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28 June 2019

Amount of Nuclear Material under IAEA Safeguards Continues to Increase

On 25 June, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced the publication of its Safeguards Statement for 2018.  The IAEA seeks to verify that States around the world use nuclear material solely for peaceful purposes. It does this by applying technical measures, known as safeguards. Each year, the IAEA reports to its Board of Governors on its findings and conclusions through the Safeguards Implementation Report. This forms the basis of the Safeguards Statement.  The year also saw an increase of the number of nuclear facilities and locations outside facilities at which safeguards inspectors conduct verification activities, reaching a total of 1,314 worldwide. Since 2010, the amount of nuclear material under safeguards has increased by 24%.

IAEA Conference on the Management of Spent Fuel from Nuclear Power Reactors 

On 24 June, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced the start of this conference where over 300 professionals, regulators and policy makers in the field of spent fuel management are meeting in Vienna. It explains that management of spent fuel is a complex undertaking, involving storage, transportation, possibly recycling, and disposal. Countries operating nuclear power programmes either reprocess and recycle their spent fuel, or they condition it for disposal in deep underground repositories.

Pharmacists ask Home Office for guidance on THC levels in cannabidiol oil

On 28 June, the Pharmaceutical Journal reported that confusion around the legal threshold for tetrahydrocannabidol (THC) in cannabidiol oil has led the Royal Pharmaceutical Society to request “clear guidance” on the matter.  It has written to the home secretary calling for “clear guidance” on the permissable level of psychoactive tetrahydrocannabidol (THC) in cannabidiol (CBD) oils. A recent report found that almost half of the commercially-available CBD oil it tested contained detectable amounts of THC, making them “technically illegal within the UK” – 45% of products tested had “measurable levels of THC”, with a mean content 0.04%.  CBD is not psychoactive and so is not a controlled substance. It may be sold through retail outlets as long as no medical claims are made for a product. 

The report can be found at –

OFAC Sanctions Nicolas Maduro’s Son for Serving in Venezuela’s Government 

On 28 June, the US Treasury announced that it has targeted Nicolas “Nicolasito” Ernesto Maduro Guerra (Maduro Guerra) for being a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela.

Advisory on Widespread Public Corruption  in Venezuela

On 3 May, OFAC issued an updated Advisory  to alert financial institutions of continuing widespread public corruption in Venezuela under the regime of Nicolas Maduro, which the U.S. Government considers illegitimate.   It also alerts financial institutions to additional methods utilized by corrupt Venezuelan senior political figures (and their associates, family members, and front persons) to move and hide corruption proceeds.

Financier Bill Browder Plays the Long Game to Expose Russian Money Laundering

On 28 June, the Wall Street Journal carried an interview with Browder, who has asked prosecutors across Europe to open criminal investigations into suspicious transactions linked to the death of Sergei Magnitsky, who died in 2009 while in Russian custody after he was detained on charges related to the tax fraud he uncovered.  In several cases, however, prosecutors have rejected his requests. Browder described his focus on criminal investigations as a first step in his long-term plan to push for legal action against bank executives whose companies have laundered money linked to the Magnitsky cases.

Not Every FCPA Declination Must Be Public

The Wall Street Journal reported on 28 June that the US DoJ does not always publicise its decision to drop the prosecution of a company that may have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  In circumstances where the conduct and its financial impact are minor, the decision not to prosecute may be kept under wraps. See the speech containing this information at –

US Charges Former and Current Venezuelan Electricity Officials

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the US DoJ is to prosecute Luis Alfredo Motta Dominguez, a former minister of electric power, and Eustiquio Jose Lugo Gomez, a former government procurement official, with laundering the proceeds of a bribery scheme involving Venezuela’s state-owned electricity company, Corporación Eléctrica Nacional SA, or Corpoelec.  They have also been listed by OFAC.

European Commission study on taxes in the field of aviation and their impact

An article from CMS Law reports that the European Commission ordered a study of taxes imposed in the EU and selected non-EU countries. The study contains an inventory of taxes in the air transport sector and an assessment of their economic and environmental impacts.  The report concluded that, in general, new taxes or an increase in existing taxes would have a negative impact on the air transport sector in terms of direct employment or direct value-added, but at the level of each Member State the impact on overall employment, fiscal revenue and GDP would be negligible. New or increased taxes would lead to a reduction in passengers and flights and therefore limit the negative impacts on the environment. However, it says, these straightforward conclusions must be tempered by the differences between the national taxation regimes and the various priorities given to the sector by Member States.

Reporting requirements under German Anti-money laundering law 

An article from Park Wirtschaftstrafrecht examines the requirements to submit SAR in Germany, and the consequences of non-reporting.

Modern slavery: UK directors can be personally liable for employee exploitation

An article from Allen & Overy on 25 June said that the High Court has held a company’s officers personally, jointly and severally liable to its employees as victims of modern slavery. The officers had deliberately and systematically utilised coercive, threatening and punitive financial measures to exploit the company’s employees and force them to live and work in abysmal conditions. This breached the officers’ duties to act in the company’s best interests and induced it to breach its contractual and statutory obligations to the claimant employees.  The article says that the decision illustrates that company officers may be held personally liable for modern slavery and also clarifies the law on a director’s liability for inducing a company’s breach of contract.

Origin Fraud – when “Made in Vietnam” is not made in Vietnam

An article from K&L Gates on 27 June says that, in the face of actual or potential US tariffs, companies in China have been busy trying to diversify their manufacturing operations or realign their supply chains for goods destined for the United States. It says that Vietnam remains a favoured production location for companies looking outside of China. Unfortunately, some companies have tried to take a “short cut”, importing China-origin goods into Vietnam and relabeling them as “Made in Vietnam”, so as to avoid additional US import duties. It says that other countries, such as Malaysia, Cambodia, and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, have also been identified as possible conduit countries for fraudulent origin labelling.  It is said that Vietnam Customs is aware of this problem and has increased its enforcement actions. It says that mislabeling the country of origin is illegal in the country of import as well as the country of export; and goods of this nature transiting or transshipping through third countries may also contravene the customs laws of those countries.–when-made-in-vietnam-is-not-made-in-vietnam-06-25-2019/

US adds 5 recently developed or developing technologies to the Export Administration Regulations’ Commerce Control List (CCL) that are essential to US national security

An article from Arent Fox on 28 June said that in May the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) had amended 4 export control classification numbers (ECCN) and added a new one.  The 5 additions implemented changes made to the Wassenaar Arrangement List of Dual-use Goods and Technologies and are said to be essential to US national security.. The article reviews the new additions.

Malta to Launch New Agency to Fight Financial Crime

On 28 June, KYC 360 reported that Maltese Finance Minister Edward Scicluna has disclosed plans to create a new governmental agency tasked with increasing money laundering prosecutions in the country.  The structure of the proposed investigatory body has yet to be determined.

China Quietly Defies US Sanctions on Iran

On 28 June, KYC 360 reported claims by the FT that satellite imagery and other data show that the government of China has continued to purchase Iranian crude oil.  The FT says that the government of China received its first delivery of Iranian oil when a Suezmax tanker docked in Jianzhou Bay.  Another Iranian supertanker is expected to deliver as much as 2-million barrels of oil to the Chinese province of Tianjin before the end of the month, according to the report.

Montenegro – widely condemned law does not deserve a second chance

Transparency International on 26 June reported on what is calls unconstitutional amendments to the Law on Classified Information in Montenegro, which would undermine the country’s freedom of information laws and anti-corruption efforts. The draft law was already withdrawn once by the government in March this year, after a coalition of 25 Montenegrin NGO opposed it.  The proposed law would allow the government to declare information classified if its disclosure would affect the ability of a government body to function. It would also remove controls over the manner in which state bodies declare information classified. It also reports that the European Commission said that Montenegro should reverse the growing trend of public institutions declaring information classified as a matter of priority, as it prevents effective oversight by civil society.

African oligarchs and their global networks of corruption

An article from the African Investigative Publishing Collective and ZAM on 26 June says that what all countries that have been investigated have in common is that corruption is not a simple crime committed by individual rotten apples, but by oligarchs with international connections.  The article says that a transnational investigation has been all about middlemen – international businesspeople, bankers, accountants, lawyers and sometimes even diplomats, who are “connected to the very top”.  An investigation over 9 months in different African countries show that African oligarchs from Mozambique and Mali to Liberia and Kenya are assisted by such international and local business connectors in joint efforts to make money from natural resource wealth and state budgets.

Morocco’s surging trade in fossils

ENACT Africa on 7 June published an article asking how do Morocco’s rare fossils end up in auctions and collections as far afield as Paris or Mexico City?  The Atlas mountain range contains large quantities of fossils.  Traditionally, local populations have exploited these resources, selling ancient fossils to tourists and collectors.  Since the 2000s, however, this activity has transformed into a structured and lucrative business, though the export of ‘objects of anthological or archaeological interest’ is prohibited by law.


On 28 June, the Isle of Man published a document  that sets out the Government’s position in relation to a recent announcement regarding public beneficial ownership registers.  The document is said to provide helpful background information and clarifies the commitments made.


EU Regulation 2019/1103/EU has followed the lead of the UN and removed 17 entities from its Iraq sanctions lists.

India: IMA “Ponzi scam” – the unravelling of an investment fraud

The Hindu in its 29 June edition said that when the Bengaluru-based IMA Group of Companies wound up its operations, it not only left thousands of investors in the lurch but also raised questions on political patronage to Ponzi schemes that are being run in the name of Islamic banking.  It is about the IMA Group of Companies and its founder and managing director, Mohammed Mansoor Khan. It says that Mansoor was involved in the real estate, jewellery, healthcare and education sectors and fashioned his company as a ‘halal trading firm’, allegedly with the blessings of local political and religious leaders. His modus operandi was similar to that of a Ponzi scam where customers were lured by high dividends.

New York man charged by US authorities boasted of generating returns of 362% in fewer than 5 years by day-trading Standard & Poor’s 500 futures contracts 

CNBC on 28 June reported that Paul Rinfret has been charged with defrauding investors out of more than $19 million and spending much of it on luxuries.  The DoJ charged Paul Rinfret with securities fraud and wire fraud, while the SEC filed civil charges against the 70-year-old.

IMF urges Latvia to push on with fight against money laundering

Reuters on 28 June reported that the IMF has urged Latvia to maintain momentum in its fight against money-laundering as the Baltic nation tries to restore its reputation after recent scandals involving the financial sector.  The country’s third largest bank ABLV was shut down last year. Stung by international criticism, the government has launched an effort to clean up the financial sector ahead of an upcoming review by Moneyval.  Earlier this month, the Latvian parliament boosted powers of its banking regulator in combating money laundering and terrorism financing.

Unenforced judgments costing companies millions

On 28 June, the Law Society Gazette reported that, in a survey of more than 500 financiers in the UK, US and Canada, 78% of respondents said their companies are owed at least $10 million by judgment debtors, while half said their companies are owed $20 million or more.  The research also found that legal costs are deterring businesses from entering disputes in the first place. Over 60% of respondents said their companies had avoided court action because of legal expenses.

UK information watchdog raids Liverpool offices over data sales to PI firms

The Law Society Gazette on 28 June reported that the ICO had searched 2 Liverpool addresses as part of a probe into personal data sold to solicitors.  the business targeted was suspected of carrying out high volumes of data-farming activity, known as blagging or vishing. It is alleged that motor accident victim data has been illegally obtained since 2017, with the details sold to solicitors for personal injury claims.

National Audit Office report on Serious and Organised Crime 

In the UK, the NAO has published a report saying that the challenges in tackling serious and organised crime are formidable. There are more than 4,500 identified UK organised crime groups operating in changing and often unpredictable ways. The government estimated that the annual social and economic cost of serious and organised crime was £37 billion in 2015-16. The government published its serious and organised crime strategy in 2013 and revised it in 2018.  The NAO examined the government’s strategic response to serious and organised crime, and the extent that the enablers to successful implementation of the 2018 strategy have been put in place. We examined the work of the Home Office and the NCA, who together oversee and co-ordinate the government’s response. The report does not look in detail at how other government bodies are set up to contribute. It says that serious and organised crime is evolving at a rapid rate, as criminal networks identify new vulnerabilities and adapt their activity in response to law enforcement action and the opportunities offered by new technology.  It says that there remain some significant and avoidable shortcomings that may prevent government and its partners from meeting its aim to “rid our society of the harms of serious and organised crime”.


On 28 June, Calvin Ayre reported that UK-based William Hill has told clients in Switzerland that all ante-post wagers will be voided and they will no longer accept bets from the country as of mid-day on June 28.  The reasons provided for canceling the wagers was due to “regulatory reasons”, but the company does not state specifically what regulations forced the decision.

The Curious Case of Dr. K and Mr Chrysostomides

On 28 June, OCCRP published an article about Kypros Chrysostomides, one of Cyprus’s most elite lawyers.  But to Paul Manafort, he was known as “Dr. K.,” the fix-it man, who set up more than a dozen shell companies in Cyprus for Manafort and Manafort’s former associate Rick Gates. Through those companies, the American lobbyists received payments for political consultancy work in Ukraine.

Switzerland to Tighten its AML Rules

An article from OCCRP on 28 June reported that  Switzerland plans to tighten its AML regulations and bring them in line with international standards. The Parliament will review the proposals later this year, and if passed they will come into effect in 2021.

Nearly $140,000 Worth Of Tyres From China Seized By Customs Officers In Philadelphia

CBS in Philadelphia on 28 June reported that a total of 3,942 tyres were seized in Philadelphia earlier in June.  Valued at nearly $140,000, they violated federal motor vehicle safety standards and regulations.  Described as trailer or mobile home tires, they were headed to a business in Pennsylvania.

UK Supreme Court clarifies the rules for establishing anchor defendant

On 28 June, Ince & Co published an article about a recent decision allowing proceedings against a UK-based “anchor defendant”, so also securing jurisdiction in England against the overseas defendant.  In the case, 1,826 Zambian citizens living in close proximity to a mine, alleged that discharge from the mine polluted the local waterways, caused personal injury, and damaged property, leading to loss of income. The claim was brought in both negligence and for breach of Zambian environmental law.  The article says that the Supreme Court’s decision is out of the ordinary in that it bucks the trend of refusing jurisdiction in cases where anchor defendants are sued in respect of claims against overseas subsidiaries. In doing so, the Supreme Court has emphasised four key factors, which the article details.


On 28 June, Buckley carried an article about the case of  Ukrainian billionaire Dmitry Firtash. The decision of the court allowed several criminal charges –– including one count of aiding and abetting an FCPA violation –– to proceed.  Shortly after, the Austrian supreme court allowed his extradition to the US.

US: CEO and director of investment firm convicted of conspiracy to bribe Haitian officials

On 28 June, Buckley reported that the CEO of investment firm Haiti Invest LLC and one of its directors had been convicted.  The plan was to bribe Haitian officials “at all levels of government” in order to obtain governmental approval of a proposed $84 million project to develop a port in north-western Haiti.  To conceal the bribes, the defendants allegedly said that they would funnel the agents’ funds through a US-based non-profit organisation that one of them controlled, which purported to sponsor social programmes for Haitian residents.

Isle of Man “Fit and Proper” Assessments – updated documents from 1 July 

On 28 June, the FSA in the Isle of Man published updated its fitness and propriety guidance documents, saying that this was relevant to all persons that are licensed, authorised or registered under the Financial Services Act 2008, Insurance Act 2008, Retirement Benefits Schemes Act 2000 or that have responsibility for collective investment schemes under the Collective Investment Schemes Act 2008.

Canadian sanctions amended in relation to Nicaragua Ukraine Venezuela and Yemen

Dentons on 28 June published an article saying that, in co-ordination with the United States and the United Nations, and in light of recent developments in Nicaragua, Venezuela, Yemen and Ukraine, Canada recently amended its sanctions related to these countries.  The article details the changes made.  It also reminds Canadian exporters that Canada imposes sanctions on a number of other countries, including the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Myanmar, North Korea, Russia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria and Zimbabwe.


On 28 June, the UN advised that 13 further entities had been removed from the lisy of those subject to sanctions concerning Iraq.

Europol seized 15 million eels from criminal smuggling gangs last year

Illicit Trade on 28 June reported that 15 million endangered eels were seized from traffickers by Europol last year, the EU’s law enforcement agency has revealed, and that  it had arrested 153 eel smugglers over the past 12 months, which was up 50% on the previous year. Most of the arrests were made in Spain, France and Portugal. It is estimated that eels worth an estimated €3 billion are smuggled every year.

German chemical company Brenntag defends its Syria deliveries

On 26 June, the BBC reported that German chemical wholesaler, Brenntag, has denied circumventing EU export rules on restricted chemicals, some of which were delivered to Syria in 2014.  A Swiss subsidiary of Brenntag supplied isopropanol and diethylamine to Syria. They can be used in pharmaceuticals, but can also be used to make the nerve agents Sarin and VX.  Brenntag says the deliveries also complied with Swiss law.

Ukraine: SBU powerful channel of illicit firearms trafficking

On 25 June, the Security Service of Ukraine reported that it had blocked the unlawful activities of the organised crime group, which established a mechanism for the illicit manufacture and sale of firearms and ammunition in the country. The offenders smuggled from Western European countries parts for firearms through the checkpoints of one of the western regions of Ukraine. Then in the specially equipped workshops the combat weapons were manufactured from the parts.  Law enforcement officers seized sub-machine gun, 11 Glock, CZ, Walther, Heckler & Koch pistols, over a thousand of rounds and parts kits sets for manufacturing of pistols.

Rules of Origin Key to Success of African Continental Free Trade Area

An article from UNCTAD, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, says that rules of origin – the criteria needed to determine the nationality of a product – could make or break the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that entered into force in May,  A new report notes that rules of origin could be a game changer for the continent as long as they are simple, transparent, business friendly and predictable. Currently intra-African trade is a mere 15%, compared to around 47% in America, 61% in Asia and 67% in Europe, according to UNCTAD data for 2015 to 2017, but the AfCFTA could radically change that.

The report: “Economic Development in Africa  Report 2019: Made in Africa – Rules of Origin for Enhanced Intra-African Trade”, is available at –

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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