Apologies, still unedited and a bit patchy, as still away…

25 June 2019

North Korea, Syria agree to fight sanctions with more economic co-operation 

NK News on 25 June reported on  an MoU signed in Pyongyang following a meeting agreeing to form consultative political committee and to boost economic co-operation in order to counter the effects of international sanctions on both of their countries, the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) reported.

Chinese bank involved in violating North Korean sanctions risks losing access to US financial system

A Washington Post story, reported by Arirang on 25 June, claims that 3 Chinese banks have been found in contempt by a US court for refusing to comply with subpoenas in a probe into North Korean sanctions violations – and for the very first time, one of China’s largest banks could be prohibited from accessing the US financial system.  The Washington Post report said, the situation is most precarious for the latter of the 3 banks, though all of them are accused of laundering over $100 million for the North’s state-run Foreign Trade Bank, which is under international sanctions. 


On 25 June, the UK Department for International Trade published Notice to Exporters 2019/09 saying that the judgment is not about whether the decisions themselves were right or wrong but whether the process used to reach these decisions was correct.  It says that the government disagrees with part of the judgment and is seeking permission to appeal – and is now carefully considering the implications of the judgment for decision-making.  However, the ECJU will not grant any new licences for exports to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners (UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Egypt) which might be used in the conflict in Yemen. Extant licences – i.e. those granted before this judgment – are not immediately affected, and exporters may continue to export under extant licences, but the government is required by the Court to reconsider the decisions made about those licences.  The ECJU has also stopped new registrations for 6 open general export licences (OGEL) – though exporters which have already registered their use may continue to use them to export to Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners, subject to the terms and conditions of the licences.

Azeri Banker’s Wife Accused of Role in Crime Group That Stole $97 Million     

KYC 360 on 25 June reported that attorneys for the government of Azerbaijan on Monday accused the wife of an imprisoned Azeri banker of knowingly spending £16 million in illicit funds at Harrods and other luxury retailers, and they are seeking Zamira Hajiyeva’s extradition.  Her husband, Jahangir Hajiyev, is serving a 15-year prison sentence in Azerbaijan for purportedly overseeing fraudulent applications for credit cards during his time as the bank’s chairman. She had been the subject of the first Unexplained Wealth Order from the NCA.          

France to try former IAAF boss Diack and his son for corruption

KYC 360 on 25 June reported that Lamine Diack, once one of the most influential men in Olympic sport, has been ordered to stand trial in France for his alleged role in a system of corruption, extortion and doping cover-ups during his reign at the top of athletics.  Diack was head of the IAAF for nearly 16 years. Also ordered to stand trial was one of Diack’s sons, Papa Massata Diack. He has emerged as a central figure in French judicial probes of suspected corruption involving the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games and other sports events.

Al-Qaeda Growing Stronger Under Taliban’s Umbrella

Homeland Security Today on 23 June reported that a a United Nations Security Council monitoring team has found that Al Qaeda “has grown stronger operating under the Taliban umbrella across Afghanistan and is more active than in recent years”.  It also says that Al Qaeda “members act as instructors and religious teachers for Taliban personnel and their family members.” And a “number of Al Qaeda activists have reportedly arrived in Afghanistan from Egypt”.

Germany to ban exports of side-arms to non-allies

On 25 June, EurActiv reported that Germany will ban exports of small side arms to most countries outside NATO and the European Union, government sources told Reuters.  A small number of traditional allies – Australia, New Zealand, Japan and Switzerland – will be exempt from the ban, the government’s latest attempt to implement the tightened arms export rules.

New report highlights greater diversity of cannabis products, increasing potency and the need for close monitoring of health effects 

On 25 June, a news release from the EU drugs agency, EMCDDA, advised that a new report was available saying that cannabis products have become increasingly diverse in Europe and close monitoring of their potency and potential health effects is essential.  The report provides an overview of emerging and established cannabis products in Europe. The creation of legal recreational cannabis markets outside the EU is also noted as driving innovation in the development of new cannabis products, some of which are now appearing on the European market.  New products include concentrates and edibles, as well as sythetics.

Owner of binary options firm Y Trading pleads guilty to fraud

Finance Feeds on 25 June reported that Yehuda Belsky, the owner of Brooklyn-based binary options firm Y Trading, LLC, has pleaded guilty to one count of securities fraud, one count of failure to register as a commodities trading advisor and one count of misappropriation of customer funds.  He faces up to 40 years in prison, restitution in the full amount of each victim’s losses, forfeiture of $800,000 and a fine of up to $5 million.


On 25 June, Jurist reported that Fedex is suing the US US Department of Commerce for what it says is the Department’s efforts to use its regulations to “essentially deputise FedEx to police the contents of the millions of packages it ships daily even though doing so is a virtually impossible task, logistically, economically, and in many cases, legally”.  It also said that the regulations place an enormous burden on FedEx and other common carriers to know exactly what is in each package and from whom it originates. FedEx ships more than 15 million packages daily, and he said it would be impossible to police every package. This case stems from controversy regarding FedEx’s handling of a package from Huawei.

Colombia Flooded with Black Market Cigarettes

Insight Crime on 25 June reported that Philip Morris has shut down its two factories in Colombia partly because of illegal cigarette sales, highlighting a spike in contraband cigarettes.  Black market cigarettes have surged in Colombia recently. Last year, illegal cigarettes accounted for 25% of the market, nearly double the amount in 2016.  A recent increase in the tax on cigarettes has made it difficult for legal manufactures to compete on price.

Dmytro Firtash: Who Is The Ukrainian Tycoon Wanted By The US On Bribery Charges?

Rferl carried 2 reports on 25 June.  One seeks to explain who he is – saying that Dmytro Firtash is a Ukrainian power-broker that the United States is seeking to put on trial, and built his massive fortune on opaque gas trading with a Kremlin-controlled company.  With reported ties to mobsters, owns a wide range of key Ukrainian assets, including about 70% of the nation’s gas distribution. The second article says that Austria’s Supreme Court has upheld a decision allowing a request by the United States to extradite Dmytro Firtash.


A news release on 25 June advised amendment of the entry relating to PAUL MALONG AWAN – Former Chief of Staff of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), and Former Governor, Northern Bahr el-Ghazal State.


On 24 June, the UN advised the removal of 17 entities and organisations from its Iraq sanctions list.

Author: raytodd2017

Chartered Legal Executive and former senior manager with Isle of Man Customs and Excise, where I was (amongst other things) Sanctions Officer (for UN/EU sanctions), Export Licensing Officer and Manager of the Legal-Library & Collectorate Support Section

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