3rd June 2019
TURKEY COMPLIES WITH US OIL SANCTIONS TO AVERT RISKS
Middle East Online on 2nd June reported that Turkey had begun reducing oil imports from Iran in recent months and looked to hedge against higher oil costs by buying more heavily from neighbouring Iraq. However, it also said that Turkey, a critic of US sanctions, intends to develop alternative mechanisms to continue trading with Iran and pledged its commitment to tripling bilateral trade with Iran from its current level of around $10 billion a year.
INDIA: 2 TONNES OF SEA CUCUMBER SEIZED
The New Indian Express on 3rd June reported that the sea cucumbers were preserved in cold storage and being loaded onto vehicles, and that marine police arrested 2 persons allegedly involved in smuggling.
EL SALVADOR ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE “RAIDS ALBA PETROLEOS OVER MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE”
The Havana Times on 2nd June reported claims of raids of Alba Petroleos, which is associated with Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA), and 26 other companies linked to alleged money laundering. Alba is said to be a “sister” company of Albanisa of Nicaragua, both joint ventures with Venezuela’s PDVSA.
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KENYA: LAW FIRM’S BANK ACCOUNTS FROZEN IN FAKE GOLD PROBE
On 2nd June, the Daily Nation reported that a Nairobi court has frozen 2 accounts belonging to a law firm suspected to be holding funds alleged to be proceeds of fake gold. A court order freezes accounts of Okundi & Company Advocates for 3 months.
GUERNSEY SUBSTANCE REQUIREMENTS: A DETAILED OVERVIEW
On 31st May, a briefing from Ferbrache & Farrell LLP dealt with recent updates to Guernsey’s substance requirements. It starts by saying that Guernsey has implemented new substance legislation which requires Guernsey tax resident companies carrying on ‘relevant activities’ to demonstrate, for substance purposes, that they are directed and managed in Guernsey; are conducting ‘Core Income Generating Activities’ in Guernsey; and have an adequate level of employees, physical presence and expenditure in Guernsey to support such activities. It outlines the entities not subject to the requirements, and the requirements themselves. It includes a checklist for those who may be affected.
UK INSOLVENCY SERVICE NEWS
The Insolvency Service has released details of some recent action it has undertaken –
- Jan Maarten Asscher, 56, from the Netherlands, signed a disqualification undertaking and is banned from running limited companies for 11 years. He and fellow director, Mark Timothy Walker, 57, who is banned for 9 years, after they allowed the company to produce the false sales documents. They had over 70 years’ diamond-trading experience between them, but are now banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company;
- A court has banned Gary Kelvin Link, 41, a Telford-based double glazing director for a further 11 years after running a company while already disqualified.
- A London-based company, Asset Backed Management Limited, that offered unauthorised investment opportunities, including corporate bonds and alternative bonds, to the public has been wound-up in court.
- Textile boss Rostum Nagra, 51, who diverted half a million pounds of company funds for his own benefit has accepted 7 years of additional bankruptcy restrictions.
FIGHT AGAINST CORRUPTION IN LATVIA: COUNCIL OF EUROPE REGRETS LACK OF PROGRESS
On 3rd June, the Council of Europe said that a report from the Council of Europe’s anti-corruption group, GRECO, regrets the lack of measures concerning regulation on lobbying, parliamentary ethics and conflicts of interest in Latvia.
CHARITY TREASURER JAILED FOR £330,000 GIFT AID FRAUD
Accountancy Daily on 3rd June reported that a charity treasurer who tried to steal more than £330,000 in a gift aid repayment fraud has been jailed for 3 years, after a court heard he spent thousands of pounds on luxury holidays for himself and others.
UKRAINE: COURT FREEZES PROPERTY OF PERSONS IMPLICATED IN ‘ALLEROV CASE’
On 3rd June, Interfax reported that the Solomiansky district court of Kyiv has decided to freeze property of ex-National Guard Commander Yuriy Allerov and other persons regarding the appropriation of the property of the main directorate of the National Guard.
BAT ACCUSED OF TAX FRAUD IN 5 COUNTRIES INCLUDING KENYA
The Star in Kenya on 3rd June reported a claim from the Tax Justice Network shows BAT shifted dividends to the Netherlands in 2015 and 2016, denying Kenya tax worth $2.7 million. The report by TJN indicates that for every dollar the cigarette multinational pay in tax in the countries it operates in, it shifts more than half a dollar that would have been taxed locally to a UK subsidiary where it paid almost no tax – this being done by charging itself royalties, rerouting loans through tax havens and paying interests fees on loans made between regional offices, shrinking tax contributions, especially in low and middle-income countries.
$540,000 PENALTY FOR ANTI-BOYCOTT VIOLATIONS IN US
On 3rd June, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the US Bureau of Industry and Security has issued an order imposing a $54,000 civil penalty against a US company to settle charges that it committed 27 violations of the anti-boycott provisions of the Export Administration Regulations, having exported from the US to Qatar and the UAE, and failed to report its receipt of requests to take an action that would have the effect of furthering or supporting a restrictive trade practice or unsanctioned foreign boycott.
GLOBAL ACTION AGAINST WILDLIFE CRIME: 4,400 REPTILES SAVED FROM CRIMINAL HANDS
A news release from Europol on 3rd June was about an international operation against the illegal trade in reptiles has seen hundreds of seizures and 12 arrests in the EU. Europol co-ordinated information sharing between EU Members States which led to the identification of almost 200 suspects worldwide. Operation Blizzard, between 12th April and 22nd May, targeted the criminal networks behind the illegal global trade of reptiles.
SOLICITOR HIT WITH £500,000 POCA FINE FOR USING HOUSE AS OFFICE
Legal Futures on 3rd June reported that a West London solicitor has hit with a £500,000 confiscation order for repeatedly disregarding warnings from his local council to stop using a home as an office for his firm.
BRITAIN’S COUNTERFEIT XANAX CRISIS
On 3rd May, NME reported that British teens are developing an appetite for addictive benzos – benzodiazepines, a group of drugs used to treat anxiety, including Xanax – and the demand is being met by UK-based labs preparing dangerous counterfeit pills. Benzos are said to be especially dangerous when mixed with other drugs.
TANKER LINKED TO PREVIOUS SANCTIONS EVASION RETURNS TO OIL SMUGGLING ZONE
NK Pro on 31st May reported that a tanker owned by a company with ties to North Korea’s sanctions evasion programmes has returned to an area of ocean which is a likely smuggling hot spot. The Sierra Leone-flagged Xin Hai once again broadcast its position in waters east of Shanghai on March 30th, the second time this month.
NO LET UP IN BRITISH DEMAND FOR IRISH PASSPORTS
On 3rd June, the Statista website reported that nearly 3 years on from the UK’s Brexit referendum, there has been no let up in British demand for an Irish passport.
COMPANIES STEP IN TO OFFER TO CLEAN UP NUCLEAR PLANT SITES IN THE US
On 24th May, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists published an article saying that a profit-hungry industry is emerging to rescue electric utilities that have little enthusiasm for dismantling their own ageing nuclear power plants. With promise of dramatically reduced decommissioning times, in some cases by as much as 50 years, a group of companies wants to buy the retired plants, take on the work of demolishing them, and manage storage of the spent fuel rods that will likely be stuck on the plants’ grounds for a very long time.
POLICE RECOVER £500,000 VIKING HOARD AS PART OF A WIDER INVESTIGATION INTO ILLEGAL DEALING IN HISTORICAL TREASURES
On 3rd June, the Art Law & More site from Boodle Hatfield reported that a police raid on properties in County Durham and Lancashire has uncovered a Viking hoard, which has the potential to rewrite British history. A hoard of Viking-era coins and silver ingot was reclaimed as part of Operation Fantail.
KENYA’S CENTRAL BANKER WARNS ABOUT IMPACT OF ILLICIT FLOWS
Reuters on 3rd June reported that Kenya needs to urgently stamp out an upsurge of suspicious transactions in its financial sector that imperil future commercial activities and economic growth, the central bank governor said. The central bank has not quantified the volume of illicit flows but there had been enough evidence to force the authorities to act, he said.
NEW CPS CHIEF EXECUTIVE
On 3rd June, the Law Society Gazette reported that acivil servant who began her career in banking has been appointed as the next chief executive of the Crown Prosecution Service. Rebecca Lawrence is currently chief executive of the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) in London, and will join the CPS in September.
5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT CBD IN THE US — FOOD, DRUGS AND THE IN-BETWEEN
An article from McGuire Woods LLP on 3rd June says that under the amended Farm Bill, cannabidiol (CBD) may be cultivated and used for commercial purposes if it does not contain more than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a dry-weight basis. Nonetheless, it says, whether CBD is in food, dietary supplements or other over-the-counter products, the legality of industrial hemp-based CBD remains uncertain. It then lists 5 points highlight that key areas businesses should consider regarding the current state of CBD – CBD is a drug, but it is not a dietary supplement; CBD is not a Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) food additive; Marketing and advertising concerns; Differences between federal and state law; and Potential interactions with other medications.
$267 MILLION PAID INTO JERSEY’S CIVIL ASSET RECOVERY FUND
On 3rd June, a news release reported that on 31st May $267,751,992.02 was paid into the Civil Asset Recovery Fund managed by the Minister for Treasury and Resources from assets that were previously held by Doraville Properties Corporation. A US Federal Court had previously found that more than $300 million had been derived from corruption in Nigeria during the military regime of General Sani Abacha. The court found that the money had been laundered through the US banking system by people including President Abacha’s son Mohammed, before being transferred to Jersey.
SECURITY INCIDENT RESPONSE FOR SHIP OWNERS AND OPERATORS
Control Risks on 3rd June said that the number of security and compliance challenges that face ship owners and operators can make it hard to evaluate and minimise foreseeable risks. Cyber-attacks, insider threats and corruption, to name a few, make for choppy waters. It says that DMK (the Norwegian war risk insurance body) in partnership with Hiscox Special Risks and Control Risks have developed a new programme which provides advice and resources to steer clear of incidents where possible.
A QUARTER OF GASOLINE SOLD IN COLOMBIA IS USED FOR COCAINE
On 3rd June, Insight Crime reported that rural gas stations in Colombia are allegedly selling vast quantities of fuel to criminal groups to be used in coca paste processing, with as much as 28% of the country’s gasoline potentially going to organised crime. The Attorney General’s Office announced it is investigating 33 gas stations.
UN ATOMIC WATCHDOG RAISES QUESTIONS OF IRAN’S CENTRIFUGE USE
Real Clear Defense on 3rd June reported that in a confidential quarterly report distributed to member states and seen by The Associated Press, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran has stayed within key limitations set in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, for uranium and heavy water stockpiles. However, it also reported Iran’s stockpiles of low-enriched uranium and heavy water are growing and raised questions for the first time about Iran’s adherence to a key but vague provision intended to limit the country’s use of advanced centrifuges. A centrifuge is a device that enriches uranium by rapidly spinning uranium hexafluoride gas.
BELGIUM MUST DRAW LESSONS FROM THE EXPORT OF DANGEROUS SUBSTANCES TO SYRIA: BASF ALLEGATIONS
De Morgen newspaper in Belgium on 3rd June reported that in the aftermath of the conviction in February of a Belgian company and 2 executives for the unauthorised export of a controlled chemical to Syria, there are accusations against BASF in Belgium concerning diethylamine, which eventually ended up in Syria having gone via Antwerp to a distribution company in Switzerland have gone, and then to to Lebanon and Syria.
SFO FINES FH BERTLING LTD £850,000 FOR BRIBES TO SECURE CONTRACTS IN ANGOLA
A post on The FCPA Blog on 3rd June reported that he investigation and prosecution focused on Germany-headquartered FH Bertling’s involvement in an oil project in Angola and employees bribing a local state oil company official to secure $20 million in shipping contracts. In 2017, 3 former Bertling executives were given jail sentences and fined, the prison sentences being suspended but the defendants were disqualified from serving as directors of UK companies for 5 years. Bertling’s UK unit, which pleaded guilty in 2017, stopped doing business and went into liquidation.