Still having problems, and still on the laptop…hope to be back to what passes for normal ASAP…

29 June 2019

UK oil and gas industry warned to know commodity codes or risk damage from no-deal Brexit 

Oilfield Technology on 26b June reported that an oil and gas logistics expert has warned UK businesses to ensure they know the commodity codes for goods they trade with the EU now or risk damaging consequences from a no-deal Brexit. Companies currently did not need to quote commodity codes to HMRC for goods traded with the EU, as the UK was part of its customs union. However, that would change if the UK left the bloc without a withdrawal agreement, which could happen as soon as 31 October.


On 24 June, an article on Just Security in the US says that the Court’s decision could provide guidance for other EU Member States and the US on how to view their own weapons sales to partner nations.  It argues that the Court ruled that, in essence, in making decisions on arms sales, the UK Government could no longer ignore uncomfortable facts. It points out that Criterion 2(c) of the UK Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria — derived from a 2008 EU Common Position on military exports, which is binding on EU States — requires the government to refuse an export license where there is a “clear risk” that the military materiel to be exported “might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law”.

Meanwhile, a report from SIPRI on 28 June published a background article looks at the UK decision, its background and potential implications. 

Quebec lobbying firm may have broken Sudan sanctions with deal ‘striving’ to supply equipment for military

On 28 June, the Globe & Mail in Canada reported that a Montreal lobbying firm working for a “notorious” Sudanese military leader to procure equipment for that country’s armed forces could fall foul of Canadian sanctions, as well as new arms brokering controls that come into effect in September, experts say.  Dickens & Madson (Canada) Inc is headed by Ari Ben-Menashe, a former Israeli intelligence officer whose firm has previously served as a paid lobbyist for Robert Mugabe and powerful Libyan militia leader Khalifa Haftar. The newspaper says that the firm’s contract with Sudan was signed with General Dagalo, the deputy leader of Sudan’s military council.


On 28 June, various outlets reported that 2 people had been charged in Florida with orchestrating a massive arms smuggling scheme involving thousands of weapons and parts to send to South America.  Authorities seized 5,300 firearms and components, including many powerful AR15 rifles. More than 2 dozen people have been arrested in Argentina, Brazil and the US. In addition to the rifles and parts, authorities seized 156 handguns, 30,000 rounds of ammunition, 167 explosive grenades, 15 silencers and $100,000 in cash. 

Taiwan: Peer review shows lowest risk of money laundering

In its 30 June edition, the Taipei Times reported that, following an assessment by members of the Asia/Pacific Group on Money Laundering (APG), the group has promoted Taiwan from “enhanced follow-up” to “regular follow-up,” indicating the lowest risk of money laundering, the group said in a report.  Taiwan made it onto the “regular follow-up” list after achieving “substantial” marks on 7 of 11 factors used to measure a nation’s effectiveness in fighting money laundering. A final report on the third-round peer review is to be presented for membership approval at the APG annual meeting in Canberra on August.  Taiwan was placed on the “regular follow-up” list in 2007 and was demoted to the “enhanced follow-up” list by the APG in 2011, before being placed on the “transitional follow-up list” in 2014. It was removed from the transitional list in July 2017, pending the results of the current evaluation.

Canadian firm named in pig-drug scandal may be victim of fraud

The Montreal Gazette on 28 June reported that Frigo Royal, previously named as the company that had sent contaminated pork to China may have been itself a victim of a fraud.  It says that Canada was first notified by China on June 14 that a pork shipment contained traces of ractopamine, a feed additive banned in the Asian nation. At the time, the Canadian Pork Council said the meat came from Frigo Royal. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency later discovered the export certificate was fake, leading to a blanket ban on all Canadian meat by China and questions about the pork’s origin.   Canada is hoping to resume meat exports to China even as the official investigation continues into the forged documents that triggered the ban.

Russia & China agree to significantly boost trade in ruble and yuan at the expense of the US dollar

Customs Today on 29 June reported that Moscow and Beijing have inked an intergovernmental agreement to switch to national currencies in bilateral trade and boost cross-currency settlements up to 50% as they ramp up efforts to move away from the US dollar.  The 2 countries will have to develop ruble and yuan financial instruments to boost cross-currency trade and mitigate risks of exchange rate fluctuations.

When Do Directors Owe Their Duties to a Company’s Creditors Rather Than Its Shareholders?

Conyers has published a briefing about a recent Court of Appeal case in which an otherwise lawful dividend may still be found to be a transaction defrauding creditors.  In addition, the Court of Appeal ruled that, whilst the duty to act in the interests of creditors is engaged at a point when the company’s circumstances fall short of actual, established insolvency, there however needs to be more than “a real, as opposed to remote, risk of insolvency” for the duty to be engaged.

World Drug Report 2019: 35 million people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders while only 1 in 7 people receive treatment

On 26 June, the UN Office for Drugs and Crime reported the publication of the report which says that improved research and more precise data have revealed that the adverse health consequences of drug use are more severe and widespread than previously thought. It says that Fentanyl and its analogues remain the key problem of the synthetic opioid crisis in North America, but West and Central and North Africa are experiencing a crisis of another synthetic opioid, tramadol. Global seizures of tramadol jumped from less than 10 kg in 2010 to almost 9 tons in 2013 and reached a record high of 125 tons in 2017.  The Report shows that an area where the international community has had a degree of success is in addressing new psychoactive substances (NPS), evidenced by a decline in the number of NPS identified and reported for the first time to UNODC.

In Syria, Russia found the chance to showcase its swagger–and its robot weapons

An article in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists on 28 June said that one of the goals of Russian intervention was to make money. Specifically, by selling some of the military hardware Russia was showcasing in Syria. It turns out that weaponry includes next-generation robotic systems, some which can operate autonomously. Russian arms makers showed off some of these military technologies in June at a major arms convention in Moscow. However, even if Russian arms makers and the government are touting experience in Syria as a selling point for robotic weaponry, the country’s arms exports may actually be falling, the article says.

Eversheds Sutherland response to UK Jurisdiction Taskforce consultation on cryptoassets, distributed ledger technology and smart contracts

On 28 June, the law firm published its evidence submitted to Parliament regarding the promotion of blockchain and cryptoasset technologies in the United Kingdom.  In May, the UK Jurisdiction Taskforce published a consultation paper to identify key issues of legal uncertainty regarding cryptoassets, DLT and smart contracts with the aim of providing clarity in this area of law through the means of a legal statement.  The consultation ran to 21 June. The UKJT is one of the 6 task forces of the LawTech Delivery Panel. Its objective is to demonstrate that English law and the jurisdiction of England and Wales together provide a state-of-the-art foundation for the development of DLT, smart contracts and associated technologies.  The consultation sought input from stakeholders on the principal issues of perceived legal uncertainty about the status of cryptoassets and smart contracts under English private law, to inform what should be addressed in the legal statement.

Luxembourg isn’t a tax haven anymore

On 27 June, an article from law firm Eversheds Sutherland contained a statement by the Director of the Centre for Tax Policy and Administration of the OECD that Luxembourg fully respects the rules and is not dragging its feet, described as a welcome acknowledgement of the efforts of Luxembourg to ensure that it no longer bears the characteristics of a tax haven.

Dentons’ Taking Security Guide

On 28 June, Dentons published its Taking Security Guide which offers a clear, practical Q&A style overview of the requirements and regulations on taking security in more than 30 countries across the globe.  This Guide is intended to be an overview only and it does not serve as exhaustive advice on taking security in the jurisdictions covered.


The Tynwald Library in the Isle of Man has published a list of the recent Acts to be promulgated at the open air sitting of Tynwald on the national day of 5 July.  Each Act of Tynwald must be promulgated on Tynwald Hill within 18 months of enactment or it ceases to have effect.



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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