30th August 2019
US FEDERAL JUDGES DENY MOTIONS BY CARNIVAL CRUISES TO DISMISS HELMS-BURTON LAWSUITS
Law.com on 29th August reported that the court declined to dismiss federal suits against the cruise line over its use of property expropriated by the Cuban government under the recently-implemented provisions of the Act.
6 COUNTRIES BLOCK UN SANCTIONS AGAINST SOMALIA’S AL-SHABAAB
Times Now News in India on 30th August reported that Germany, Belgium, Poland, France, Kuwait and the US were the 6 countries whose votes blocked the implementation of the new sanctions. It also says that several NGO and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs recently stepped in to oppose the classification, which would have effectively kept humanitarian aid away from millions of Somalis living in Al-Shabaab-controlled areas. Kenya has pushed for tightening sanctions against Al-Shabaab since late last year. Al-Shabaab already faces restrictions due to UN sanctions in respect of Somalia, but Kenya wanted it added to Al-Qaida etc under UN SCR 1267.
CANADA: BRITISH COLUMBIA WANTS RURAL PROPERTY LINKED TO HELICOPTER DRUGS SMUGGLING FORFEITED
On 29th August, the Vancouver Sun reported that the government says that a man should forfeit his property because he was allegedly involved in cross-border helicopter drug smuggling. The director of civil forfeiture filed a lawsuit earlier this month claiming Stephen Michael Michaelson was the pilot of a helicopter that tried to pick up a large load of methamphetamine in Washington State in June.
OVERHAUL OF THE SAR PROCESS PROMISED IN THE UK GOVERNMENT’S NEW ECONOMIC CRIME PLAN
An article from Linklaters on 22nd August says that the UK government’s Economic Crime Plan 2019-2022 published in July 2019 includes as a “key deliverable” a commitment to reform the SAR regime. The Plan puts forward proposals for reform of the regime to ensure it delivers more effective intelligence, using better technology and enhanced engagement with the private sector. For compliance, efficiency and possibly costs-saving purposes, it will be important for organisations to monitor this transformation carefully until full delivery in 2023/2024. The article looks at the current system and its shortcomings, and how it would be transformed under the Plan.
THOUSANDS OF UK CHARITIES TO BE HIT WITH A NEW LAYER OF AML REGULATION
KYC 360 on 30th August reported that thousands of charities could face increased administrative bureaucracy as part of the government’s new AML regulations Lucy Rhodes, associate at Bates Wells, has warned in an article in Charity Finance, as the 5th AML Directive could force all charitable trusts, irrespective of size, to register with the government’s new trust registration service (TRS).
LAST CHANCE TO HAVE A SAY ON HMRC CONSULTATION ON USE OF RED DIESEL IN PLEASURE CRAFT
On 29th August, the RYA reminded members that the consultation closes on 9th September. It is urging recreational boaters to respond to HMRC’s consultation on proposed changes to the rules for red diesel used in private pleasure craft as a result of the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union. The government intends to abolish the scheme introduced in 2008 that allowed users of diesel-powered private pleasure craft (e.g. yachts, canal boats and motorboats) to purchase red diesel and pay the duty differential between red and white diesel on the fuel used for propulsion.
The consultation document is at –
THE NEW HAGUE CONVENTION ON CIVIL AND COMMERCIAL JUDGMENTS
On 29th August, law firm HFW published a briefing which discusses the background to and the details of the new 2019 Hague Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters (aka the Hague Judgments Convention) – a new international convention aimed at making it easier to enforce court judgments across jurisdictions. It was concluded on 2nd July and is now open for signatures, and is described as a significant milestone in improving the international enforceability of commercial court judgments. It is said that it will become ‘an apex stone for global efforts to improve real and effective access to justice’ and that it will fill an ‘an important gap in the landscape of private international law’. As well as examining what the Convention is intended to do, and when it might come into effect, the article says that the Hague Judgments Convention could feasibly one day feature as part of the UK’s fundamental legal architecture in its relationship with the EU, in the event of a no-deal Brexit. However, the article says that the new Convention would only provide a minimum standard of circulation between the UK and the EU27 for certain future qualifying judgments, rather than providing any comprehensive alternative to the detailed EU Brussels Recast regime that will be discarded in a no-deal Brexit.
US EXPORT CONTROLS EASED FOR RADAR USED IN VEHICLES
On 30th August, Sandler Travis Rosenberg reported that the State Department has issued a final rule making 2 changes to Category XI on the US Munitions List. One excludes from the USML certain lower-performing radars, including in driver-assisted and self-driving ground vehicles and in detect-and-avoid systems for autonomous aerial systems.
GUERNSEY – EXEMPT BODIES: SUBSTANCE REGULATIONS MAY STILL APPLY
On 29th August, Ogier published an article concerned with changes made to the income tax economic substance regulations on 1st August which extends the regulations to certain tax-exempt bodies. Previously, all Guernsey companies that were tax-exempt bodies were out of scope of the Substance Regulations since they were not treated as tax resident in Guernsey.
SEC SHUTS DOWN $300 MILLION FRAUD IN SAN DIEGO
A release on Mondo Visione on 29th August advised that the SEC has announced it has filed charges and obtained a consented-to asset freeze against San Diego-based ANI Development LLC, its principal, Gina Champion-Cain, and a relief defendant, for operating a multi-year $300 million scheme that defrauded approximately 50 retail investors. The SEC alleges that from 2012 the defendants fraudulently raised hundreds of millions of dollars from investors by claiming to offer investors an opportunity to make short-term, high-interest loans to parties seeking to acquire California alcohol licenses. In truth, the SEC alleges, the investment opportunity was a sham.
IDENTITY GUIDE TO CERTAIN KALASHNIKOV RIFLES
TOP 5 PORTS IN NORTHERN EUROPE
On 28th August, Port Technology provided a rundown on the top 5 busiest ports in northern Europe – Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg, Bremerhaven, Felixstowe.
CLUSTER MUNITIONS BAN IS WORKING, SAYS HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH
On 30th August, a report on Ekklesia said that no state party to the 2008 treaty prohibiting cluster munitions has violated the prohibition on using these weapons, while very few outside the treaty engage in this banned activity either, Human Rights Watch said on the release of the Cluster Munition Monitor 2019 report.
US TECHNOLOGY COMPANY JUNIPER NETWORKS PAYS SEC $11.7 MILLION BRIBERY PENALTY
A post on the FCPA Blog on 29th August reported that Juniper Networks paid the SEC $11.7 million to settle FCPA offenses related to its sales practices in Russia and China. The technology company disgorged $4 million and paid a $6.5 million penalty to the SEC, plus pre-judgment interest of $1.3 million. In 2008-2013, sales employees of the Russian Juniper subsidiary, JNN Development Corp. (JNN), secretly agreed with third party partners to increase the discount on sales without passing those discounts on to customers.
US: OPERATION COOKOUT INDICTMENT CHARGES 39 DEFENDANTS IN HEROIN AND FENTANYL TRAFFICKING CONSPIRACY
On 29th August, a news release from the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement advised one about a a major arrest operation, resulting in 35 of defendants being arrested for their respective roles in a conspiracy to distribute and possess with intent to distribute large amounts of heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and cocaine base in Hampton Roads. Law enforcement seized 24 firearms, 30 kg of fentanyl, 30 kg of heroin, 5 kg of cocaine, and over $700,000 in cash during the 3-day takedown. The 39 co-conspirators are alleged to have been involved in a large-scale drug trafficking conspiracy that began in March 2016. The co-conspirators participated in various criminal acts throughout the alleged conspiracy, including armed drug distribution, while assuming and carrying out different roles such as a supplier, packager, transporter, financier, distributor, and facilitator throughout the life of the alleged drug trafficking ring. They are said to have purchased and received narcotics from suppliers in Mexico, California, and New York, and would arrange for heroin, fentanyl, cocaine, and cocaine base to be transported to and within the Eastern District of Virginia using hidden traps in privately owned vehicles, couriers, and semi-trailers, trucks, and recreational vehicles.
UK GOVERNMENT SPLASHES OUT £30 MILLION TO HELP PORTS, ROADS AND RAIL COPE WITH BREXIT
Loadstar on 30th August reported that Government grants to help ports prepare for a no-deal Brexit have been welcomed by operators, but the British Ports Association (BPA) claims only a trade deal with the EU will avoid disruption. The Department for Transport (DfT) announced that it had issued £30 million to be spent on upgrades to port infrastructure and road and rail links. The fund includes £10 million for a fund called the Port Infrastructure Resilience and Connectivity (PIRC) competition, with ports invited to bid for up to £1 million each. A further £15 million is to be spent on longer-term rail and road projects. A further £5 million has been set aside for 4 Local Resilience Forums (LRF): Essex, Hampshire and Isle of Wight, Holyhead, and Humber. The LRF s comprise emergency responders, councils and other public services in these areas with key freight ports.
CO-OPERATION WITH CHINA KEY TO SAVING AFRICA’S WILDLIFE
The ENACT Observer on 19th August published an article saying that leaders especially in West and Central Africa should work with China to combat the illicit wildlife trade. It says that where co-operation has occurred with certain African countries, wildlife smuggling has moved to other parts of the continent. This shows that tougher measures are working – and African countries with high rates of this crime should follow suit. Though China has taken action, including closing its domestic ivory market in 2017, some Chinese nationals continue to smuggle endangered species and lesser-known plant and animal products, and examples such as the recent sentencing in Tanzania of Yang Feng Glan to 15 years in prison for ivory smuggling demonstrate the need for wildlife protection campaigns. According to the OECD report, Nigerian, Togolese and Cameroonian ports have emerged as new hubs in the illicit ivory trade, while East and Southern Africa remain convenient for sourcing wildlife products illegally, transporting them to Central and West Africa remains viable. It is said that the networks operate collection centres in several countries and they accumulate the contraband before finally shipping it to Asia, especially China. China’s Wildlife Protection Law took effect on 1st January 2017 after amendments that aligned it with CITES.
HOW CORRUPTION IS FUELLING ILLEGAL MINING IN SENEGAL
On 22nd August, ENACT Africa carried an article saying that illegal mining in Senegal is seriously harming the country, not least through massive tax revenue losses and environmental degradation, and is leading to corruption both in government and the media. Poor governance in the mining sector has negatively affected many local communities in the region. Illegal mining has reportedly led to substantial profits for the Chinese-led groups.
US JAILS ISRAELI BINARY OPTIONS AGENT AND REALITY TV STAR
On 30th August, the Times of Israel reported that Lissa Mel had pleaded guilty to her role in a $145 million fraud, with Yukom CEO Lee Elbaz to be sentenced in December. Lissa Mel had been involved in websites BinaryBook.com and BigOption.com. She has also to pay restitution of $288, 024. She used the job descriptions of “senior broker”, “chief analyst” and “account manager”, as well as the alias of “Monica Sanders”. She is one of many ex-Yukom employees indicted in the US. She became a minor celebrity in Israel in 2008 after taking part in a reality TV show.
GREECE: NEW GOVERNMENT FORMS ANTI-CORRUPTION BODY
On 30th August, OCCRP reported that the 2-month-old Greek government of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has appointed Angelos Binis – a man with no political background – as the head of the newly created anti-graft body, the Transparency Authority.
LITHIUM RESERVES IN SERBIA AND ELSEWHERE IN EASTERN EUROPE?
On 30th August, Hellenic Shipping News carried an article about hopes of there being highly valuable lithium reserves in Serbia, as BloombergNEF estimates battery demand for lithium material will grow 8-fold over the next 11 years. Serbia’s estimated deposits are the largest in Europe and the insatiable appetite for batteries that power everything from iPhones to Tesla cars is prompting the likes of Rio Tinto Group to study the viability of mining it. The Czech Republic and Austria are also studying the potential of lithium mining. Romania is re-opening mines for rare earth minerals. And international companies are expanding battery production in the region, including Daimler AG and Johnson Matthey Plc in Poland. Serbian authorities are also advocating for the development of downstream activities, such as refining and battery production.
SEC AWARDS WHISTLEBLOWER $1.8 MILLION
A post on the FCPA Blog on 30th August reported a redacted order announcing that the SEC had awarded more than $1.8 million to a whistleblower who provided critically important information and assistance to an enforcement action involving overseas misconduct. By law, the SEC protects the confidentiality of whistleblowers and doesn’t disclose information that could reveal their identity.
‘IRELAND No.1 TAX HAVEN’ AS US GIANTS CASH $83 BILLION IN PROFITS
On 30th August, the Irish Independent carried an article saying that a fresh row over claims that Ireland is a tax haven is set to erupt after new figures show US multinational giants made €74 billion in profits here – a third of the total they enjoyed in the entire EU. The data came in the latest release from the US government’s Bureau of Economic Analysis annual report into the activities of American multinationals.
HOW TO SPOT A BOOTLEG CANNABIS VAPE CARTRIDGE
On 30th August, Rolling Stone magazine published an article and video saying that illicit cannabis cartridges are being blamed for a rash of severe lung illnesses across the US; and asking how do you know your vape cart isn’t counterfeit? In California, 7 people have been hospitalised since June with Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), and illnesses in other states have also been linked to vaping.
TEXAS WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO FACILITATE ADOPTIONS FROM UGANDA THROUGH BRIBERY AND FRAUD
A news release from the US DoJ on 30th August advised that Robin Longoria, 58, a Texas woman who managed aspects of an international programme at an Ohio-based adoption agency pleaded guilty for her role in a scheme to corruptly facilitate adoptions of Ugandan children through bribing Ugandan officials and defrauding US adoptive parents and the US Department of State.
TRANSPORTING GOODS OUT OF THE UK BY ROAD: STEP BY STEP
On 30th August, the Department for Transport issued guidance on how to transport goods commercially if you’re driving from the UK to or through Europe. It warns that if you are exporting your own goods there are further steps to take.
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