17th June 2019
HIGH COURT PROVIDES GUIDANCE ON REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS FOR ENFORCING EUROPEAN JUDGMENTS IN ENGLAND
On 14th June, CMS Law published an article about a recent case which considered the requirements for registering a foreign judgment for enforcement in England under the Brussels Regulation providing a detailed interpretation of the operation of the registration process and helpful guidance to parties seeking to enforce judgments under the Regulation or its updated version, the Recast Brussels Regulation (which replaced it in 2015). The article says that the decision provides some helpful clarity on the English courts’ interpretation of the requirements of the Brussels Regulation, including its willingness to consider additional grounds of appeal beyond those expressly listed in the Regulation itself.
Q&A ON CAYMAN AML REGIME: SERVICE PROVIDERS, DELEGATION AND RISK-BASED APPROACH
On 4th April, Ogier published this article concerned with amendments made to the Islands’ AML regime in 2018.
GREEK PM SAYS MAY SEEK SANCTIONS AGAINST TURKEY IN GAS ROW
The Tasnim News Agency in Iran on 17th June reported that Greece and Cyprus will push ask EU states to penalise Turkey, including the possible option of sanctions, if Ankara is verified to have started drilling for gas west of Cyprus, the Greek Prime Minister said. The article says that a Turkish ship has been anchored west of Cyprus since May and Cyprus and Greece say the vessel is encroaching into Cyprus’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) – but Turkey says the area is on its continental shelf. However, EurActiv reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Turkey would not back down from gas exploration in Cyprus after southern European leaders urged Ankara to stop.
IRAQ SECURES NEW US SANCTIONS WAIVER FOR IRANIAN POWER IMPORTS
S&P Global from Platts on 16th June reported that the US State Department has granted Iraq a 120-day sanctions waiver allowing it to keep importing Iranian electricity and natural gas to ease power shortages. The exemptions have gotten progressively longer, from a 45-day waiver granted when US sanctions on Iran’s energy customers snapped back in November. Iraq then secured two2in-a-row 90-day waivers. Iraq is heavily reliant on Iran to maintain its power supply.
6 ARRESTED ON SUSPICION OF SMUGGLING GEORGIANS INTO ISRAEL
The Jerusalem Post on 17th June reported that Israeli police have arrested 6 people and detained 8 others on suspicion of smuggling Georgian migrants through Ben Gurion Airport.
HONG KONG SETS OUT AML/CFT BEST PRACTICES FOR SME ONBOARDING
Regulation Asia on 17th June reported on Hong Kong Monetary Authority has offered guidance on the application of AML/CFT measures to its regulated bodies when onboarding SME customers. This followed a review which found that improvements in the risk-based approach adopted by institutions was necessary. It noted that in some cases there is insufficient guidance for frontline staff to support the use of discretion and judgement in the application of the risk-based approach.
The Circular containing the advice is at –
DAUGHTER OF ENRC FOUNDER CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH GRAFT PROBE
The Kazakh Telegraph Agency on 17th June reported that the daughter of one of the founding oligarchs of ENRC, the miner that delisted from the FTSE 100 amid corruption allegations, has apparently been charged by the SFO. Anna Machkevitch was charged in connection with the long-running corruption investigation into ENRC by the SFO – for failing to produce documents demanded by the SFO under a section 2 notice.
BRIEFING: MAKING TAX DIGITAL
On 14th June, the House of Commons Library published a briefing paper on the HMRC strategy to implement a new system of digital tax accounts to be used by businesses, the self-employed and landlords. The briefing paper discusses the background to this reform.
US CUSTOMS SUPERVISOR HAD ‘HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS’ CONTACT WITH CHINESE OFFICIALS, PROSECUTORS SAY
Customs Today on 17th June reported on the case of US Customs and Border Protection supervisor Wei “George” Xu. Xu, 56, was arrested in February and charged with dealing firearms without a licence. But guns he has been held without bond since his arrest months ago amid concerns about his secret-level security clearance and what prosecutors described as “highly suspicious” contacts with Chinese consular officials in Los Angeles.
NETHERLANDS: MASSIVE INCREASE IN ILLEGAL KETAMINE SEIZURES BY CUSTOMS
The NL Times on 14th June reported that last year customs officers seized 800 kg of ketamine, compared to only 2.6 kg in 2016. Ketamine was developed as an anaesthetic and first used during the Vietnam War, and it is still used legitimately today. However, it appeared as a “party” drug in the 90s, though it is said not to be as popular in the Netherlands as cocaine and ecstasy.
IRELAND: ANTELOPE HEAD AMONG UNUSUAL SEIZURES BY CUSTOMS OFFICIALS
The Irish Times on 17th June carried an article about unusual seizures by customs officials targeting smugglers at the country’s ports and airports this year. These included the head of an oryx antelope from Turkmenistan, an ivory tusk of a walrus from Namibia, the teeth of a wild cat from Malaysia, as well as coral from the Maldives and Myanmar. There were also weapons – including guns, tasers, machetes and samurai swords – ammunition, food and even car parts taken from travelling passengers. Weapons seized included rifles, guns, stun guns, air guns, pistols, component parts for firearms, lasers, tasers, throwing stars, machetes, samurai and katana swords and many varieties of illegal knives, such as flick, stiletto and butterfly knives.
IS A ‘SEIZE AND SIFT’ NOTICE REQUIRED FOR MOBILE PHONES?
On 12th June, a Q&A advice from the Police National Legal Database advised that it did not appear that a “section 52” notice under the “seize and sift” rules, which allow law enforcement to uplift bulk material seized under a warrant and sift through it at another place, where it is not reasonably practicable for it to be sifted through in the place where it was found. A section 52 notice deals with the requirement to give a notice specifying what has been seized and why.
CANADA MUST END COMPLICITY IN CHINA’S BRUTAL ORGAN-TRAFFICKING REGIME
An opinion piece in The Epoch times on 16th June accused Canada, among other developed countries, of involvement in the purchase and sale of human parts which has become an industry, and it has been supporting it. It says that organ trafficking is a global phenomenon. However, forced organ harvesting deserves special attention in the context of the Chinese, where it said to be driven by the state. The article claims that the Falun Gong, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and some Christian sects are also being targeted. A Bill in the Canadian parliamentary system seeks to put a stop to Canadian complicity by criminalising organ tourism – as generally, the Canadian Criminal Code only criminalises acts committed in Canada, and thus it is currently legal for Canadians to travel abroad and obtain organs from illicit sources, because such acts do not take place on Canadian soil. Other important organ importers are named as the US, Australia, Israel, Japan, Oman, and Saudi Arabia.
CANADA: POLICE LAUNCH RAIDS AIMED AT COUNTERFEIT DRUG RING
On 4th June, the Montreal Gazette reported on an investigation opened in 2018, after Canadian Border Services Agency seized about 200,000 counterfeit Xanax tablets. A series of were aimed at breaking a network alleged to have specialised in the production and export of counterfeit prescription drugs.
US PUSH FOR BLOCKCHAIN SOLUTION TO CONTROL PHARMACEUTICAL SUPPLY CHAIN
On 17th June, Loadstar reported that IBM and Walmart have been selected for a US government programme to develop a track and trace system for domestic pharmaceutical shipments using blockchain. With KPMG and Merck, they were chosen by the FDA to participate in the pilot, scheduled for completion in Q4 of 2019. However, it also notes a report from Gartner Research suggests blockchain has fallen short of its potential so far, with some 90% of supply chain blockchain projects remaining proof-of-concept.
ISLE OF MAN PUBLISHES RESULT OF CONSULTATION ON MEDICINAL CANNABIS AND GROWING INDUSTRIAL HEMP
On 17th June, a news release advising of reports on these 2 issues after a 6-week consultation period which closed on 20th March. It says that the number of responses to both was extremely high, with many respondents leaving additional comments and opinions as well answering the tick-box part of the online form. The consultation into the medicinal use of cannabis garnered the largest number of responses. By far the clearest result was where a majority of respondents (97%) supported the introduction of a regulatory framework within which industrial hemp production could be permitted in the Isle of Man. There also appeared to be broad support on the issue of making quality-assured medicinal cannabis available.
GERMAN PROSECUTORS FILE CHARGES AGAINST 2 BRITISH BANKERS OVER SHAM TRADES
On 17th June, Reuters reported that German prosecutors have filed criminal charges against 2 British bankers, accusing the pair of involvement in a fraud that cost the state €440 million. They had been accused of involvement in fraudulent reclaims between 2006 and 2011 in the so-called “cum-ex” fraud case, which involved trading company shares rapidly around a syndicate of banks, investors and hedge funds to create the impression of numerous owners, each of whom was entitled to a tax rebate.
BAHAMAS: 24 ARRESTED IN DRUG, ARMS TRAFFICKING RAID
On 17th June, OCCRP reported that police in the Bahamas have announced the arrest of 24 drug and arms traffickers as part of a joint operation with US law enforcement. They also seized a few pounds of cocaine, cartons of ammunition, and other evidence they believe might be related to organised crime on the island of Bimini. 6 of the 24 suspects were charged with firearm-related crimes.
SEC FINES KPMG IN THE US FOR ALTERING INFORMATION AND TRAINING CHEATING
The SEC had charged KPMG LLP with altering past audit work after receiving stolen information about inspections of the firm that would be conducted by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB). The SEC’s order also finds that numerous KPMG audit professionals cheated on internal training exams by improperly sharing answers and manipulating test results. KPMG agreed to settle the charges by paying a $50 million penalty and complying with a detailed set of undertakings, including retaining an independent consultant to review and assess the firm’s ethics and integrity controls and its compliance with various undertakings.
ONLY A TOTAL BAN ON SECONDARY SALES CAN STAMP OUT MUSIC AND SPORTS TICKET FRAUD
On 16th June, an article on Illicit Trade reported a fraud awareness campaign launched in the UK by Action Fraud designed to encourage members of the public to only buy event tickets from authorised sellers. It revealed that it had received 4,755 reports of ticket fraud in the 13 months to the end of April this year, noting that victims across the UK lost £1,654,888 to scammers over that period. Meanwhile, last September a report said that around 12% of Americans said they had bought a concert ticket online that later turned out to be fake.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE WTO HAVE TO PLAY IN FIGHTING CORRUPTION?
A blog post on 17th June from the FCPA Blog asking what has been done to fight corruption, particularly by international organisations like the World Trade Organization (WTO), whose role is regulating international trade. It refers to an article by the author of the post published by the Journal of World Trade, in which she says she shows that the WTO has increasingly adopted a more clear-cut approach to this problem and finally took an open stand regarding the relationship of anti-corruption measures and trade in its dispute settlement system – tracing this back to 2012. In 2013, she says, member state members signed the multilateral Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) with the purpose of reducing bureaucratic border red tape that increase opportunities for corruption. A decision of its Appellate Body in 2016 admitted that combating money laundering (as one of the many manifestations of corruption) is a vital interest for society and may run contrary to trade liberalisation – in other words, anti-corruption measures may be justified under WTO law if they restrict trade. However, she says that the WTO must take additional measures to fight corruption in international trade.
THE HEAD OF ALGERIAN PARTNER OF VW HELD OVER GRAFT ALLEGATIONS
Middle East Monitor on 17th June reported that an Algerian court has ordered the detention of Mourad Eulmi, head of family-owned firm SOVAC that is a partner of Germany’s Volkswagen AG, on suspicion of corruption – part of a series of anti-graft investigations undertaken since mass protests erupted early this year. A former head of state bank Credit Populaire d’Algerie (CPA)and 4 officials from the industry ministry were also ordered taken into custody by the same court in connection with the case, it reported.
DANISH POLICE RAID LOCAL NORDEA HEADQUARTERS AS MONEY LAUNDERING PROBE EXPANDS
Zero Hedge on 17th June reported on the recent police raid on Nordea’s Danish headquarters as part of an ongoing money laundering investigation. The raid appears to be tied to the Danske Bank investigation.
THE UK INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT, SAFEGUARDS AND BULK INFORMATION POWERS
On 17th June, the Home Office blog posted an article which gives more information on the Act, the safeguards it created and the way investigatory powers are used – in particular in relation to “bulk powers”, where the Act provides for the use of interception, communications data and equipment interference in bulk. These can be used to obtain large volumes of data that are likely to include communications relating to terrorists or serious criminals.
SWEDEN REVOKES ONLINE GAMBLING LICENCE FOR AML AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY FAILINGS
On 17th June, Calvin Ayre reported that Spelinspektionen has announced that it had ordered the immediate revocation of the online casino and sports betting licences of SafeEnt Ltd, a subsidiary of Sweden-based Global Gaming, after the regulator found the company’s social responsibility and AML measures to be inadequate.
GERMANY HAS LAUNCHED NEW CAMPAIGN AGAINST ONLINE CASINO PAYMENT PROCESSORS
Calvin Ayre on 17th June reported that Germany has launched a new campaign against online casino payment processors following the approval of a new temporary federal gambling treaty. The Lower Saxony state government had informed an unidentified international payment processor to immediately suspend its relationships with internationally-licensed online casino operators targeting German customers, saying that it expected payment service providers to observe the federal gambling treaty’s requirement to refrain from payments in connection with unauthorised gambling. While Lower Saxony is only one of Germany’s 16 states, its responsibility for online gambling payment processing extends across the country. The new treaty extended its ‘toleration’ of online sports betting while confirming the current ban on online casino, poker and ‘secondary lottery’ betting – despite Schleswig-Holstein recently renewing its online gambling licences.
COLOMBIAN AUTHORITIES SEIZE OVER 19 TONNES OF COCAINE DESTINED FOR THE EU
On 17th June, a news release from Europol reported that Colombia and Europol co-led operation Tayrona, a transnational operation targeting the trafficking of cocaine and firearms between the Americas and the EU in March to June. As well as 140 shipments of cocaine, more than 3 000 firearms were traced, 133 firearms seized, over 14 600 cartridges of ammunition, parts and components of weapons, several rocket launchers and hand grenades were seized.
US PRIVACY SHIELD AND THE UK FAQ
The US Department of Commerce has updated its guidance on the EU-US Privacy Shield. It outlined whether a participant can rely on the Privacy Shield to receive personal data from the UK in light of the UK’s planned withdrawal from the EU.
UAE’S SECRET HACKING TEAM OF US MERCENARIES
On 30th January, Reuters published a special report on Project Raven – a clandestine team that included more than a dozen former U.S. intelligence operatives recruited to help the United Arab Emirates engage in surveillance of other governments, militants and human rights activists critical of the monarchy. It says that the story of Project Raven reveals how former US government hackers have employed state-of-the-art cyber-espionage tools on behalf of a foreign intelligence service that spies on human rights activists, journalists and political rivals.