syria, Egypt, Libya and Algeria, partly by reviving ties from the Soviet era and by shrewdly embracing a pragmatic, opportunistic approach. However, Russia is not displacing the US or Europe in the region. Instead, it suggests that by increasing its sway in a key region, Moscow is furthering another way of solidifying its status as a great power.
INDIAN RESTAURANT BOSS JAILED FOR £480,000 TAX FRAUD
The Desiblitz website on 25th May reported that the owner of a Derbyshire-based Indian restaurant has been jailed for tax fraud, attempting to evade almost £480,000 in tax payments. The restaurant owner’s fraudulent dealings were found out when HMRC investigators found a hidden sales book that dated back 5 years. Card sales, along with the hidden cash sales, helped him hide up to half of his declared takings and, at his house, HMRC officers found a large sum of cash behind a large marble wardrobe. They seized £22,170 and it has since been forfeited.
UGANDA’S GOVERNMENT “MOUNTING A STATE-RUN TAKEOVER OF THE NATION’S GAMBLING INDUSTRY”
On 24th May, Calvin Ayre reported that Uganda’s government is mounting a state-run takeover of the nation’s gambling industry, according to local media.
CAREER DRUG CRIMINAL HANDED ONE OF THE LONGEST PRISON SENTENCES IN THE JUDICIAL HISTORY OF JERSEY
On 24th May, the Jersey Evening Post reported that Alan James Smitton, originally from Liverpool, was jailed for a total of 17 years for his role in 2 major cannabis and heroin enterprises. A total of £600,000 worth of cannabis was seized and more than £400,000 of heroin – all linked to Smitton – as part of an undercover States police operation codenamed Operation Raven that ran for 2 months in late 2017.
US COURT REVIVES LAWSUIT AGAINST FRENCH BANK OVER SUDANESE ATROCITIES
On 24th May, Jurist reported that a US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reversed a district court’s dismissal of a class action lawsuit against French bank BNP Paribas over aiding atrocities in Sudan. It was brought in 2016 by 21 refugees from Sudan’s ethnic-cleansing campaign alleging that the bank conspired with and aided and abetted the Sudanese regime. The reversal comes nearly 5 years after BNP pleaded guilty to committing large-scale violations of sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran, which resulted in a record $8.97 billion fine. The case will be remanded to the district court for further proceedings.
10 INDIVIDUALS SUSPECTED OF COMMITTING ROBBERIES ACROSS EUROPE WITH STOLEN VEHICLES
On 24th May, a news release from Europol reported that the Italian Carabinieri, supported by the Munich Police Department, the Criminal Investigation Directorate of the General Inspectorate of the Romanian Police and the Spanish National Police and co-ordinated by Europol, arrested 10 individuals suspected of committing robberies across Europe with stolen vehicles. In total 261 vehicles have been physically seized so far and those remaining – up to 1,669 – are under a judicial seizure decision. The investigation began in April 2017 when the Italian authorities detected a criminal group involved in the robbery of jewels and luxury watches. The gang approached their victims in the stolen vehicles, when one of the suspects, usually a woman, would get out the car and talk to the potential victim. The criminal would then hug the victim and snatch their jewellery.
NORTH KOREA: WONSAN’S BEACH RESORT NEW CONSTRUCTION UNDERWAY
On 24th May, 38 North reported that the Wonsan beach resort is one of Kim Jong Un’s signature projects, as part of an effort to transform the Wonsan region into a world-class tourist destination and the prime spot for summer vacationers. Located on the south-eastern coast of North Korea, the resort area includes beachfront hotels, conference centres, mineral springs, and entertainment venues such as theatres, water parks and a golf course. Rapid construction was seen throughout last year, and continues this year, with new amenities and high-rises continually popping up. The article details new construction.
INDIA: EX-JET AIRWAYS CHAIRMAN NARESH GOYAL AND WIFE STOPPED FROM TRAVELLING ABROAD
On 25th May, India Today reported that former Jet Airways Chairman Naresh Goel and his wife Anita Goel were stopped from leaving the country at Mumbai airport. It quotes an immigration spokesman as saying that Naresh Goyal and wife Anita Goyal travelling to London on EK 507 were restricted from leaving the country. The aircraft had reached taxi way when it was recalled back and they were taken into custody by Immigration officers. The airline closed (temporarily, it said) in April, before shutting all domestic and international operations. The company, in a statement to the stock exchange, said it was unable to pay for fuel anymore after the consortium of Indian lenders (a group of 7 banks Jet borrowed from), led by State Bank of India (SBI), turned down the airline’s request for critical interim funding.
DATA SUBJECT ACCESS REQUESTS IN THE UK: CAN YOU ASK TO WHOM YOUR INFORMATION MAY HAVE BEEN SENT?
A briefing from Dechert LLP on 25th May said that a recent High Court decision concerning compliance with a data subject access request considered the basis upon which an individual can require the data controller to provide the names of those in receipt of his or her personal data and the sources of those data. One of the main questions answered, albeit on the special facts of the case, was whether details of to whom information was sent could be considered part of the “personal information” relating to the claimant.
“SARIN LAB” IN MOSCOW THEME PARK
On 23rd May, Bellingcat posted an article that says that in a theme park near Moscow called Patriot Park there is an interesting exhibit described as an alleged Sarin production laboratory, and said to have been captured in Syria. But, the post asks, is this really a production rig for the nerve agent Sarin? After all, the post says, Sarin is a complicated substance to make. It is, in fact, more complicated to make than many other nerve agents, and there are numerous production pathways to get from basic materials to Sarin. The post goes on to detail how one might make Sarin, and what is present in the exhibit. It concludes that, based on all available evidence, it is highly unlikely that this exhibit is actually a production laboratory for Sarin. While it may be fascinating for casual visitors to Patriot Park, it says, it does not pass the authenticity test.