27th July 2019
FEDEX ACCUSED BY CHINESE ON HUAWEI SHIPMENTS FAILURE
On 26th July, Loadstar reported that FedEx has defended itself against allegations by the Chinese government that it deliberately diverted packages destined for Huawei’s domestic offices, with the Chinese State Post Bureau refuting FedEx’s claims that “mishandling” caused a failure to deliver Huawei-marked packages. This followed follow an incident in June when Fedex returned a Huawei-marked package to its sender, with the company angering China in its attempts to avoid being prosecuted under new US regulations – the US Department of Commerce had included Huawei and its affiliates in the “list of entities” subject to export control by the US.
GUATEMALA AVOIDS TRUMP THREAT OF SANCTIONS WITH NEW TWO-YEAR MIGRATION DEAL
The Globe & Mail on 26th July reported that a so-called “safe third country” (if Guatemala can be described as such, by any stretch of the imagination, at least for the migrants involved) agreement would require migrants, including Salvadorans and Hondurans, who cross into Guatemala on their way to the US to apply for protections in Guatemala instead of at the US border. The 2 countries had been negotiating such an agreement for months, and Trump had threatened to place tariffs or other consequences on Guatemala if there was no deal.
INDIA: GOVERNMENT HAS DEREGISTERED 400,000 SHELL COMPANIES
The Times of India on 27th July reported the claim as a Bill was approved seeking to tighten corporate social responsibility norms, with companies not spending the mandatory 2% of profit on corporate social responsibility being required to deposit the equivalent amount in a special account.
US PROSECUTORS INDICT BTC-E CRYPTO EXCHANGE AND SEEK MILLIONS IN PENALTIES
The Coin Telegraph on 27th July reported that US prosecutors have filed a complaint against now-defunct crypto exchange BTC-e and its suspected operator, Alexander Vinnik – saying that it did not attempt to register with FinCEN, implement AML practices, or report suspicious activity generally. Vinnik is a Russian national who is currently imprisoned in Greece.
ROMANIA SAYS IT BLOCKED A RUSSIAN ARMS SHIPMENT TO SERBIA
Rferl on 26th July reported that Romania has announced it has blocked a Russian military shipment to Serbia earlier this month because of international sanctions against Moscow for its actions in Ukraine. It is said to have prevented the delivery of some 60 Russian second-hand tanks and armoured vehicles that were to be shipped from Russia via the Danube River to Serbia.
THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE US INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY’S BATTLE WITH IRAN’S REVOLUTIONARY GUARD
On 26th July, Yahoo News published a long article about the behind-the-scenes battle, revealed in a March 2018 indictment which alleged Iranians had, in a “massive, coordinated” hacking campaign, targeted hundreds of universities across the globe, including 144 based in the US, as well as private US and European companies, US federal agencies and state governments, and the UN. From at least 2013, these Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps-sponsored hackers tried to infiltrate about 50,000 academic email accounts in the US. Hackers allegedly stole $3.4 billion in intellectual property and academic data from US-based universities alone. In April, the Trump Administration designated the Revolutionary Guard as a foreign terrorist organisation — an unprecedented move against an arm of a government. The article then relates the history of the IRGC, from its formation following the 1979 revolution, and the intelligence activities – especially, but not exclusively, in obtaining technology related to the country’s nuclear programme.
SRI LANKA SAYS SOME ILLEGAL UK WASTE OFFLOADED TO INDIA AND DUBAI
Customs Today on 27th July reported that a Sri Lankan investigation into nearly 3,000 tonnes of illegally imported hazardous waste from the UK is said to have shown that some of it was sent on to India and Dubai – with the importer having reshipped about 180 tonnes of raw garbage to India and Dubai in 2017 and 2018. The customs department is said to have found that a local company imported 241 containers from Britain, out of which 15 had been sent to India and 2 to Dubai, and insists that the British authorities should not have allowed the export without first clearing with Sri Lankan authorities if they were willing to accept the untreated waste. The waste is said to have been mislabelled and imported as used mattresses, but contained bio and clinical waste in contravention of international laws on the transport of waste material.
SMALL NEW JERSEY BANK HANDLED $20 MILLION FOR COMPANY TIED TO VENEZUELAN LAUNDERING SCHEME
On 24th July, ACAMS reported how a small community bank in Newark, City National Bank, and an obscure mutual fund registered in the Cayman Islands, Global Securities Trade Finance, were linked. The bank, which lists only $155 million in assets and $150 million in liabilities, had a record of dubious accounts and handling questionable transactions – not just involving the fund – and is said to have positively targeted and/or accepted high-risk customers. It is also claimed that a compliance officer, and another employee who tried to file an SAR, were dismissed. In a civil case it was alleged that the bank’s CEO specifically instructed his staff to target highly susceptible money service business clients. Eventually, in February 2018, the federal regulator issued a cease-and-desist order barring City National from opening any new corporate or personal accounts “that the bank designates as medium-risk or higher”, then assessed the bank as “significantly undercapitalised” in November 2018. Federal prosecutors by that point had already subpoenaed all records associated with the group of money service businesses and portfolio of wealthy foreign clients served by City National.
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