OTHER THINGS YOU MAY HAVE MISSED – JUNE 1

1st June 2019

 NORTH KOREA HAD $74 MILLION WORTH OF FROZEN ASSETS IN US LAST YEAR

The Yonhap News Agency on 31st May reported that about $74 million worth of North Korean assets in the US were frozen as of last year as part of sanctions, up 17.3% from a year earlier, according to a US Treasury report.

https://en.yna.co.kr/view/AEN20190531003500325

AFRICA: NEW ORGANISATION CREATED TO TAKE-UP PAN-AFRICAN FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION

On 30th May, RFI reported that a new think-tank founded by Congolese activists has been set up to fight corruption across the African continent.  UNIS partners with organisations in various African countries and has already established a set of specific programmes to be carried out on the ground.

http://en.rfi.fr/africa/20190530-pan-african-fight-against-corruption-using-african-insight

MINISTER RESIGNS OVER ITALY’S ‘CRAZY EXPENSES’ SCANDAL

The Local on 30th May reported that the Italian government avoided a crisis after a junior League minister resigned following his conviction for fraud and embezzlement in what was known as the “crazy expenses” trial.  A court in Genoa sentenced infrastructure and transport undersecretary Edoardo Rixi to 3 years and 5 months in prison.  He and 19 others had submitted private expenses including for amusement park visits, lottery scratch cards, oysters, chocolates, flowers and other items between 2010 and 2012.

https://www.thelocal.it/20190530/italy-minister-resigns-over-crazy-expenses-scandal

US COMMERCE DEPARTMENT’S NEW CONTROLS ON EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES

On 29th May, Duane Morris published an article saying that the Commerce Department had issued a new list containing certain revisions, additions, amendments and modifications to the Export Administration Regulations Commerce Control List (CCL).  Effective immediately, this final rule implements certain changes to the Wassenaar Arrangement List of Dual-Use Goods and Technologies that specifically address issues pertaining to certain emerging technologies that are essential to the national security of the US.  The final rule adds to the CCL 5 recently developed or developing technologies that are subject to controls – Discrete Microwave Transistors; Continuity of Operation Software; Post-Quantum Cryptogrophy; Underwater Transducers; and Air-Launch (and space-launch) Platforms.

https://www.duanemorris.com/alerts/commerce_dept_bureau_industry_security_issues_new_controls_emerging_technologies_0519.html

RUSSIA SANCTIONS EU CITIZENS AND ENTITIES IN TIT-FOR-TAT MOVE

The Famagusta Gazette and others on 1st June reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry has decided to expand the list of citizens and entities of the EU banned from entering Russia in retaliation for a similar list of Russian individuals and institutions sanctioned by the EU.

http://famagusta-gazette.com/2019/06/01/russia-sanctions-eu-citizens-and-entities-in-tit-for-tat-move/

US DELAYS PETROCHEMICAL SANCTIONS ON IRAN

On 1st June, the Hellenic Shipping News reported that the US has delayed new, tougher sanctions on Iran’s petrochemical products sector.  It says that the US Treasury had planned to implement new sanctions in mid-May that for the first time detailed which Iranian petrochemical entities are off limits to foreign companies.  In principle, sales of petrochemicals, including ammonia, methanol and urea, are already banned under existing US sanctions but enforcement hasn’t been robust.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/u-s-delays-petrochemical-sanctions-on-iran/

RUSSIAN TYCOON TO SPLIT SANCTIONS-HIT POWER ENGINEERING BUSINESS

The Telegram on 31st May reported that Alexey Mordashov will split his power engineering business, which was hit by US sanctions in 2018, and transfer some of its assets to a new management company, of which he will be in charge.  Power Machines will be split into 4 businesses, according to Severgroup, which manages Mordashov’s investments.  Power Machines is the Russian partner in Siemens Gas Turbine Technologies, and was linked to the supply of German turbines to Crimea.

https://www.thetelegram.com/business/russian-tycoon-to-split-sanctions-hit-power-engineering-business-317212/

UKRAINE MAY SLAP NEW SANCTIONS FOR ILLEGAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS IN RUSSIA-OCCUPIED CRIMEA

The Kiyv Post on 31st May reported that Ukraine’s Ministry for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons has initiated sanctions against 28 legal entities, scientific and museum institutions whose representatives are engaged in illegal archaeological excavations in the Russia-occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol.

https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/unian-ukraine-may-slap-new-sanctions-for-illegal-archaeological-excavations-in-russia-occupied-crimea.html

SMUGGLERS IMPORT 2.2 TONNES OF SNUS INTO FINLAND

YLE on 31st May reported that Finnish Customs suspects 2 men in their 30s of smuggling and distributing more than 2,200 kg of snus, an orally-ingested tobacco product, in the greater Helsinki area.  The pair had made more than 30 snus-buying trips to a shop in northern Sweden between last summer and early this year.  Sales of the substance are banned in all EU countries except Sweden.  However, Finland allows residents to import a certain amount for personal use.

https://yle.fi/uutiset/osasto/news/smugglers_import_2200_kilos_of_snus_into_finland/10811173

GHANA: SMUGGLED CODEINE COUGH SYRUP DESTROYED

On 31st May, Modern Ghana reported that the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) in Collaboration with the Narcotic Control Board (NACOB), the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) and the Customs Exercise and Preventive Service (CEPS) of the Ghana Revenue Authority has safely disposed of 4,152 bottles of banned Codeine-containing cough syrups, and which were imported from South Africa in 3 different consignments by three different importers.

https://www.modernghana.com/news/936106/smuggled-codeine-cough-syrup-destroyed.html

5 MYTHS ABOUT CHINA’S BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE

On 31st May, the Washington Post carried an article saying that the Initiative is ambiguous by design, which has birthed several myths –

  • China is spending trillions
  • Military motives drive the Initiative
  • Chinese projects are cheap
  • Belt and Road is centrally run
  • The Silk Road is returning

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/five-myths/five-myths-about-chinas-belt-and-road-initiative/2019/05/30/d6870958-8223-11e9-bce7-40b4105f7ca0_story.html

GDPR 1 YEAR ON: SITUATION IN ISLE OF MAN AND LIKELY FUTURE DEVELOPMENTS

On 31st May, Appleby published an article that points out that transitional arrangements which allowed data controllers to continue to rely on consents which were valid under the previous legislation for a transitional period have ended.   Now that the transitional period has come to an end, data controllers may only rely on consent which complies with the GDPR.  The article says that there are further changes on the horizon, including the proposed establishment of an independent Information Commission which will replace the current Information Commissioner’s Office.

https://www.applebyglobal.com/publications/gdpr-one-year-on-end-of-transitional-provisions-and-likely-future-developments-in-the-isle-of-man/

NARCO-POLITICS CAST SHADOW ON HONDURAN PRESIDENTS

On 31st May, an article from Insight Crime is concerned with documents recently unsealed in a New York federal court that show that Honduras’ most powerful drug trafficking organisation, Los Cachiros, bribed the country’s former President and opened a line of communication to the current President.

https://www.insightcrime.org/news/analysis/narco-politics-honduras-presidents-court-documents/

EGYPT LIFTS BAN ON CRYPTOCURRENCY

On 30th May, Yahoo News reported that Egypt has lifted its ban on cryptocurrencies one year after prohibiting digital assets under Islamic Law.  The Central Bank of Egypt (CBE) has issued a new banking law that means cryptocurrency firms will be able to operate if they can obtain a necessary licence in advance.

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/egypt-lifts-ban-cryptocurrency-ahead-120553374.html

TURKISH EMBARGO ON CYPRUS SHIPS CONDEMNED BY EUROPEAN COMMUNITY SHIPOWNERS’ ASSOCIATIONS

Hellenic Shipping News reported on 1st June that the ECSA has said that unilateral actions, such as the Turkish ban on Cyprus ships, were condemned as strongly as possible.

https://www.hellenicshippingnews.com/turkish-embargo-on-cyprus-ships-condemned-by-european-community-shipowners-associations/

The Turkish restrictive measures were originally introduced in April 1987 with a prohibition of Cyprus-flagged vessels calling at Turkish ports.  In 1997, Turkey issued new instructions to its ports and harbours to clarify uncertainties arising from the imposition of the restrictions, thus extending them against vessels under a foreign flag (of any nationality) sailing to Turkish ports directly from any Cypriot port under the effective control of the Republic of Cyprus, or against vessels of any nationality related to the Republic of Cyprus in terms of ownership or ship management. The immediate effect of the May 1997 instructions was to restrict the use of Cypriot ports for transshipment operations of shipping lines in the Mediterranean.

For more information on the embargo, see –

http://www.mfa.gov.cy/mfa/mfa2016.nsf/mfa14_en/mfa14_en

US FAKE SHEIKH: MAN MASQUERADING AS SAUDI PRINCE JAILED FOR $8 MILLION FRAUD

On 1st June, The National in UAE reported that a Colombian national in Florida who posed as a Saudi royal for 3 decades and cheated people out of $8 million will spend 18 years in prison for fraud.  Anthony Gignac, 48, constructed a personal world of luxury from his regal scam involving fake diplomatic credentials and a coterie of bodyguards.  Gignac was adopted by a family in Michigan at age 7, with his alter-ego first emerging 10 years later when he was 17 years old.  Since then, Gignac has been arrested and convicted several times for fraud, but that wasn’t enough to stop “Prince Khalid”.

https://www.thenational.ae/world/the-americas/fake-sheikh-man-masquerading-as-saudi-prince-jailed-for-8-million-fraud-1.869035

US SANCTIONS ON CUBA COULD HURT SPANISH HOTEL OPERATORS

Deutsche Welle on 1st June quoted Alvaro Pacheco, a spokesperson for the Barcelo hotel chain, who said “investments made by Spanish hotel chains in Cuba have been a success story.” Barcelo, along with fellow Spanish hospitality groups and Iberostar, dominate the Cuban market.  A family of Cubans living in US exile have announced that they would be taking legal action against one of Melia’s hotels.  The recently reactivated section of the Helms-Burton Act allows lawsuits against foreign companies doing business on properties confiscated after Cuba’s socialist revolution.

https://www.dw.com/en/us-sanctions-on-cuba-could-hurt-spanish-hotel-operators/a-49002438

FOOTBALLER JAY-JAY OKOCHA IN SCOTTISH COURT OVER MONEY LAUNDERING CHARGES

On 1st June, Sahar Reporters reported that Augustine (Jay Jay) Okocha, former Nigerian Super Eagles captain, and English Premier League footballer has appeared in court facing money laundering charges.  The appearance relates to alleged incidents said to have happened in the north-east of Scotland in 2015.  The retired footballer, whose general address was given as Milton Keynes was granted bail.

http://saharareporters.com/2019/06/01/jay-jay-okocha-lands-scotland-court-over-money-laundering-charges

KENYA UNVEILS NEW GENERATION BANKNOTES TO CURB FRAUD

CGTN in its 2nd June edition reported that Kenya plans to withdraw an old version of its 1,000 shilling ($9.88) banknote to tackle illicit financial flows and counterfeiting.  The new notes would have a unique theme and security features and will have various images.

https://newsaf.cgtn.com/news/3d3d414e786b7a6333566d54/index.html

FRENCH NUCLEAR WHISTLEBLOWERS REPORT SUSPECTED FRAUD

Materials World on 30th May reported that a French nuclear watchdog has received reports of suspected fraud in the country’s nuclear operators.  Autorité de Sûreté Nucléaire (ASN) opened a public portal in November 2018 to collect reports of irregularities relating to nuclear safety and radiation protection for people and the environment; and it said that time it had received 22 submissions, some of which related to potential fraud and are subject to investigation by the organisation.  4 have already been forwarded to the public prosecutor for further review.

https://www.iom3.org/materials-world-magazine/news/2019/may/30/french-nuclear-whistleblowers-report-suspected-fraud

PENTAGON TO STOP USE OF COMMERCIAL SATELLITES LAUNCHED BY RUSSIA STARTING IN 2023

Rferl reported on 1st June that the US Department of Defense (DOD) will stop utilising commercial satellites launched with Russian rockets beginning in 2023 as relations between the countries deteriorate.  International Launch Services, which markets the Russian-built Proton and Angara launch vehicles to US companies, dismissed the impact that the new order would have on its business.  The article also notes that some US military satellites have been put into space aboard US Atlas rockets that utilise Russian engines, an arrangement overseen by United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of defence contractors Boeing and Lockheed Martin; and that Russian rockets recently carried satellites into space for US companies Planet Labs, a provider of Earth imagining services, and OneWeb, a communications start-up.

https://www.rferl.org/a/pentagon-to-stops-use-of-commercial-satellites-launched-by-russia/29975490.html

US CUTS OFF INDIA PREFERENTIAL TRADE ACCESS

On 1st June, Customs Today reported that the US will end preferential trade treatment for India, US President Donald Trump has announced.  It says that India has been the single biggest beneficiary of the decades-old US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) programme, allowing the country to export $5.7 billion worth of duty-free goods in 2017, according to figures from US Congress.

http://www.customstoday.com.pk/us-cuts-off-india-preferential-trade-access/

 

MANY BREXITEERS SEE THE WTO AS A SUITABLE FRAMEWORK FOR THE UK’S TRADE, BUT IS IT?

A post on the LSE Business review website on 1st June poses this question, asked by an associate professor at LSE’s department of international relations (international trade policy unit).  It warns that the WTO has been undermined by outdated rules, US trade policy and China’s support for its own industries; and that the WTO does not rule – and the whole multilateral trading system is in a state of crisis, for the reasons given in the post.  It says that only the ‘big beasts’ of the US and China can defend their national interests in a power-based order.  The UK’s interests – as a leading member of a group of WTO members seeking to defend multilateralism – will be closely aligned with those of the EU, as well as other developed and developing economies.

https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/businessreview/2019/06/01/many-brexiteers-see-the-wto-as-a-suitable-framework-for-the-uks-trade-but-is-it/

DUTCH PROSECUTORS UNVEIL MDMA-SCENTED PERFUME TO RAISE AWARENESS OF DRUGS LABS

Illicit Trade on 31st May reported that prosecutors in the Netherlands have created a new perfume fragrance as part of a campaign designed to help members of the public recognise when an illegal drugs laboratory might be operating in their neighbourhood.  “Xtacy” is packaged in a bottle that resembles those used by major fragrance brands, the scent is intended to mimic the aroma given off by drugs factories in which ecstasy is produced.

https://www.illicit-trade.com/2019/05/dutch-prosecutors-unveil-mdma-scented-perfume-to-raise-awareness-of-drugs-labs

THE DAWN OF THE SFO SUPERGRASS?

On 31st May, a blog post from Corker Bining says that the SFO’s historic use of the power to “flip” defendants into witnesses, and their historic use by other prosecuting agencies in the UK in financial crime investigations, has been tentative, at least in comparison with their US counterparts.  However, the Director of the SFO is keen to increase the SFO’s use of co-operating offender agreements.  The article says that the challenge facing the new Director is how to superimpose her US experience onto a UK statutory model, despite the differences that exist between the jurisdictions.

https://www.corkerbinning.com/the-dawn-of-the-sfo-supergrass/

CYPRIOT POLICE RAID BANK IN MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE

OCCRP reported on 31st May claims that Cypriot police had raided the premises of FBME Bank in Nicosia and in Limassol, looking for evidence of money laundering.  The bank’s headquarters is in Tanzania and has 2 service points in Cyprus.  In July 2014, FinCEN described FBME Bank as a “financial institution of primary money laundering concern” and banned US banks from dealing with it and the Central Bank of Cyprus imposed a new management, reducing the bank’s operations – and, in 2015, fined it €1.2 million for gaps in the implementation of AML legislation.

https://www.occrp.org/en/daily/9851-sources-cypriot-police-raid-bank-in-money-laundering-probe

TRIO TRIED TO SMUGGLE $600,000 WORTH OF CALIFORNIA SUCCULENTS

The LA Times on 31st May reported that 3 South Korean citizens have been charged with trying to illegally export thousands of plants poached from remote Northern California state parks.  The succulents are prized in Asia, but they take years to grow in nurseries.

https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-plant-smuggling-plot-20190531-story.html

CHINA HITS BACK WITH ITS OWN ‘ENTITY LIST’

The Global Times on 31st May reported that China will soon release its own version of the US entity list, targeting foreign entities that seriously undermine legitimate interests of Chinese companies, the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said.  It is one of the countermeasures against US suppression of Chinese companies such as Huawei, reflecting China’s determination to protect the legitimate rights of its companies in overseas markets.  Called the “non-reliable entity list,” the list will include foreign entities, individuals and companies that block and shut the supply chain, or take discriminatory measures over non-commercial reasons, and when their actions endanger the business of Chinese companies as well as global consumers and companies.

http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1152609.shtml